Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin book 3)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first two books in the trilogy, Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.

Please visit the Recaptains blog if you need a refresher on the first two books in the series.

“Because love is stronger than death.”

Brittany, December 1488

Annith is annoyed that she is still at St. Mortain's convent, waiting for her turn to serve Death. She has watched both Ismae and Sybella come, train and leave as novitiates to serve Mortain. Ismae is currently at court and while Sybella is on her fourth assignment. No one has heard from either in over six months. When a new girl, Melusine, arrives at the convent, Annith escorts her to the infirmary. Leaving her with Sister Serafina, Annith goes to alert the abbess of Melusine's arrival. As she nears, Annith hears the voices of the abbess and Sister Eonette. Annith listens in. Sister Vereda is ill and this leaves the convent Sightless. With Duchess Anne's rule over Brittany shaky, her unexpected illness could not come at a worse time. When Sister Eonette is dismissed, Annith scampers down the hall so as not to get caught. She informs the abbess of the girl's arrival whom was expected. After a brief discussion about the girl, the abbess says that maybe Annith could serve as novice mistress until she is called by Mortain. The abbess laughs at the look of disgust on her face. Annith explains that she doesn't want her other skills to weaken so that she wouldn't be ready for Mortain's call. The abbess sends her on her way.

Having lived in the convent since a newborn, Annith learned that collecting secrets and keeping them to herself helped her survive the former abbess, a tyrant called the Dragonette. She rushes unseen into the private chapel off the abbess's office to eavesdrop on the conversation with Sister Thomine. Annith can scarcely believe it when the abbess declares her plans to make Annith the new Seerees. She is so distraught that she barely hears Sister Thomine's dismissal. Annith pulls herself together and tries to think of a plan to change the abbess' mind. She runs into a clutch of older girls and they ask her if she knows why the abbess has meetings going on. Annith says she doesn't and one girl, Sarra, cannot believe that Saint Annith isn't in the know. Unable to keep her anger under wraps, Annith snaps at her and earns her admiration. Since no one knows, Annith promises to find out in the next day or two.

Not wanting to be stuck at the convent, Annith begins her plan to ensure that the abbess doesn't make her the next Seerees. She shows all of the Sisters that she is the superior novitiate and the only choice for Mortain's next call. Annith only realizes after the fact that by helping Sister Serafina nurse Sister Vereda back to health that she has shown the abbess how truly dedicated she is. When she is called into the abbess’ office one day, Annith is completely unprepared for the conversation. The abbess proudly informs her that she is to start training immediately with Sister Vereda to become the next Seerees. The abbess is disappointed that Annith is devastated over being chosen for what she sees as a great honor. Annith silently wonders if the Dragonette spilled her darkest secret when she promised not to. The abbess tells Annith that this is Mortain’s will and she has two choices; accept or be cast out. The abbess reassures her that there will be a widowed father looking for a new wife to care for his children. Annith does ask for time to pray and reflect before making her decision. The abbess reluctantly agrees to three days.

Annith must formulate her escape plan quickly. She agrees to train with Sister Vereda because the abbess is getting ready to go on a trip. It will be the perfect time to snoop for answers. She hopes to find out more about her birth mother and the circumstances that led to her being dropped off at the convent as a newborn. With all of the training the Dragonette gave her, she cannot believe that Mortain’s purpose for her is to stay at the convent. She knows that she will not survive being locked away for the rest of her life, never leaving the island. After the abbess departs, Annith searches her office and only finds a diary of sorts that the Dragonette kept that details some of the horrific events of her upbringing. Deciding that she won’t find anymore information, Annith makes her escape plan. Forging a message from the abbess requesting her to join her on the mainland, she packs her bag. She decides to make one last stop before leaving, Sister Vereda’s room for the Tears of Mortain. Unable to place a drop in her eye without waking Vereda, Annith decides to take the entire bottle in the hopes that no additional novitiates will be sent on missions without the gift of Tears. She is determined to find the abbess and ask why her to be the next Seeress.

What is Annith’s secret that the Dragonette kept for her from the others? Why does the abbess want Annith to become the next Seeress? Who is the first to discover Annith’s defection? Where does Annith flee to? Can she find Ismae and Sybella? Is Mortain’s will for Annith to be a Seeress or is it something else? What will Annith find outside of the convent walls?

Fans of the series will be delighted to see how the stories of Annith, Ismae and Sybella  wrapped up.

Visit Robin LaFevers’ website.

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