“We are all of us, gods and mortals, made up of many pieces, some of them broken, some of them scarred, but none of them the total sum of who we are.”
Book: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3)
Author: Robin LaFevers
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.
Just finished reading Mortal Heart and I was totally blown away. Like a tornado just ripped through me. Seriously. But then I expected nothing less. Ever since I read the first book in the trilogy, I knew I was going to love all of Robin Lafever’s books. So far, I haven’t been wrong.
Like all us His Fair Assassin fans expected, this book was all about Annith. To be honest, I was a little worried about that. Both Ismae and Sybella constantly mention Annith’s saintliness- her nobility, her kindness and her innocence. In their heads, she sounds so freaking pure and pliant, I thought I was going to hate her on principle. Luckily she’s not and luckily I didn’t.
Growing up in the convent has made her a little more naive than Ismae and Sybella who were well and truly jaded by the outside world but Annith does have a backbone and she’s not boring to read about. Not in the slightest.She’s a completely ordinary daughter of death (or about as ordinary as you can get when you’re a daughter of death) meaning she doesn’t have any special gifts at all. But what she lacks in talent, she makes up for in pure determinaton and a stubbornness that you can’t help but admire. What endeared me most to her was her talent at pretending to be the good little novitiate while eavesdropping on secrets behind closed doors (Come on, who can resist a protagonist who eavesdrops?). Despite her ferocity and skill, she has her embarrassing moments (like a failed seduction, or excessive name-dropping) and is heartbreakingly childish in her quest for affection from anyone.
This book is more than just a story of Annith’s self discovery; it’s essentially crucial in wrapping up the arc of this trilogy. In the end: this is the end. I just cried a little as I realised that.
It was a bit slow at the beginning- if anything, it has reaffirmed in my mind why I would never go to a covenant: It would be too boring. Let’s face it, if a fictional covenant where kick-ass female assassins trained occasionally felt tedious, I would never make it in a real and totally ordinary one?
But don’t worry, the story picks up the pace really fast as soon as Annith makes her grand escape. What follows next is a series of action, wild horse rides, crazy stunts, arrow-shooting and warriors (both male and female). 464 pages of medieval fiction and I didn’t even get bored once!
Balthazar was the love interest of the story and well…let’s just say that who he is is surprising. I was less surprised than I was supposed to be because of this alternatively pesky and lovely little things called spoilers (which I try not to give out unless I’m actively trying to annoy someone or they beg me for them).
He’s charming- quite dashing actually and like all the guys in this series, he has a dangerous edge and is very, very good with banter. I might have a tiny crush on him (just a tiny one though- I have a strict policy on historical book boyfriends). This romance was not without it’s challenges and trials, and I was constantly guessing at how it would end.
Comparing it to the other two books in the series, I would say that Dark Triumph is my favourite followed by this one followed by Grave Mercy. The historical politics and court intrigue of the the previous books took a back-seat in Mortal Heart. It was less historical fiction and more fantasy, with more time spent on the truly fascinating Pagan religious beliefs of the time and the Nine Gods which were essential to them.
Another notable difference was that this book felt significantly less dark than the other ones. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was light, but it did deal with less heavy topics compared to the previous ones. I think a huge part of that was because of Annith’s upbringing. Growing up at the covenant wasn’t a cakewalk but at the same time it was nothing compared to regularly being abused by your father and sold off like livestock to a ‘husband’ like Ismae or dealing with violence that was almost off-hand in it’s execution and the threat of incest like Sybella.
Like all of the books in this trilogy, I think you could read this alone, but reading it in order of sequence will make this series so much more enjoyable.
One last thing. Before I I start handing out ratings to the book, I want to hand out a couple of hints to those of you who haven’t read it yet. Not spoilers- just hints.
The title of the book, Mortal Heart probably refers to Balthazar and the cover unlocks the huge role Annith is supposed to play (but we don’t get to find out what that role might be until close to the end). So, chew over that, will you?
Overall Rating: 5/5
Other books like this: The Throne of Glass series with it’s assassin and fantasy is evolving book by book to slowly become as awesome as this one.