Ismae lives in 15th century Brittany, which nowadays is part of north-western France (yes, I researched into the history of this book), and she is a daughter of Death. Like, Death as in the old god Mortain. Abused by her father and now her new husband, Ismae is whisked away by some mysterious people to join the convent dedicated to Mortain. There she learns everything to know about the assassin arts. On her third assignment, she is told to go to the court of the duchess (who is only about 13/14 years old!!), pose as a mistress to the mysterious Gavriel Duval, and, well, assassinate anyone who needs assassinating. But on the way, she uncovers a plot more mysterious and confusing than she ever imagined.
I find it hilarious to consider the difference between my teachings and Ismae. Consider this: I was taught to: have good table manners, say please and thank you, sit up straight, and so on. Ismae, on the other hand was taught: The hundreds of different ways to kill a man, which poisons make a man wish he were dead, which ones make him dead, and so on. Man, I wish I had learnt that instead of algebra.
I loved Ismae. I mean, it's hard to go wrong with someone who is an assassin, but I absolutely loved loved loved her. She was a brilliant protagonist. Most of the women in those days were very dependent on the males/on other people, but Ismae wasn't like that, thankfully. She's been burned too badly to become dependent on anyone. She took it upon herself to discover things, and was very considerate of other people and smart, and she thought about her actions and wondered whether they were the right actions, instead of blindly following them. I reckon that while pretending to be Duval's mistress, she should have snooped around a bit more and done some more awesome secret assassin stuff.
I LOVED the gadgets and stuff. Hell, WONDER WOMAN would be jealous of Ismae. Here are some examples. She has a bracelet that can turn into wire so she can GARROTTE a man. She has a headband that is full of poisonous pearls. And a knife and mini crossbow thing that fits into her corset!!!
I also love the assassin nuns. Yep, that's right ASSASSIN NUNS. Now just think about that phrase, savour it, because you probably won't encounter it again in your life.
I loved everything about this book, the different poisons, the weapons, the characters, the setting... everything. Everyone should read this, because it is just amazing.
One sentence that sticks with me: "Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?"
- I love how she was immune to poison and could sense stuff about who to kill
- Loved ALL of the assassin stuff
- Brilliant protagonist
- See point 3