Monday, July 8, 2019

REVIEW: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2)
I lean forward, pushing my body out past the battlements. The wind plucks at my cloak, buffets against me, as if it would carry me off in flight, just like the birds or the knight's soul. Let go, it cries, I will take you far, far away. I want to laugh at the exhilarating feeling, I will catch you, it whistles seductively.

The convent has returned Sybella to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father's rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother's love is equally monstrous. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

NOTE: This is the second book in a series. See review for book one here.

I liked Grave Mercy but I felt like it was too focused on the politics rather than the characters and the intriguing premise. For that reason, I did not have the highest hopes for this book, but I'm glad that this book exceeded them. This was a fantastic follow-up!

This book starts off shortly before Grave Mercy ended. This time we follow Sybella and the mission that took her away from the convent for so long. Sybella is back in the home she desperately wanted to escape from, the reason she agreed to join the convent. Back she is told that she can kill the man who she hates the most, a man who has killed many innocents: her father. Except, she's been in her father's home for months, watching him carry out horrible demands, and he still doesn't carry the mark. Tired of the masquerade and waiting for the mark to show, Sybella just wants to carry out the kill, mark or no mark, but then she gets a new order. There's a prisoner in the castle who her empress needs to be freed. Sybella will simply free him and since she already defied her father's orders, she'll finally kill her father. It doesn't matter that it will be a suicide mission. But things don't go as planned.

This series doesn't hesitate in discussing dark subjects and this book definitely goes further. I'm not going to go too far in detail about what dark subjects are involved in this book, becuase some are spoilers, but Sybella comes from a very dark family. Her father is pure evil. He's extremely misogynistic and kills anyone who does not agree with him. And Sybella's brothers are not the best either. One of them has more than brotherly love for Sybella. This is the family Sybella grew up in and the one she tried to escape from. It is perfectly understandable why Sybella wants to kill her father (I keep saying father because I don't want to spoil who he is, but he is only father by blood. According to Sybella, Mortain is her true father).

While I liked Ismae in the last book, I found Sybella more compelling. Coming back to the darkness of her past is hard on Sybella. It has a negative effect on her, of course, because of how fearful she is in this dangerous situation. But, there is a point when she is outside of this situation and she doesn't know what to feel. Her goal for so long has been to kill her father, what does she do without her goal? This book just spent so much more time building on Sybella's character. She was the focus of the story, not just the politics in her environment. I loved that we got to see so much of her, understand her, and I loved that there was so much focus on her. There is so much darkness and fear in her life that she does not feel like she can love herself or others with the darkness of her past surrounding her.

This brings me to the romance. It is really hard for me to like romance in books. It is so easy for it to become cliche, for it to overpower the story, or for it to just be unnecessary to the story. The romance in this book was done fantastically well. It was drawn out and there was a connection between the characters that was more than just romance. The love interest is a familiar face from the last book and I loved that Grave Mercy was not the last we saw of him. He's overall a fantastic guy and he and Sybella are wonderful together.  


Overall, I am glad that I decided to reread Grave Mercy and try to finish the series seven years after starting it. This is a great continuation to the premise of the first book, a great companion book, and I look forward to reading the next.

I hereby give this book
4 Stars!
Meaning: I really liked this book!

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