Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

December 10, 2014 2014, 3.5 star books, fantasy, giveaway, historical 60 ★★★½

Mortal Heart: review + giveawayMortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
on November 4, 2014
Pages: 444 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonIndieboundBarnes & NobleGoodreads
three-half-stars
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.

Assassin nuns! Who doesn’t love assassin nuns?

(All of the people who get assassinated by them, probably.)

If you aren’t a threat to 15th-century Brittany, though, you’re probably safe. That said, if you haven’t read any of the books in the His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers, GO READ THEM NOW. That is an order. The second book, Dark Triumph, is one of the best books I’ve read in the past year, and I think the series as a whole is pretty awesomesauce.

The premise is as follows: the books follow the adventures (murder adventures) of three initiates – Ismae, Sybella, and Annith – of the Convent of Saint Mortain, the god of Death. All of the convent’s novitiates are also supposed to be the daughters of Mortain and have the creepy birth stories to prove it (with the exception of Annith whose birth is mysterious and unknown). They have all been trained by the convent to be efficient and effective assassins and are told, when it happens, that their murder missions are divinely sanctioned by Mortain. (But are they?!) Both Ismae and Sybella, for example, are able to see marks on their victims that, at least at first, suggest to them that Mortain wants their victim dead, and the deaths are foretold by the convent’s seeress. In the first two books, whether the assassins’ missions are divinely sanctioned or not is very much thrown into question. Both Ismae and Sybella suspect that the convent’s abbess is manipulating them for her own political gain. At the end of each book, both women meet with Mortain, who reaffirms their commitment to his mercy and justice, respectively, and each develops as significant political actors in her own right.

If you are into seriously badass heroines, I cannot recommend these books highly enough.

Annith, the protagonist of Mortal Heart, is no exception. Annith is super badass. In fact, she is the most badass novitiate the convent has ever seen; while she lacks some of the other girls’ natural skills (Ismae is adept at detecting / being immune to / also absorbing poison like a boss), she has made up for that lack of talent in sheer effort. She’s a skilled archer, a good rider, and adept at hand-to-hand combat. She has been at the convent since she was a baby and has thus been ready to begin assassining for God and country FOR YEARS. YEARS! And yet, all of her sisters are sent out before her – Ismae, Sybella, and more untrained novitiates – and she cannot understand why. At the opening of Mortal Heart, she learns why: the abbess intends for Annith to become her new seeress.

Annith has been dutiful and obedient her whole life, but she cannot resign herself to this fate. She’s never been outside the convent’s walls and has trained to do Mortain’s work for her entire life. As seeress, she’d remain there forever. And she’s seventeen and a trained killer. To her credit, there’s more to her actions than selfishness; she wants to leave the convent, but she also suspects (as Ismae and Sybella have already learned independently) that the abbess is deploying untrained novitiates on missions of her own making – not Mortain’s. Annith is legitimately worried for her sisters, whom, she fears, are being sent to meet their deaths.

I loved Annith’s development as a character and in some ways found her the most relatable of LaFevers’s heroines. She’s seventeen, she’s tired of being locked up and governed by rules she doesn’t quiiiiite understand, and she has real faith that she is meant to do more in Mortain’s service. (Maybe.) She wants the opportunity to choose her own choices. It’s a character arc that feels very familiar to me, and one really well suited to a young adult novel.

The novel follows Annith’s adventures as she sneakily escapes the convent and plans to confront the abbess. Along the way, she runs into a band of hellequin, who are tasked with bringing the souls of the dead home as atonement for their own crimes; the followers of another goddess, Arduinna; and the royal court (where Ismae and Sybella also conveniently end up, oh hey). I loved seeing more of the world LaFevers has created through Annith’s eyes. Annith’s travels give us a different sort of access to the world of the novels than we’ve had with either Ismae or Sybella, and it’s incredibly fascinating. (We finally get to meet the followers of a different god! We’re able to develop a better understanding of the religious and political climate of the novel! In meeting the followers of Arduinna, there’s also a fascinating discussion of the importance of storytelling to religious experience, both individually and communally. SO COOL, you all.)

Here’s what I didn’t like: while I love the romances in the previous two books, Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph, I felt the romance in Mortal Heart was underdeveloped and, if I think about it too hard, kind of unsettling. While LaFevers is a master of the slow-burn romance (seriously, her ability to develop romantic tension between two characters is on point), this was the first book in which I wished there hadn’t been a romance at all. Blasphemy! The previous two novels balance the romance with the political plot excellently – I cared about the fate of the relationship and the fate of the country equally. Here, though, I felt like the relationship wasn’t as well developed. While Annith meets the hellequin leader, Balthazar, while she’s on the run, she’s not in his company for most of the novel, and while they’re together, there’s tension, but really not enough explanation (for me) of what undergirds their relationship. Balthazar is dark and mysterious and in pain, but beyond that, he isn’t super fleshed out. There is a reason for that and it is super spoilery, so proceed with caution.

View Spoiler »

Additionally, because I am me and cannot accept that fictional characters aren’t real, I also wanted Annith to spend more time alone, exploring the world that’s around her, because hello, she’s been trapped in a convent for seventeen years. I wanted her to have more time and space to figure out what she wanted for herself – she’s been so used to meeting other people’s expectations that I wanted slightly more for her. Maybe for her to join the Arduinnites and then suss out her feelings for Balthazar – who knows? She gets to save the world! I just want her to make one for herself before View Spoiler ».

None of this means that I didn’t love the book – I did! But it was hard for me to feel invested in the romantic relationship. I love, love, loved Annith’s development as a character, though, and felt it was on par with Sybella’s from Dark Triumph.

Final feelings: I do still really love this book and the series as a whole, and highly, highly recommend them to anyone who’s interested at all in assassin nuns or historical fantasy. Robin LaFevers’s writing is amazingly beautiful and her worldbuilding is incredibly skillful. She writes wonderful relationships and I’m especially fond of how well she writes Ismae, Sybella, and Annith’s friendships. (Seriously, to-the-point-of-tears fond.) At ALAN, I was rec’ing this series left and right (and also stealing this book from my friends’ boxes when they let me). Please read the series. It’s so compelling.

divider vine cropped

 

Oh hey! We’re giving away a copy of Mortal Heart! Because it’s awesome and everyone should read it.

To win a copy, all you need to do is leave a thoughtful comment below telling us

1. an email where we may contact you
2. why you’re interested in assassin nuns.

You may also earn additional entries by tweeting about the contest daily; just come back and leave another comment with a link to your tweet when it’s posted, and one extra entry may be earned every day through tweets. Please note that you MUST have a public profile so that we can verify the extra entries.

Open to US and Canadian residents aged 13 and older, or 18 and older with parental permission. Please see our giveaway policies for complete details. Contest ends 12/29/14, so if you win, it’ll be a nice treat after the holidays.

 

Suggested tweet (or use your own) with link:

Enter to win a copy of Mortal Heart at The Midnight Garden! http://bit.ly/12KZyee 

layla signature teal

 

An advance copy was provided by the author for this review.

60 Responses to “Mortal Heart: review + giveaway”

  1. Katy H

    Oh my gosh, assassin nuns? Why have I never heard of this greatness?! I need assassin nuns in my life. Because reasons. Can I become one? Also, I’m a sucker for interesting names – Ismae, Sybella, Annith – swoon.

  2. Clarissa

    We definitely need more books that hAve a badass heroine like annith. We are more than people give us credit for. Women seem to be having a bigger and bigger role in the literary world. This is proof of just that.

  3. sarah k

    This is one of my favorite series and I’m sad its over, I cannot wait to see what Robin LaFevers next book is going to be:) ksarah26(at)aol(dot)com

  4. Rain Jeys

    Well, I have the first two an I don’t want to start until I have all three. I love historical fiction with a touch of magic. Also, the first sentence of the first book is amazing, and I’m sure the rest of the books themselves will be too.

  5. Mary G Loki

    Love reading about action adventure stories with strong females characters! tirnanog77(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. Stephanie

    I love this series as well. I have read the first two books and loved them both. I seesaw back and forth between which is my favorite but I think when it comes down to it, the first book is my fav.
    I love the unique setting and the great character development. I always root for the kick ass female!
    Thanks for the opportunity to share and possibly win!

    • Layla A

      I think it’s a good ending to the series. I liked having Ismae and Sybella show up here, too, and getting a sense that their storylines were also being brought to a close. I just didn’t like the romance! Everything else was pretty great, though, and I wish the series wasn’t over.
      Layla A recently posted…100 Sideways Miles

  7. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    I’m sorry the romance didn’t work as well for you in Mortal Heart as in the first two books, Layla. It worked really well for me – for the exact same reasons why it didn’t for you. I thought it was so, so clever …
    I agree that this series as a whole is amazing! The mix of fiction, historical facts, correct geography for the time, and mythology that is very different, it blew my socks off!
    I am looking forward to seeing what LaFevers will write about next :)
    Have a great weekend.
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted…Review: This Shattered World – Amie Kaufmann and Meagan Spooner

    • Layla

      Ha, isn’t it great when that happens? I’m glad you really enjoyed Mortal Heart; I think most folks felt the way you did and absolutely adored this addition to the series. Which is cool! I still love the series as a whole, even if I don’t love all of its parts.

      I absolutely love the way she thinks and writes about history. I would read anything by her again in a heartbeat (but would really love it if that thing were, you know, historical fiction. Yes AND please).

      Thanks! :) You too.
      Layla recently posted…Love Letters to the Dead: review

  8. Hayden Marie

    Ahh this has been one of my favorite book series for AGES. I absolutely love the world and characters LaFevers has created– it’s dark and beautiful and intense on every level. Everything is so rich! I would love to receive the third one! Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

    • Layla

      Oh yeah, assassin nuns are the central topic of this series. Also political intrigue, but ASSASSIN NUNS. You should pick up Grave Mercy – the series develops its own mythology for an older religion that is in conversation / conflict with Catholicism, and it’s really interesting and well thought out. Go read!
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

  9. Jenn

    I’m going to agree with you on the romance. I was a little frustrated because Annith has been sheltered all her life at the convent, only around women. So for her to run out, leave everything she’s ever known so she can escape…into the arms of a man…seems a bit unhealthy. What I loved about the first two books was the slow building of the romance – especially in book 2 (girly sigh).

    While obviously Ismae and Sybella had their own demons to face, I felt like their characters developed independently of their romances – with Annith it’s almost like the relationship was supposed to be part of fixing her problems. And that robbed the relationship of depth and of that swoony quality found in the other two. I was rooting for the other two – I didn’t really have anything to cheer about for Balthazar.

    • Layla

      Um, the first paragraph is basically how I felt, too. She’s so used to living for other people and is juuuuust beginning to make decisions for herself. While I want her to find love or whatever, I also wanted her to take some time to figure out what she wanted. To not have to worry about making sacrifices for other people or saving someone or whatever! Spend some time with Ismae and Sybella. Or the Arduinnites. To immediately end up in the sort of relationship she ends up in … ergh.

      Book 2 is so swoon-worthy. In comparison (which is a horrible thing to do, but unavoidable), this wasn’t quite as compelling a romance for me.

      Augh, I really want to respond to the (really good) point you’re making in the third paragraph without being too spoilery – but I feel like she’s just trading one set of problems for another. She goes from the abbess, who has a particular relationship to her, to another person who … kind of occupies that same position? At least in my mind. Anyway, I’m glad I’m not alone with regards to finding the romance to be lackluster.
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

  10. erinf1

    assassin nuns sound awesome!!! I just picked up book 1, so I’m very excited to get caught up. Thanks for the thoughtful review!
    efender1(at)gmail

  11. Anne @ Lovely Literature

    I love this series, but honestly Mortal Heart was a little lacking compared to other two, and for the same reasons! I also felt like she didn’t really have a purpose up front, or that it was shoehorned in there. And the squick is there if you think too hard. :/
    Anne @ Lovely Literature recently posted…Monthly Wrap-Up: NaNovember

    • Layla

      I also still love the series, but yeahhhh, the romance made me a little uncomfortable and also seemed underdeveloped to me. I would have loved a book that was just Annith exploring the world outside the convent and maybe not finding love with that particular individual. I loved reading about her adventures! Just not her love life.
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

  12. Nikki

    The story sounds really interesting for this series but I’ve been very wishy washy as to whether I want to read it. I’m not really looking forward to the romance aspects of the story, unless the romance takes a pretty serious back seat.

    • Layla

      Have you read either of the other two books? Eh, the romance is … less a thing in this one that it is in the other two, so maybe give it a try? I didn’t particularly like the romance – that was my major problem with the series.
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

  13. Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

    I’m so happy! I found someone else that had serious issues with the romance. I also said that I would have preferred it to have no romance at all but to instead just to spend the time building up her own confidence and independence now that she’s escaped the convent. The romances of Ismae and Sybella felt more ‘right’ but this one felt like it came out of left field for me. Everybody had been adoring this one and I was so disappointed about several aspects of this one. Glad I’m not alone. :) Fantastic review!
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday – The Awesome by Eva Darrows

    • Layla

      Haha, I just looked up your review. I think we’re totally in agreement with regards to the romance. As much as I love romance (and I love it a whole lot), I would have been absolutely fine if Annith had been alone. Have some fun with the Arduinnites! Go on long walks out in the world! I know she’s not real, but man, I was like, “You have just gotten free of the convent and also made some very big discoveries. Take some time to think about what you want out of your life, my friend.”

      Also, I didn’t write about the ending at all here, but I agree with you. Besides being, eh, a thing that was not super exciting to me, the series emphasizes following your heart and not being weirdly controlling to people you love (Annith chooses not to control her love interest), and to have a love that is coercive end the series was an interesting decision to make, I thought. I mean, politically it made sense, but in conversation w/ the other relationships the series sets up? Strange.

      Anyway, hello friend! You are not alone!
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

  14. Pili

    I adored this one as much as I loved the other two! I absolutely love that we met more of the world outside court or the convent, heard more about Mortain and other gods! And given how surprised I was about the revelation about Balthazaar, the whole romance worked great for me, even if picking at it, it can be a lil odd. I just loved Balthazaar since he appeared on page!
    Fantastic review Layla!
    Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #72!!

    • Layla

      Aw, yay, Pili! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I do really love the series, and I thought this was a great ending to it. It was really wonderful to see more of the world of the novels (even if we now have to say goodbye to it, noooooo). I *loved* getting more information about the mythology of the books – totally fascinating, and I wish some of it had come up earlier. But I always want more of that kind of thing. :)
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

  15. Kate @ Ex Libris (@ExLibris_Kate)

    I did NOT read the spoiler, but I’m dying to. Ha! (See what I did there?) I’m in the middle of this book now and I just love this series. It has everything a history nerd and lover of fantasy could want. I do think my fav will end up being book 2, but they are all fabulous and I recommend them constantly.
    Kate @ Ex Libris (@ExLibris_Kate) recently posted…First Frost By Sarah Addison Allen

    • Layla

      Ba-dum CHING! ::cymbals:: I see what you did! ;)

      Um, what do you think so far? Don’t spoil yourself! And yes, if you like history and also FANTASY this series is basically the greatest. It’s a present, from Robin LaFevers to you and all the other history nerds in the world.

      They are also so easy to recommend. ASSASSIN NUNS. I was at a bar writing this last night and was like, “Let me tell you why you should read these: assassin nuns!” and the person I was speaking to was sold.
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

  16. Sarah

    This series sounds so fun!! I love historical fiction, but assassin nuns just sound bad ass!! If only Mary, Queen of Scots, had some assassin nuns.

    • Layla

      Haha, it’s pretty great! You should read it. Go read it! Assassin nuns killinating things for their god and their country!

      Um, DO YOU WATCH REIGN? If you want Mary, Queen of Scots, plus some serious crazysauce, go watch that show immediately. It’s on Netflix and is basically … kind of the French court in the Renaissance but mostly pretty teenagers wearing Free People and standing up to Megan Follows (who is Catherine de Medici and a BADASS). Nostradamus is also there, just hanging out, speaking prophecies in a voice that sounds like Batman’s. Also there are crazy pagans and maybe vampires, I can’t tell yet.
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

      • Jenn

        Wait…MEGAN FOLLOWS is in Reign? Anne-girl is in that show?!?!! Commence freak-out.

        • Layla

          Oh. My. God.

          YES. YOU NEED TO WATCH IT JUST FOR HER. (Seriously, she is super manipulative and awesome and acts the hell out of every scene she’s in. I ADORE HER AND AM SO GLAD TO SEE HER AGAIN.)

          I cannot emphasize how much you need to go do this thing. Go do it.
          Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

    • Layla

      Good news! There is some Beast in this book. You will not be disappointed.

      Annith is WONDERFUL. I wasn’t really interested in her in the last two books (same for Sybella after Book 1), but man, I very quickly grew to love her in this book.
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

  17. Wendy Darling

    LAYLA. I broke my own rule and read the spoilers and I am all @__@ over here. Mind blown, and uneassssy about this whole thing, hah. I can see why you were disturbed by the romance–it’s such a tricky thing and while the right skillful development and subtle preparation might make this work, it doesn’t sound like the circumstances were right for you to feel that way. Hmm.

    I’m glad you reviewed it for us, though. I love the other two books and will have to eventually read this, so it’ll be interesting to do that knowing what I know. WHICH CAN NOT BE UNKNOWN.

    • Layla

      I do want you to eventually read this. I also want to re-read it knowing what I know so I can re-evaluate my position if necessary. My first reaction – serious side-eye – may change given time and another go at the book. I didn’t feel prepared for this, but it’s possible that I missed something. I just never read her thoughts or interactions with said character in any other light – and thinking back on the book, don’t really think there are any obvious signs that I should have done? I don’t know, I don’t know. I’ll be interested in seeing how you feel about this, and obvs, this did work for lots of people, so I suspect I’m in the minority.

      But like having this happen also puts other things about the books’ mythology into question.

      The series is so great. It’s well worth reviewing! Also, it’s the only book I’ve read from my ALAN box, which tells you how freaking excited I was to read this one.
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

      • Wendy Darling

        I don’t think you miss much, Layla, so. I am surprised that this is the first time I’ve heard even a whiff of this, though. I haven’t read any reviews of this book yet, and have only seen general OMG IT’S AMAZING reactions, but usually some of the shock and/or horror trickles through. And yes, it seems like rereading the entire series is now necessary. Damn it, there’s no time!

        The ALAN box sounds so mysterious and wonderful, even though I know what you’re talking about. Mary Poppins’ carpet bag full of books.

        • Layla

          I just went through GR right now and there’s a surprising (to me) lack of reeling and people saying “whhhaaaaaaaaa…?!”

          Lots of OMG amazing. And some readers saying they found the romance too cheesy. Sigh. I guess I’m a black sheep on this one? Baaaaaa.

          It was mysterious and wonderful. Also, very heavy.
          Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

  18. marjorie

    Don’t enter me in the drawing — I have all three books! But I did want to chime in about how much I loved this series. Very sad that it’s over! The intrigue and worldbuilding and assassinatin’ and girls-starting-to-think-for-themselves-ing were all so great, and I loved each of their relationships with the abbess and with Mortain and faith. I actually wasn’t all that into the romance in the first book, either — it was fine, but not the thing among the zillion things I loved best. The romance in the second, with Beast, was the highlight for me (and that was my favorite book of the three). SERIOUS swooning for Beast over here.

    • Layla

      I know. I’m also sad to see it end – more books with ladies going on top-secret murder missions at the behest of a god and/or powerful lady in charge. (They’re kind of like spy novels set in 15th century France. Yes AND please.) But yes! The intrigue and the worldbuilding were great, but the character development in particular really worked well for me across all three books. Girls thinking for themselves, using their vast array of crime-fighting abilities for themselves, and affirming sisterhood and finding love with folks who fully support their badassery. Muahaha. So great.

      The first book took me a while to warm up to on a first read, but after reading it again – and reading the second – I liked it much, much more. (In my first read through the first, I was on the fence about whether I wanted him to live or die.) The romance in the second book is seriously swoon-worthy, though. I ship that ship so hard. For Annith, I kind of wanted her to find love with a roving band of Arduinnites, but that’s just me.

      Augh, and yes. Thinking about how faith is portrayed and used in these books is incredibly rich. I wanted to write more about the ending of the book, too.

      Thanks for chiming in to say how much you love these books. They are wonderful. Happy sigh.
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

      • marjorie

        Great comment! (and great post.) I wanna fangirl with you toooooooo! About the series and about BEAAAAAAST.

        But yeah, can’t say too much about the ending or the romance in the 3rd book w/o being spoilery. I was ok with it, but could certainly see why others had issues. And that said, YES YES YES I totally wish Annith could have a gap year with the Arduinnites, maybe get a little somesome with Tola before settling down with her happily-ever-after with Balthasar.

        I have been trying to think of YA in which faith is treated seriously, as something to embrace and also to struggle with (since MOST religion as practiced is patriarchal and has yucky aspects in real life, but some of us wrestle with it and choose to focus on the social justice and positive aspects of it and try to process the yuck, and this is part of why I love Stephen Colbert so much, but I digress). I think it’s true of the Girl of Fire and Thorns series too. I write about Jewish books for work, and I can’t think of many in which engaging with faith without rejecting religion is a central part of the story.

  19. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    I don’t want to get spoilery in the comments just in case, but I think growing up with the idea that someone is your father, but not having him around.. that gives a different relationship. And she wasn’t aware of it at first. The romance was also a bit too fast for me and while I LOVED the book, it wasn’t as good as Dark Triumph <3 but it's hard to beat Sybella (and her crazy chemistry with Beast) One of my favorite series :)
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 305. A.G Howard – Unhinged.

    • Layla

      That’s a great point. I will have to think more about it. I think what I really want is more development for the relationship in general – that might have also helped me understand & invest in the relationship more than I was able to do. (And it might have also made me feel less unsettled about their relationship.) But to be fair there is just so much going on in this book! (War! Everyone’s backstory! Other gods! All the things!) She’s wrapping up a series! I get it, I just wanted more relationship-building.

      Especially because what really drew me into the series originally though (besides assassin nuns and how dark and wonderful the atmosphere of the books are) were the romances – especially Beast & Sybella’s. That book is so good, ahh. I think if I’d been comparing it to other books as a stand-alone novel, I would’ve ranked it differently, but – it’s part of this really wonderful series, and while it’s an *awesome* book, I love Dark Triumph more.
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

  20. Carina Olsen

    Aw :( I’m sorry you had some issues with this book Layla. But I’m so happy you still managed to enjoy it. <3 I loved it to pieces. But I also understand why you had some issues with it :) Thank you for sharing and being honest. <3 I love reading your reviews.
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #165

    • Layla

      I did still really, really love it. I want to be super clear about that! I still thought it was great and I will read anything else LaFevers wrote in a heartbeat (especially if it were historical fiction; she writes it so darn well). I didn’t think it was as good as the second book in particular, but like … it’s a solid ending to the series. There’s a lot to resolve and I think she does it deftly, for the most part.

      I’m glad you loved it! Really, the only thing that bothered me was the romance, but the rest I loooved. And Annith is probably my favorite character of the series, to be honest.
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

      • Carina Olsen

        Aw, okay. <3 I am glad you really loved it then :D And yesss. I am dying to read more books by Robin. <3 She is all kinds of awesome. And her YA books are so so good :) I'm glad you thought the ending was good :) I adored the ending so much. Okay, I might have wanted a bit more about the other characters too, but I'm happy with it. <3 Though, hih, I did love the romance (A) but I get your issues with it :)
        Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #165

    • Layla

      OH MAN you are in for a treat. If you loved the first one, I think you’ll absolutely love the next two. It’s not as strong as the last book but is in no way, like, a bad book or anything. It’s still wonderful and a good ending to the series and well worth your / everyone’s time. :) Go read, go read!

      I did really love the book, I just couldn’t get into the romance as much. Part of it was the choice of partner, but another part of it was also just that I didn’t feel like there was world enough and time to develop that romance. There’s so much else going on! Maybe I really just wanted a fourth book – I’m greedy like that. :) I think that was the real miss for me but everything else is pretty great.
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

  21. Andrea @ Bookish

    I don’t know why one wouldn’t be interested in assassin nuns. I think you’d have to be three stages of crazy not to be! I’ve heard amazing things about this series and while I haven’t read them yet – I know! I know! – I do have books 1 and 2. So I just need Mortal Heart to complete the series so I may binge my little heart out!
    Andrea @ Bookish recently posted…The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill (Review)

    • Layla

      AHH GO READ THEM ALL. That’s all. Seriously, it’s a great series – definitely one of my favorites from the past few years, I think, and certainly one with some of the most interesting heroines around. :)
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

  22. kindlemom1

    I really didn’t think about it at the time but you are right, the romance probably wasn’t developed or at least looked into as much as the other two were but I did love all the surprises about who he was and his role in the war and throughout the book.

    I am glad you liked this ending overall even if some things weren’t to your liking.
    kindlemom1 recently posted…WoW Pick of the Week!

    • Layla

      I did like the book quite a lot overall. I still want everyone to read this series and fangirl over it with me. :)

      There’s just so much happening in this book! I think it left less time for developing the relationship w/ Balthazar and Annith (in ways that make sense once the book ends, but while I was reading it, I didn’t totally understand what they liked about each other). But it’s a great book. I think my favorite new characters were the Arduinnites. I could have read about them for-ev-er.

      Anyway, glad you enjoyed the book, too! It’s such a wonderful series. I don’t want it to be over.
      Layla recently posted…Mortal Heart: review + giveaway