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I Belong

Early Review: Dark Triumph by R.L. LaFevers

Title: Dark Triumph

Author: R.L. LaFevers

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: His Fair Assassin (Book 2)

Publication Date: April 2, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages

ISBN-10: 0547628382 (Houghton Mifflin)

ISBN-13: 978-0547628387 (Houghton Mifflin)

Reviewed by: Michelle


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.

Quick & Dirty: A sequel that brings as much darkness and action as the first, proving to be a great story that can hold its own.

Opening Sentence: I did not arrive at the convent of Saint Mortain some green stripling.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Last year, R.L. LaFevers debuted Grave Mercy, a captivating story about a young, female assassin who was devoted to a saint of death. This year, an anticipated follow up to the His Fair Assassin series, Dark Triumph, will release. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this, and once I did, I was so grateful. I promise I won’t reveal too much, and mostly gush over LaFevers amazing talent.

Sybella has her own part to play with the events that took place in Grave Mercy, and in Dark Triumph, she shows the reader her own set of talents. Sybella has returned to a life that she escaped years ago. She escaped from a tyrant father, a brother too close for comfort, and a life that she did not belong in. But when the convent sends her back, she must do what she can to uphold Saint Mortain’s wishes, even if she does not believe in them. Secrets are unveiled and Sybella must stay faithful, despite what comes her way. The only question is if she can hold on to faith that long.

Sybella has a very dark story. It is filled with despair and melancholy, painting the pages with murky images. Sybella has no happiness in her life, only filled with hopelessness. But LaFevers wrote her story in what seems like a personal way. It is filled with grief and you can’t help but love Sybella. Whatever I felt in Grave Mercy towards Sybella has been erased and learned anew in Dark Triumph. Sybella lacked love and I suffered through each scene, longing for her to get what she wanted. I yearned for a happy ending for Sybella, and each page, my connection with her became deeper and deeper.

In Dark Triumph, LaFevers brings a different set of characters, some new and some old. But what differs from Grave Mercy to Dark Triumph is the attitude and persona brought by each character. True, the story brings a darkness that isn’t fully there in Grave Mercy, but these characters are aggressive and menacing. LaFevers didn’t pull any punches when it came to writing her characters, and it felt (to me at least) that this story wouldn’t get a happy ending.

Most of Dark Triumph takes place in one primary setting, and in the bleakest moments, LaFevers manages to bring that setting to life. Dungeons, castle walls, and behind closed doors were settings for secrets, and it made it easy for the reader to focus on the story. But I will say that regardless of the purpose of the setting, the world that LaFevers created complimented the bleak mood of the story.

There are variant degrees of passion, both on the positive and negative side. Anger, revenge, infatuation, and love. All of these play a part in the story and LaFevers weaves them into the story well. Paced beautifully, Dark Triumph has been one of the best-voiced stories I’ve read in a while. There are transformations that happen and these transitions happen seamlessly. Time escaped me, as I read through the story and before I knew it, Dark Triumph was over.

R.L. LaFevers is an amazing author, and Dark Triumph is just another example of that. I highly urge you to pick up and read Dark Triumph and learn of Sybella’s story.

Notable Scene:

It is a long, tense walk back to Madame Dinan’s chamber, but as I go, a plan begins to form, as fragile and tenuous as a spider’s web.

I have followed the convent and Mortain’s wishes so far, and it has brought nothing but tragedy. Even worse, d’Albret is still alive and spewing his evil across the land. It is long past time for me to fulfill the role the abbess had planned for me, with or without her orders. I will kill him, marque or no.

But I will attempt to free the prisoner first. if, as i suspect, he is too wounded and broken to make the trip to Rennes, I will grant him a small mercy and put him out of his misery, for certainly that is what I would wish for if it were me.

I will not even make him beg.

His Fair Assassin Series:

1. Grave Mercy

2. Dark Triumph

3. Mortal Heart (2014)

FTC Advisory: Houghton Mifflin provided me with a copy of Dark Triumph. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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