Series: His Fair Assassin #2
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
Book Trailer: View Trailer
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children on April 2, 2013
Reviewed by: Julia
References to incest, attempted rape, and non-explicit sex scenes.
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. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella 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. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. 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?
This heart-pounding sequel to Grave Mercy serves betrayal, treachery, and danger in equal measure, bringing readers back to fifteenth century Brittany and will keep them on the edge of their seats.
Oh, how I adore this series. Where GRAVE MERCY seduced me into this world with it's mix of god-touched heros and mortal politics, DARK TRIUMPH is a much more personal tale. Gorgeous, damaged Sybella dominates her story in a completely different way than Ismae, making this both a fantastic sequel and something brand new.
Focused tight on Sybella's world, experiencing both her pain, her strength, and her victories, LaFevers managed to wholly involve me in this new point of view. And the Beast, confident, powerful, and passionate, is the perfect foil for both Sybella's strengths and wounds. He heals her soul without tempering her lethal nature, and may be one of my favorite heros as a result of it. Though Sybella struggles with doubts regarding her vocation, LaFevers creates details unique to this character without re-treading Ismae's journey note for note. Even better, LaFevers did a great job intertwining glimpses of Ismae and Duval with Sybella, giving me page time with these beloved characters while helping the current narrative develop. The ugly secrets of Sybella's past can be hard to read in places, though the abuse is more hints than explicit. But while d'Albret remains a monstrous font of evil, many of the other sources of Sybella's misery are more nuanced characters. The interplay between her and Julian never quite touched my emotions, but I thought LaFevers did a good job developing the broken, poisonous d'Albret household in a way that garnered some sympathy.
I finished GRAVE MERCY anxious to read about Sybella in DARK TRIUMPH, but I have less of a feel for where Annith's story will take us. However, given the excellent balance of intrigue, romance, and magic LaFevers has written thus far, I am still eagerly anticipating MORTAL HEART for next year.