Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Thursday, March 14, 2013 with 8 comments
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Title: Dark Triumph
Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin, book #2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Source: from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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.


I loved Grave Mercy when I read it last year.  In fact, it's right up there with my favorites of 2012.  So, to say that I was worried Dark Triumph would fall short as a sequel is an understatement...especially since this book is a companion novel, not a true sequel.  I wanted to follow Ismae and Duval on their exploits, but alas, I was consigned to learn more about the mysterious Sybella, another of Death's handmaidens.  I was intrigued by her character in Grave Mercy but not enough to desire a whole book from her point-of-view.

Or so I thought.  If Ismae's past was bleak, then it's sufficient to say that Sybella's was insufferable.  The things this young woman has survived...and yet she manages to walk tall in the face of all those who have wronged her.  You don't know everything Sybella's endured right from the beginning, but it's obvious she's every bit as strong and deadly as Ismae, maybe even more so.  It almost felt like a betrayal to Ismae to like Sybella's character as much as I did, but they are best friends, and so I think Ismae might approve.
“I cannot tell her I have been moping over a broken heart when I have worked so hard to convince her I have no heart at all.”
Dark Triumph picks up right where Grave Mercy left off, only from Sybella's perspective.  It is not, I repeat, NOT the events of Grave Mercy retold from Sybella's point-of-view, as I've seen some report.  Instead, Sybella finds herself back in her father's household as a spy for the Reverend Mother.  The vileness this poor girl must withstand, it's enough to turn your stomach and pity Sybella.  But she would not want your pity.  No, Sybella merely wants vengeance.  Fitting for the handmaiden of Death, right?
“Truly, we are the gods' own children, forged in the fire of our tortured pasts, but also blessed with unimaginable gifts.”
What isn't appropriate to Sybella is the attachment, the allegiance she feels to a certain soldier responsible for keeping the Duchess safe. He ends up being her salvation.  She has only ever sought to exact her revenge since leaving the monastery, but now with the aide of this man, she has more to live for, to fight for.  And the relationship that develops between these two lethal beings is just so pure and beautiful...I was rooting for it from the very beginning.  It's nice that for two who have suffered so much, they may finally have a chance at some semblance of happiness.
“It is a good thing I no longer have a heart, because if I did, it would surely break.”
Fret not, fans of Grave Mercy.  Many of your favorite characters from the first book do make an appearance in this companion novel, some with a more substantial presence than others.  Sybella's story hurt my heart, but it was promising to see how many have her welfare in mind. Just seeing how the author was able to seamlessly continue this story, but through another's eyes, gives me hope that the least known assassin's tale will be tremendously exciting.  I now know I can go into Annith's story in Mortal Heart with zero trepidation.

If you loved Grave Mercy, I pretty much guarantee that you'll love Dark Triumph as much, if not more.  It's that good.  More poison.  More weapons.  More action.  More everything!  I couldn't have asked for a more perfect follow-up to Grave Mercy.  There is no question that this will be among the leaders of the pack for my favorite novel of 2013.

Rating:   photo 5-1.png

And this trailer is perfection, too!



8 comments:

  1. I skimmed because I haven't read Grave Mercy but I swear I put it on my reading schedule! Hopefully I can stay on track and get to it soon! SO happy to see the sequel is so good too. :)

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    1. Girl, I'm not going to tell you again! Get on these books. Sooooooo goooooood! :D

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  2. Great review. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. I am very excited for this book. I'm trying to prepare myself for the darkness, because I have a good guess at some of the things that Sybella has had to suffer, but I'm ready to watch her TRIUMPH. I'm actually really excited that this is a companion series. I don't think there are enough of those out there, and I cant' wait to see some of my other favorites again.

    Off topic, but I LOVE that you imbedded spoilers in your post 1) how did you do that and 2) I tried to click on them, but nothing happened? I didn't want to actually read the spoilers, but see how they popped up.

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    1. Um, thanks for pointing that out! I hadn't viewed it yet today and in preview mode, it looked like it worked. D'oh. Guess I still need to work on that coding...

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  4. I'm so glad its good because I've been waiting to read it since I finished Grave Mercy.

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  5. I'm so happy you enjoyed this one. I'm in love with the series right now, and I can't wait for book three. I agree though, I felt absolutely nauseous at the crap that Sybella had to put up with from her own family. Great review!

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  6. If you guarantee it, then I'll trust you. This sounds epic and I really liked Grave Mercy. Can't wait to see how this turns out!

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