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.
"Don't you see? Your mortal heart shines like a candle flame and I, like one of those helpless black moths you used to leave as an offering, am helpless before its lure."
Mortal Heart closes out His Fair Assassin trilogy by offering up a POV from Annith, the one sister who always seems to be left behind while others get "called" by Mortain. See Ismae (Grave Mercy) and Sybella (Dark Triumph). Mortal Heart curiously takes place concurrently with events from both Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph, so, if you haven't read the previous two books, HOP TO IT!
Annith is a girl filled with dreams of adventure but ends up being a nursemaid to her fellow sisters instead. As the oldest remaining sister at the convent at seventeen, she has no real gifts like Ismae or Sybella. Yet, she is obedient, faithful, one of the hardest working daughters of Mortain, and very skilled at a host of useful skills, like archery, necessary to be an assassin. She is pushed into a corner where her only path seems to lead towards doing something she has no desire to do.
Readers will be flooded with a plethora of questions regarding Annith. Why has she been overlooked for so long? Why are those younger than her being sent out before Annith even though her skill set is top notched? Has Annith been perhaps a bit too obedient unlike Sybella? The abbess of the Convent of Saint Mortain seems to be hiding secrets, but why is Annith so important to her? What makes Annith so different from the rest of her sisters?
When Annith finally takes a rebellious stand by leaving the convent behind to confront the Abbess about the truth about her birth and other secrets, she runs into a curious character named Balthazaar, leader of a group of hellequin hunters. Who is Balthazar really, and what is his interest in Annith? I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the connection that forms between the two characters.
You must know that Annith is NOT Ismae or Sybella. She has spent her entire life at the convent believing that she was serving Mortain faithfully, and waiting for him to call her to action. She dedicated her every waking moment from time she was brought to the convent to serve HIM. Her life has been filed with people not giving her a fair chance, and treating her entirely different from the other daughters of Mortain.
I'm really glad LaFevers gave Annith her own story and didn't make her any less than Ismae or Sybella. Annith can stand on her own without anyone else to guide her or push her into doing what is expected of her. She has been in the background ever since this trilogy started while her other sisters went out on dangerous missions. We had no idea what she's been put through or the challenges she's been forced to face until now. I think Annith's background will make her more sympathetic character to readers once the entire sordid story is laid out.
I'm glad that the trilogy wraps up like it started, with Annith, Ismae, and Sybella together again alongside their love interests fighting together to protect Anne, the Duchess of Brittany. I absolutely love that LaFevers has spun her tale together with actual events in the life of Duchess Anne even though the timeline may be a bit skewed. Anne has always piqued my interests as a person who loves historical novels. Such a heartbreaking life for such a young girl to have to endure.
Mortal Heart is filled with mysteries, romance, and plenty of action to keep a reader occupied for the entire 400 plus pages that this story encompasses. While it may take a bit to get used to Annith, I will definitely encourage you to read this book anyway.
Author - Robin LaFevers
Title - Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin # 3)
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Releases: November 4, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: E-Book, 464 pages