Mortal Heart

by Robin LaFevers
First sentence: “For most the bleak dark months when the black storms came howling out of the north is a time of grimness and sorrow as people await the arrival of winter, which brings death, hunger, and bitter cold in its wake.”
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Others in the series: Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph
Content: Like the other two, it has death (though no murders, I think), some sex (off screen) and more mature themes. It’s in the Teen section (grades 9+) of the bookstore.

Annith is the one who was always left behind. Quiet and dutiful, the Abbess always passed her over when it was time to go on missions. First Ismae left, and then Sybella. And Annith is the one to babysit the new novices. However, when the resident seer gets ill and Annith overhears the Abbess say that Annith would be perfect for the position, Annith panics. And takes off in the middle of the night: dang it if she isn’t going to get her adventure.

She ends up being overtaken by hellequins — servants of the God Mortain, like Annith herself — and their leader Bathazar, takes it upon himself to protect her from the, shall we say, less savory of the bunch. They ride around together — nominally to get Annith to some city I can’t remember the name of right now — for a couple of weeks, falling in love. And then Annith — and this is what I liked most about the book — decides that she really wants to be Independent and Have and Adventure, so she takes off. And she does. She never really becomes as Awesome as Ismae (who is still my favorite) or Sybella, but she holds her own.

Of course there are twisty twists and swoony swoons, and over it all is some very interesting (if only vaguely) historical setting. At some point, though, the twists made my eyes roll, and the swoons stopped being swoony, and I was predicting things right and left, which is never much fun for me.

It’s not my favorite in the trilogy, though it does wrap things up nicely. Even so, it’s a good series, and one worth reading.

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