Many thanks to Gail at Ticket to Anywhere for allowing me to borrow her Mortal Heart ARC! Her fabulous generosity in no way affected my review.
One of my very favorite periods in history is the 1300s to the 1500s, also known as the Renaissance. It was a time filled with lots of drama and intrigue (Anne Boleyn anyone?), but also an amazing time for the arts. Shakespeare, Da Vinci and Michelangelo all lived during this period and were legendary masters that had their most famous works during this time. Needless to say the Renaissance has always fascinated me and I knew from the moment I started reading Grave Mercy, that the His Fair Assassin series was going to be an instant favorite.
Mortal Heart, the third book in the His Fair Assassin series, is the final installment in the epic story of three assassin nuns (YAS!) whose lives are undeniably woven together. Mortal Heart is the story of Annith, a young woman who desperately wants to prove her worth to the master she serves, but finds herself being tested and treated cruelly by abbess of the convent. I really enjoyed how all three stories from the series came together seamlessly in this book. Each is so perfect on its own but put them all together and you get pure literary perfection.
Early on in this book, we learn that Annith does not know the story of how she came to the convent or even her birth, and she was raised in the convent always trying to prove herself worthy of her future and capable of the tasks set before her. Annith is not naturally blessed with any abilities or specialties so she’s constantly working hard to excel and prove herself. In spite of all of her dedication and hard work, the abbess still treats her horribly and her childhood is filled with cruelty at the hands of the abbess. It was so heart-breaking to watch Annith continually get knocked down, but it really does form the basis for what her motivations are as the story moves forward, so all of her actions were completely believable and true to her character.
The turning point for Annith is when she discovers that the abbess is grooming her for a duty she does not want, a duty that will force her into a lifetime of solitude and loneliness. She wants to be out in the world ensuring that the will of Mortain, the god of death who the nuns at the abbey serve, is being fulfilled. Feeling trapped, Annith decides to escape the convent to find the answers to her past in the hopes that they can lead her to her future. On the road she meets some unlikely travelling partners who help her to gain a better understanding of the god she serves, but in turn cause her to question what exactly her purpose in life is. There was a constant questioning by Annith, and the reader, of what exactly she is destined for, and I loved that journey of self-discovery she went through. Annith’s growth throughout this story is so transformative, and LaFevers did such an amazing job of bringing that journey full circle through her beautiful writing and ability to weave everything together perfectly.
When Annith is finally reunited with the abbess and her two sisters, Ismae and Sybella, she quickly learns that they all must come together to save the kingdom they hold so dear. This is where LaFevers really shines in her skill of combining all three books into one in order to conclude the series. I loved being able to read the continuing stories of all three women and felt totally gratified that each individual story line was given a proper resolution and treatment it deserved.
Just as things get crazy tense and messy, Annith discovers that the abbesses secrets go far deeper than she ever imagined and she is forced to confront her past and some very painful truths. Thankfully, Annith finds solace in the most unlikely of people (lots of swoon here) but realizes that even the one person she holds most dear has secrets of their own that will turn her world upside-down. The twists and turns in this story are so amazing and I loved the feeling of shock and excitement in some pivotal moments. There’s nothing better than a truly authentic “OMG!” moment when you’re reading an already fantastic book.
Mortal Heart is a fascinating journey of discovering ones self, where we learn that everyone has their secrets, but that in the end the power of love always rules. LaFevers weaves a spell-binding tale of love, loss and redemption in the three novels of the His Fair Assassin series, and Mortal Heart is the prefect capstone to a truly remarkable story.
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.