Series: His Fair Assassin #3
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on November 4th, 2014
Genres: fantasy, historical, young adult
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In the powerful conclusion to Robin LaFever's New York Times bestselling His Fair Assassins trilogy, 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.
Oh my godddddddddddd. It’s safe to say that Mortal Heart was my most anticipated release of 2014 and I have to tell you, it did not disappoint one bit. Annith’s story was the perfect conclusion to this spellbinding trilogy. His Fair Assassin just ends so perfectly. Of course, I still want MORE – I want books about every single characters, obviously – but I could not have asked for a better conclusion.
From the get-go I fell in love with Annith. Told from Ismae’s and Sybella’s points of view, Annith was pure goodness and light. But once we actually get to know Annith better, through her own eyes and her own voice, you can see she is troubled and full of turmoil. Annith’s story is not lacking in its own darkness, but it is not as bad as Sybella’s and so there isn’t this overwhelming storm cloud bearing down on the narrative. She did suffer through horrible child abuse though and that was not easy to read about for me. As we all know, Annith has been struggling with being left behind to sit in the convent while younger and less skilled novitiates are allowed to go out and enact Mortain’s will. We learned in the previous installments that she is to be Seeress – a fate she does not welcome one bit. In Mortal Heart we follow her as she escapes. I particularly loved Annith’s point of view because she is the only one of the three that does not struggle with her faith in the god of Death. She is pious and faithfully devoted to her god and it was refreshing in contrast with Ismae’s and Sybella’s tumultuous journey to acceptance. Annith is also caring and good, like her sisters believe her to be. She is also a perfectionist, a sad result from the years of torment and abuse from the convent’s previous abbess. Her certain circumstances and attributes had me relating to her on a very real level, in ways I wasn’t able when reading Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph.
One of my favorite things about this series is LaFevers’ talent of weaving her own mythology and characters together with real historical events and people. In this third installment, the world-building is nearly tripled in depth. Brittany’s conflicts with the French are coming to a head, and we get to see real power struggles that occurred in real life. If you know the history you will marvel at how LaFevers inserted her characters and made it seem like these events really happened at the hands of Ismae, Sybella, and Annith. We also get to learn about other sides of Mortain, and his other servants, the Hellequin. Finally, the world is expanded further with the introduction of the warrior women who follow Arduinna. These new characters and new facets of the world took my breath away; while the series was amazing before, the world seemed small before Annith’s story was finally told.
There were some major plot twists that occurred in Mortal Heart, that I did not see coming prior to the start of this book. Once the story got rolling I could tell where it was headed, particularly Annith’s background and birth story, but I never would have guessed it before I cracked open the pages. And the romance. At first I found it very disappointing, but once the twist in that was revealed, too, I was sold. Honestly, the way the book came together was just absolutely beautiful, and I loved how each tiny detail mattered in the end, even if you didn’t think so at the time.
The nature of this series is to give happy endings. Of course, I started to get really worried toward the end of the book, and there is a LOT of sadness, let me tell you. But Mortal Heart ends of a joyous, triumphant note. You can’t expect any less from this series at this point. There is honestly nothing I would change about this conclusion – it was perfect in every way possible. I’m sad to see it go, but I am so, so satisfied in how it ended.