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…
Fantastic ending to an outstanding historical fantasy trilogy. Not as dark as Sybella’s book, and maybe not as action packed as Ismae’s, but enjoyable nonetheless.
I understand why the identity of Annith’s love interest was kept under wraps – it’s a bit of a dead giveaway. (Pardon the pun, those who’ve read the book!)
Everyone sees Annith as a saintly goody two shoes, but it’s really a result some rather horrific childhood experiences that lead her to work harder than everyone else, in order to be the best at everything. Desperate to be dispatched on a mission, everything comes to a head when Annith discovers things at the convent are not quite as they seem. She thus sets out from the convent to discover the truth – about the convent, her parentage, and her role in the grand scheme of things.
We encounter familiar favourites along the way – Ismae and Duval, Sybella and Beast- and meet a few new faces.
“Ismae has returned,” he says, and it is impossible not to love him a little for the relief that colors his voice.
Although the series overall has a rather dark tone – forces are amassing, and the county of Breton doesn’t seem to stand a chance against the might of the encroaching French army, there are still moments of lightness and humour. And Annith is no shy, retiring flower – she gives as good as she gets.
“You expect us to believe that a lone maid held off pursuers with a handful of knives?”
“Well, that and I disappeared up a tree.”
Her banter with lover boy is delightful.
“Besides, what if you go blind again? Or lose your hearing? Or power of speech? Then you will need my help.” There is a faint note of smug satisfaction in his voice.
While Annith has spent her life cloistered in the convent, she is swift in her learning of the real world.
But this is war, and war has its own set of rules, for all that I did not study them.
She also undergoes some much needed character growth and realisations:
I now recognise that my wants are not selfish simply because they are mine. Indeed, many of my wants are worthy ones, even noble: justice for Matelaine, safety for the other girls, honesty from the abbess, and to restore the integrity of the convent.
And bonus points for recognising the important of female friendship. Bechdel test – passed.
In giving me, Ismae and Sybella have given me strength.
“Oh no. Do not start leaking. Ismae, come over here and hug her so we can all pretend it never happened and get on with our lives.”