I am not exaggerating when I say I have pretty much read (or started to read and decided I didn't want to finish) every young adult fantasy novel in our library system that features smart and strong female protagonists. Seriously, I have read more books about girls wielding swords than I care to count. So. Many. Swords.
This being said, you can imagine my delight when a taut, muscular (I love it when books are described in those terms) trilogy of books about teenage nun-assassins rocking out in fifteenth century Brittany arrived at the library. These girls know their stuff and manage to successfully deal with the respective missions they are assigned to with major craftiness, or, failing that, righteous fighting moves.
Author Robin LaFevers totally nails historical fantasy fiction in these books. Her skill at seamlessly weaving fantasy elements into straight historical fact is on par with Marion Zimmer Bradley, Libbra Bray, and Diana Gabaldon. As strange and unlikely as this series' premise of murderous novitiates exacting vengeance sounds, it is most definitely worth your time if you're any sort of fantasy fan. I recommended this series to both my refined, literature-loving mom and my wild, pink-haired artist friend and they both gave rave reviews. Here are the publisher's rundowns:
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts--and a violent destiny.
Sybella's duty as Death's assassin in 15th-century France forces her return home to the personal hell that she had finally escaped.
Annith's worst fears are realized when she discovers that, despite her lifelong training to be an assassin, she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever shut up in the convent of Saint Mortain.
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