Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 400 pages (April 2nd 2013)
From: the Publisher via Amazon VineFormat: ARC
Add to: Goodreads
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.
Review: 5 Stars - Dark Triumph by author R.L. LaFevers was one of the most eager anticipated titles for this reader of 2013. The characters are fascinating, I mean Assassin Nuns? Yes please! And a beautifully written story rich with history, intrigue, sabotage and scandals that never stop.
In the first book in the trilogy – Grave Mercy – we’re introduced us to some characters I have grown to love and look forward to reading about. A story set in such an interesting period we learn of the Assassin Nuns who serve Death. They are taught at a covenant of St. Mortain in all things seduction and the art of killing and LaFevers has crafted some compelling characters’ that I seriously can’t get enough of. And this is coming from someone who is not a fan of historical novels, yet LaFevers has such a way with Brittany in the fifteenth century that I've fallen in love with everything about this trilogy.
Of all the handmaidens of Death, Sybella is the darkest. Her past and present are not happy or cheerful in the slightest. She’s was in a living hell when she managed to find her escape within the covenant. There she finds a place in the world and some friends who she holds close to her heart – such as Ismae whose story we read about in Grave Mercy.
Sybella and Ismae might be servants of Death and kill with ease, yet the two girls couldn't be more different from one another. During Grave Mercy that we see a glimpse of Sybella and I knew what was coming for her book would be sad, if not heartbreaking. I was curious as to whom Sybella was and what she’d add to the overall trilogy.
During Dark Triumph we finally see the extent of her past and why she’s currently in the position she is within her father’s family. And all horrific things she must navigate to stay alive and complete her task, which let me tell you, is far from easy. It’s not only her father who’s unbelievably cruel and damaging to our female protagonist, pretty much the whole house holds many, many frightening things for her and everyone around her. Her father is a piece of work, let me tell you and all around him are forced to cower in his presence.
Sybella goes through many thoughts and trials during her journey. She’s confused and has questions, she’s in search of answers for and it takes a brute of a man named Beast to help her figure the many things out she’s up against. It’s not an easy road for Sybella, she’s a tough, tough girl yet it was nice to see her find a softer side which made my heart break for her more than a few times. I see why she’s the way that she is. There’s no doubt anyone would create the walls she did to protect herself and I liked the inner dialogue while we followed along as she unraveled her life and the knots of challenges along the way when it came to helping protect the Duchess.
And Beast – The man also did a number with my heart over and over again too! I never thought it could be possible but he did. Such a big – as he’s described in the book – ogre of a man broke my heart each and every time he did Sybellas and then he managed to piece it right back together again. LaFever gave him words that softened him and made him less “beast” and more of a man and in turn had me swooning for this amazingly compelling male character. I loved Sybella and Beast, they worked together well and fought together even better. WOW, what a pair!
It is without a doubt that I love these books. They are captivating, thrilling and wonderful and LaFevers has found a way to whisk me away to a darker time and place so far removed from our own that I lose all track of time. This trilogy is one of the best I've read and from someone who steers away from anything historical, that’s saying something. There is no question that I highly recommend these books to any and all readers. Let Dark Triumph captivate you with its rich story, fantastic writing and wonderfully crafted characters today. Trust me, you’ll thank me and kick yourself for waiting this long to read these books.
FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.