Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death.
But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent.
Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.
She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin.
Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has.
Kindle Edition, 464 pagesPublished November 4th 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Source:Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Four stars: An exciting and satisfactory conclusion to an outstanding series.
Annith continues to bide her time at the convent. She has been waiting months now to prove herself as one of Death's handmaidens, but she has still not received her call. Annith has stayed behind and watched as her two best friends, Ismae and Sybella, have gone out and served Mortain. No matter how hard she works to prove herself, she is kept back. When Annith hears the abbess discussing her future with another one of the sisters, her heart drops to her feet. The abbess plans on making Annith the next seer. That means all of her training will go to waste and she will spend the rest of her life trapped in the convent. Annith must make a fateful decision, will she stay and become the seeress or will she flee and no longer be one of Mortain's assassins?
What I Liked:
- Mortal Heart is the final volume in what I think is one of the best historical YA series out there. Don't be fooled by the YA label, though, this is a smart, sophisticated and thrilling series that will entertain all readers. Not only does it have nuns as trained assassins, but it also has a rich, detailed history along with plenty of action and danger. A must read for fans of historical fiction.
- I love that each installment of this series is a companion novel of sorts as it tells the story of a different handmaiden with each volume. This time around, we meet Annith. She is the one who has been the most eager to go out serve Mortain, and the one with the most skills, but she has been passed over. Annith longs to join her two best friends, Ismae and Sybella in the field and finally prove herself to Mortain. Unfortunately, the abbess has other plans in mind for Annith, forcing her to make a life changing decision. I loved watching Annith make some tough choices, as she finds her own path, even if that meant questioning everything she has been taught and her superiors. She is courageous and true, I loved her growth. It is hard to say which of the girls in the series I liked the best, but I think I admired Annith's courage the most. She had to make some of the hardest choice of the three. She is a fighter.
- Once again, Ms. LaFevers takes the reader back to the fifteenth century, placing you in the middle of the turmoil as Brittany, with its thirteen year old duchess, fought to prevent France from invading. I enjoyed reading the author's note at the end which relayed that she tried to stay as true to the real historical account as possible. I loved learning more about this period and history, and I especially liked seeing the strong women that fought against invasion such as the young duchess herself.
- This final installment reunites the three sisters of Mortain, Annith, Ismae and Sybella. I liked seeing the girls back together again and watching them look after one another. Not to mention, I enjoyed catching up with both Ismae and Sybella. It was nice to see them down the road a little bit with their lives and romances.
- The story is riveting and a bit more paranormal as Annith ends up riding with the Hellequin, Mortain's own riders sent out to retrieve lost souls in hopes of redemption. I have never heard of the Hellequin so I enjoyed exploring something new, and I especially liked meeting their leader, Balthazar.
- The plot is full of many exciting twists and surprises as all the lingering questions are finally answered. I was a bit shocked at a couple of the revelations. I enjoyed finally being able to peel back all the layers and understand the motives of the abbess, and learning more about Mortain and the other gods.
- The ending is bittersweet and satisfactory. I am always remiss to say goodbye to a beloved series, and this one is no exception. Ms. LaFevers has entertained and captured my imagination with this series, and I am most excited to read what she writes next. I hated, though saying goodbye to these handmaidens of death.
And The Not So Much:
- After the breathtaking romance in Dark Triumph, I was eager to see what was in store for Annith. I must admit, the romance was the weakest element in this book. It occurs rapidly and I never felt the depth of emotion that I experienced with the other two couples. It was a big disappointment because I had such high hopes after the romance in Dark Triumph.
- Annith ends up riding with the Hellequin which was exciting and novel. I had one niggling issue though. Balthazar meets up with Annith after she leaves the Hellequin and he tells her that he had a new recruit join, one who had lusted after his sister and wanted to make amends. I immediately knew who this person was, and I was eager to encounter him and see how he fared, unfortunately, that doesn't happen. There was no further mention of this character.
- I love the mythology and lore woven into this series, but I admit, I was a tiny bit confused. At the end, there was a meeting with the gods and goddesses. One character Solarius comes into the picture and I didn't understand who he was and what his issues were with Mortain, I was a bit perplexed that this wasn't explained.
- This isn't a big issue, but it was another niggle. The duchess confides in Annith and mentions that she fell in love with someone a long time ago, and tells of his fate. I was expecting something more to come of this conversation, but nothing happens. Why bring it up?
Mortal Heart is a strong conclusion to an excellent series. I loved following Annith as she followed her heart and pursued the truth. She is smart, courageous and dedicated. This book ties off the loose ends from the previous books and draws the story to a satisfactory conclusion. Unfortunately, the romance isn't as strong in this one, but it was still enjoyable. If you are a fan of the series, or you have yet to try these books, I can't recommend them enough. His Fair Assassin Trilogy is expert story telling and highly entertaining. Grab these books immediately.
“It is not that I am so very quick to give up,” I finally say, “but rather that I do not wish to spend my life pursuing goals that others have chosen for me. If I must perish, if I must stumble and fail, then let it be in purist of the ideals and dreams that I hold in my own heart.”
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.