Thursday, February 5, 2015
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...
Ode to the Nine, I don't even know where to begin! The changes that occur in Annith between the first book (GRAVE MERCY) and this one are amazing. I didn't much like her in the beginning, but once I got her story, I was hooked. Her character is so easy to sink into and absorb as if she were you, it is remarkable. Her tale of woe was so unexpected, I was literally shocked. Most of the girls come to the Convent with horrible stories to tell but never did I suspect Annith's. But what's most endearing is when Balthazaar helps her through it all.
Balthazaar. The hellequin who first abducts her with tricks and then falls for her. When she runs from the hunt, he follows her to Rennes and meets her again on the battlements. The symmetry between these two is absolutely beautiful and I found myself falling for the tortured hellequin as well. (There's just something about the bad boys, you know?) But when she asks for his help with Isabeau, the duchess' sister, she learns the truth: she has fallen in love with Death. Mortain himself. Her father.
But, He isn't her father. She learns the truth about her birth and it shocks her to the very core (it shocked me!). The amount of lies surrounding her nearly become too much for her, and she seeks the help of Father Effram, the respectable priest who serves in the church of the Nine. His advice offers her great solace as she takes it all to heart, and then she asks his advice on matters of the heart.
It isn't long before the French have the city of Rennes surrounded. With mercenaries leaving at the flash of coin, they need every man they can get. Desperate, Annith turns to Balthazaar (Mortain), who ends up attending one of the council meetings and claiming He and His hellequin will aid the duchess. Annith has an idea on how to stop the war before it is started but she needs to be within the French encampment. The hellequin aid her, a few finding the redemption they've been seeking.
But Balthazaar doesn't fair too well, His sole thought trained on protecting Annith and getting her out. The amount of gallantry He shows is admirable and it made my heart break to hear of His downfall. He is taken to the Convent of Brigantia in the hopes of healing, and Father Effram is discovered as Salonius, the former god of tricks. Hope is renewed in Annith's breast (and mine, honestly) as she realizes the first death makes a god mortal, but the second one kills Him.
And so, with everything wrapped up to the perfect ending, even finding justice for the woman who crafted the lies surrounding Annith's life, Annith and Mortain return to the Convent to oversee His daughters and craft the Convent into what it was originally meant for: Life and Death, honor and choice. Because, really, Love is stronger than Death.