Monday, November 24, 2014

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

The Basics:
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Book Two in the His Fair Assassin Trilogy
Published April 2, 2013
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

I read Grave Mercy a few years ago and really enjoyed it.


Sybella's duty as Death's assassin in 15th-century France forces her return home to the personal hell that she had finally escaped. Love and romance, history and magic, vengeance and salvation converge in this thrilling sequel to Grave Mercy.
Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, as one of their most dangerous weapons. But those assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

My thoughts:

It's been a while since I read Grave Mercy, the first in this series. I really don't recall more than the basics of that book - that I enjoyed it, that it involved young women assassins and a convent and a bit of a love story? 

As I read Dark Triumph, bits and pieces came back to me, but fortunately I didn't feel my enjoyment of this book was negatively impacted by my inability to recall many details from the first book.

Dark Triumph tracks assassin Sybella as she navigates through the treacherous court of D'Albret. The depths of her despair and depression are heartbreaking. This book is very emotional, and there's a lot of really dark material in it. I didn't find this off-putting - instead, I found myself crying and booing and cheering at various points. I was totally hooked by the sharp edge that ran through this book.

The pacing in this book is pretty intense. We're either being confronted by Sybella's dark, sad secrets or engaged in a battle or racing across the countryside or... you get the picture. It's easy to get swept along. I think the book also really delivers on atmosphere. There are some deliciously tense moments - Sybella creeping around where she shouldn't, primarily - and I really got into those sections.

There's also a romance threaded in here. It was sweet and fierce and pretty PG. Absolutely appropriate for the YA rating of the book. I liked that it's reasonably non-traditional as heroine-hero pairings go. 

Bottom line:

I think Dark Triumph is a great follow-up to Grave Mercy and I'm curious to see what happens next in the overall story arc as well as for our final fair assassin....

4.5 stars
For fans of historical fantasy, romance, dark stories

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