Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers


Title: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin, #3) 

Author: Robin LaFevers

Rating: 3 Stars

To be frank, I don't have much to say about Mortal Heart. It's a satisfactory ending to LaFevers debut trilogy--and wraps up all the loose ends nicely--but as far as being Annith's story, I felt it lacking. Perhaps it's simply because Annith isn't as strong a force to be reckoned with as Sybella. It's not that Annith isn't a formidable assassin--because she is--and her force of will is to be respected as she struggles to find the truth within her beloved abbey. Yet, she doesn't possess Sybella or Ismae's dark past which makes their stories compelling from the start itself and though it takes awhile for Annith's tale to find its footing, it continues to lose traction over time, not gain. I love Annith as a protagonist but the journey she undertakes in Mortal Heart pales in comparison to the stakes in both the previous novels. Moreover, the romance did absolutely nothing for me except to make me cringe a time or two and question--a lot--why there couldn't have been anyone else for Annith.

I feel as if Mortal Heart is a tricky novel, being the final installment in this trilogy, and LaFevers succeeds in many ways. Not only does the plot line that began in Grave Mercy reach fruition, but we are able to see our three heroines united, changed, and happier than they were when we first met them. Unlike the last two novels, Mortal Heart doesn't revolve around an assassination or a piece of the plot; it's where the entire story converges into one. Thus, Annith isn't the sole starring character at hand. Though we follow her journey, there are other compelling, strong women at play who--and this just may be my personal love of Sybella--at times undermined Annith's casting into the spotlight.

Additionally, though the romance isn't--and shouldn't be--a deciding factor in the enjoyment of a novel, I wasn't on board with this love story at any point and after Sybella and Beast's tale, felt vastly disappointed with this one. Frankly speaking, I didn't feel as if Annith needed romance. She's such a compelling and strong heroine, one whose loyalties to her sisters and friendships with them makes up so much of her being, that to have that replaced with a romance didn't hold the same weight or resonance for me as it likely should have. Plus, the romances of Ismae and Sybella, held side-by-side with Annith's lack of romance at first and then, later, her romantic interest, only made me feel as if Annith was desperate for the love Ismae and Sybella had found and needed a man to complete her as her sisters did. I have never felt that way about the romances in this series until this odd dichotomy.

Mortal Heart brings up shocking revelations and I have no doubt that die-hard fans of this series will adore this final installment. As someone who didn't plan to continue the series after Grave Mercy--something about that book simply did not tick with me--yet fell in love with Dark Triumph, this final installment falls somewhere in the middle. Not nearly as good as Dark Triumph but far more satisfactory than Grave Mercy. LaFevers trilogy is a beloved one among many and though it doesn't rank among my favorites by far, I love these heroines and everything they stand for. Thus, I do not hesitate to recommend forth this series, flaws and all.

18 comments:

  1. I, yes, I did give up on book 1, oh well

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  2. I wasn't a huge fan of the romance either. I found the romances in the previous two books more compelling. The mc herself was likable enough, but again I found myself more drawn to the previous two mc's. Still I did enjoy this conclusion.

    Great review as always!

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  3. I really did enjoy this series and I loved the last book but I know not everyone did. ;) Glad you liked it overall though! :D Great review!

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  4. I wanted to love that romance, but it just didn't satisfy. It was a decent book and a decent ending to the trilogy. I'm with you, my fave was the middle book. :)

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  5. Beautiful review as always, K. I'm so sorry this one didn't work out for you, especially because you loved Dark Triumph so much. :/ I think it's actually my favorite of the series - I just found Annith's tale so compelling - but no one tops Beast and Sybella as a couple.
    It's always hard when a series ender doesn't live up to your expectations. I hope you have better luck with the next one!

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  6. I haven't read GRAVE MERCY myself, but I'm definitely going to binge-read this series soon. Even though this one disappointed you a bit, it still seems like a pretty good conclusion to a kick-ass series. It's always unfortunate when the romance SOMEHOW becomes the deciding factor in a book, but hey, it's a pretty major component sometimes. Why why whyy include a romance when the heroine herself is already a strong, independent woman?!

    I think it was a smart move to have the plots converge and form into the last book though. That seems like a smart way to end a trilogy.

    Thanks for your honest opinions, Keertana!

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  7. The general consensus on this one seems to be that it was a bit of a letdown after the epicness of the second book. That romance was clearly the strongest of the three and seems as though maybe it should have come last (though obviously it couldn't based on the events overall). Sorry this wasn't quite as strong a conclusion as you'd hoped Keertana!

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  8. I loved this whole series though this last one just didn't have the punch of the other two. Like you said, I think it's because the MC just doesn't have the same drive/backbone of the other two. Oh, well. Still a fabulous series!

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  9. Sybella and Ismae's past are their motivations, so I'm disappointed that that aspect won't play a part in Annith's story. I'm still looking forward to reading this one, though.

    Great review, Keertana!

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  10. I need to read this. I've been delaying it for some reason. Anyhow I'm really sorry that it wasn't as good as you hoped. But I think I will enjoy it. I like Annith because she is not as fierce as Sybella was too much for me sometimes. Great review, Keertana :)

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  11. I struggled a bit with book 1 but I might give it another shot, of course it's a bit disappointing to hear that book 3 the end of the series was a bit of a let down ;/

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  12. Dark Triumph was my favorite of the first two as well, Keertana, and while I'm disappointed to hear this is not as strong as DT I'm happy to hear you liked it more than Grave Mercy. I'll keep my expectations low and hopefully enjoy it more that way. Too bad about the romance, you know that's a huge deal to me. Lovely review! :)

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  13. I'm sorry that you weren't able to enjoy this installment, as much as you'd hoped Keertana. I still have Dark Triumph and Mortal Heart to look forward to, but I can understand your feelings of why this one fell a little short for you, especially as you ended up loving Dark Triumph so much. But thank you for your honest review :)

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  14. Hmmm! I think I have put off reading this because I really wasn't sure how it was all going to end, and I don't think I'll be rushing to read it, though I hope I do end up liking it :)

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

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  15. I have to agree with you - Annith just lacked that special ingredient that would have turned her into a memorable heroine. I didn't feel her story at all, and although I'm glad I got my closure, I was not impressed with this installment at all.

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  16. The romance in this book still skeeves me out! It affected my reading of this book 100%! But that always happens to me. Annith didn't stand out to me like Sybella did. But I still enjoyed her journey overall, and minus the romance I was satisfied by this conclusion. I really like what you said about the pieces coming together and al the characters. I really enjoyed seeing the three assassins together. But I definitely get your points, and agree with your thoughts on the romance.

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