Reviewed at http://www.mandikayereads.com/archives/1280I really didn't know what to expect from this book because it's gotten such mixed reviews. Some people have raved about it, yet I've seen others who disliked it so much that they didn't even finish it. I knew that it could go either way for me.Fortunately, I loved it!I mean, c'mon - a convent full of assassin nuns!It was, I admit, somewhat predictable in parts. But then, it's rare to find any book with a romance involved in it that isn't. And Duval is my very favorite sort of man in a book. He has notes of Jericho Barrons in him, without being quite the bastard that Barrons could be.The mythology presented in this book was fascinating to me. Ismae (isn't that a beautiful name?) is a handmaiden of Death - her father was one of the old gods now worshipped as a saint within the church. That means that she has supernatural gifts including immunity to poisons, being able to see the "marque of death" that Mortain has placed on someone who must die, and the ability to converse with souls after death. Because of this, she has been trained as an assassin.These are all things that made this book stand out to me. It is not simply another supernatural/paranormal book. The world building and plot development are all refreshingly original. There is murder, espionage, treachery, war... so many action items happen within the book.Also - there's no love triangle, which is always a plus.Sometimes the political scenes were a bit tedious, but they were absolutely necessary to further both plot and character development.I'm really looking forward to book 2 - which should, based on the excerpt at the end of this galley, be about Sybella (another of Mortain's daughters trained to be an assassin). Which means the final book will hopefully be about Annith - the poor novice who has yet to leave the convent for an assignment.