Series: His Fair Assassin Book Two
Author: Robin LaFevers
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Rating: 3.5 Stars
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.
Let me start off by saying I loved Grave Mercy, it was a 5 star book for me. So why the lower rating when technically it was kind of better?
While I did like Sybella and this book had all the action and assassinating that Grave Mercy did not, the ending is what brought it down so much.
Sybella has had such a tough life. Living with her psycho of a father and brother she only had Julian to rely on and even that somehow ended up getting twisted halfway through. But foremost, Sybella was a survivor. She did and acted the way it was expected to be able to survive in such a household and hell if she didn't make it. I really admired her strength, she goes back to her own personal hell knowing full well that she might not get back out in one piece. She was one hell of a tough cookie.
Because of everything that Sybella has gone through she had a harder time than Ismae when it came to their beliefs in Mortain. Throughout the whole book, Sybella struggles with what she is been told, what she has seen, what she has learned from her experiences and what actually is. This all made for a very dark and gritty book for the most part, which I didn't mind at all.
The book starts out in such a way that I was thinking it was going to be light-killing again with just the poisons, but I was happy to find out it wasn't the case. This book is filled with action, battles, skirmishes, death and killing going on left and right, with a healthy dose of political intrigue as well. I loved it.
My problem started when we get to the 'Triumph' part of the title. It's obvious why it is a Dark Triumph. It is Sybella's story after all. I just didn't like the triumphing part, which came with it's religious awakening. Even though Sybella was a handmaiden she never actually truly believed in Mortain, specially because the Abbess always had it in for her. She felt abandoned by Mortain because she had tried killing herself already and Death had rejected her. Towards the end of the book she has a talk with Ismae and learns about her suspicions. Afterwards she then gets her own visit with Mortain and then...she pretty much turns all mushy.
This book was really dark, gory and gritty and I loved it for it, but then Sybella ends up going on and on about the power of love, and love this and love that, it felt like she was converted. I hated it. It changed the whole tone of the book by the end. While I know this is to be expected since she did 'Triumph', in my opinion it was somehow overdone. This was a girl who was suicidal, led a crappy life, then had her beliefs turned upside down, found a new love, but still kept her inner core strength, just to have her turn all mushy in her thoughts all of a sudden. It was a turnoff for me.
With all that said, I really have enjoyed this series so far. The world building, the writing, the political warfare, the assassinating by Death's handmaiden, it's all come together for one really entertaining trilogy. If you liked Grave Mercy, or even if you didn't because there wasn't enough assassin stuff going on, then you should pick this one up. It has all the killing, fighting and sneaking around that a book about assassin's should have. You won't regret it.