Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
“When one consorts with assassins, one must expect to dance along the edge of a knife once or twice.”
If you were raised hearing that you were sired by Death himself, that even though your mother tried to destroy you in her womb and you didn’t die, what would you think? Would you think that it was a bad thing, a curse that would doom you until the end of your days? Or would you see it as a blessing, a way to exact revenge on those that harmed you throughout your youth? For Ismae, she initially thought that it would be a curse, having to deal with the abuse from her father and her would-be husband. But she was rescued, swept away from what would have been a terrible marriage, and found herself in a place where she would learn who she truly was:
A handmaiden of Death.
From there, her new life begins, where she learns just how powerful it could be to have the ability to not die, even when she is poisoned. She learns that not all the Daughters of Death have an immunity to poison, so that’s something special that she shares with only one other nun in the convent. But she still has much to learn, and when she’s ready to test her training out in the real world, she will see that not everything is as simple as she thought it would be.
I haven’t read a book like this before, and I’m really glad that I came across it. From the historical aspect, the historical politics, and the fact that Death had all daughters was one of my favorite parts of the book. It also made me want to research this time in history and see how much if it was actually true and how much was made just for the story. At least I’ll be able to find out eventually.
I’m really proud of Ismae though by the time the book ends. I feel like she really grows as a person, learns how to take control of her life and figures out that not everything is as it appears. She finally learns how to think for herself, and she finds out just how special she really is. In the end, I’m just glad that she was the subject of the first book in the trilogy, because I think that her story makes a great introduction into this amazing world.
Rated: 4/5 ★