Author: Robin LaFevers
Date of Publication: April 2, 2013
Formats Available: Hardcover, E-Book
Buy This Book: Amazon
Synopsis: 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.
The sequel to Grave Mercy starts off a little slow but it soon picked up, drawing me into the familiar world of assassin nuns and political unrest. While not as good as Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph did not disappoint and I ended up really enjoying the story even though there were a few parts that didn't quite sit well with me.
One of the biggest reasons I enjoy the His Fair Assassin series so much is the setting. Not many books are set in the 1400's and I really like being able to learn a little more about that period in time. LaFevers has a way of making even the most dry parts of history seem interesting through her fantastic writing and while she took a few artistic liberties I still loved being able to learn more about the conflict including Anne of Brittany and the political unrest of the time.
Dark Triumph was definitely on the darker side of YA fiction but at the same time that's what made me enjoy it so much. D'Albret is a chilling villain and the horrific acts he committed without even blinking an eye are horrifying. Being stationed in his house by the convent Sybella witnesses most of these events first hand, making for a very dark tale. Sybella was a very different protagonist than Ismae, she's cold and calculating and much more serious. I liked Sybella but her horrible past paired with her cold demeanor made it hard to relate to her.
While I liked this book there were a few things about this one that didn't sit very well with me. Dark Triumph contains a lot of killing and characters that enjoy killing. While it worked very well for the story I couldn't help but feel a little uncomfortable by characters that enjoyed killing so much. In the beginning Sybella is an extremely cold character and while she warms up a little in the end the lack of remorse for what she does also struck a bit of a nerve for me.
Overall I enjoyed Dark Triumph even though I had a hard time rating it. A four felt a little generous and a three felt a little harsh but the fascinating story and interesting setting pushed it more towards a four. I would definitely not recommend this novel for anyone under the age of 15 or 16 due to some very dark content but older fans will undoubtedly enjoy the second novel of the His Fair Assassin series.