Friday, June 21, 2013

Book Review: Dark Triumph by R.L. LaFevers { Book 2: His Fair Assassin}

Title: Dark Triumph
Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassins
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books  for Children
Date of Publication: April 2, 2013
Source: bought, hardcover, 385 pages
Links to buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble |



From Goodreads:
Sybella's duty as Death's assassin in 15th-century France forces her return home to the personal hell that she had finally escaped. Love and romance, history and magic, vengeance and salvation converge in this thrilling sequel to Grave Mercy.
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. The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, 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. 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?

My Thoughts:

I have totally completely and whole-heartedly fell in love with this series! It combines everything that I love in a book: suspense, romance, strong female characters that can kill twenty ways to sundown, and a huge paranormal vibe going through the story set in a historical fiction.  It is honestly the best of all genres and I am so glad that I jumped into this series head first!

Okay....I will try to go through this review like a big girl, instead of a fan girl screaming like a maniac.   

*composes self* 
*takes deep breath*  

ILOVETHISFREAKINGBOOKSOMUCH!!!!!!

Now, I am much better.  

Dark Triumph is very similar to Grave Mercy but in a lot of ways it is far different too.  In Dark Triumph, Sybella goes through her own hell and really starts to question her belief in Death, especially her place in his world.  Just as Isme went through her personal revelation in Grave Mercy, Sybella has to go through her own as well.  
But Dark Triumph seems much more darker than Grave Mercy.  Okay, chill out.. I know what you're thinking: " Um they are daughters of Death who kill for a living and as a religion..of course it is dark!!" 
And you're right the overall series is dark....but Sybella's life really brought the utmost pain to me.  The things this woman has went through, and continues to go through, is beyond what I think any normal woman could live through and still be somewhat sane.  
Our main female protagonist is one of the strongest characters I have ever read!  I love that she is so dangerous and yet there is this fragility about her that really breaks your heart.  Sybella always has to be on guard because her very existence stays in danger constantly.  And yet even with all this darkness surrounding her, she still finds some things beautiful.  Like her friendship with Isme, her adoration for her younger sisters, and the growing attraction between her and "Beast".  She is one of the most complex and fulfilling character I have ever read.  There is so much going on with Sybella that you will definitely have an emotional thrill ride with her.  

Then there is our main male protagonist and I am so glad he is the one that is in this book.  I loved him so much in Grave Mercy and I am thrilled that LaFevers chose Beast as the male equivalent for Sybella.  On the outside, he has these scars and isn't the most beautiful man alive.  Many females run from him just for his looks, when they are perhaps missing out on the most admirable man alive.  Beast was a great guy and I enjoyed reading more about his life too.  

As I read Dark Triumph, I kept thinking to myself what a small world it really was.  There are so many tie ins for these two characters that it almost seems like fate was involved.  Which could be true?  Who knows?  

I love that LaFevers took a important event in history and twisted it slightly with a paranormal feel to it.  I also love that she personifies Death, giving him this fatherly personality to him.  It could really be compared to religion in this day and age.  Okay please stop before you get your torches and start screaming "sacrilegious" at me.  Let me explain.....
You know how you have this faith but these awful things keep happening to you and sometimes your faith wavers, causing you to question your life, your creation, and your very existence.  Well the handmaidens in His Fair Assassin series do this as well.  Throughout the stories these ladies think he has forsaken them (sound familiar?) and in a special moment usually at our rock bottom, we find our faith and we see that our Father was there for us all along.  
I really just completely fell in love with the similarities that LaFevers gives us when Isme and Sybella question their lives and beliefs  and they find that their father was watching all along.  
I guess I rambled there a lot but I really had a point and I hoped I made it.  
Anyways, back to the review.
LaFevers also does a wonderful job of world building.  She takes this amazing time in history but alternates it to fit the paranormal view of it.  As she writes, I really feel like I am transported back in time with the characters in this historical fiction.  Oh and is it just me but man I would love to have one of those dresses so bad!  

All in all, Dark Triumph is an overload for our emotions.  We get so many going on: despair, love, fear, hatred, and hope.  But probably most importantly, forgiveness.  There are a few surprises through out the story and we find out who our real enemies are and those that we can truly trust.  
Also be prepared for a abrupt ending.  I would have loved a little bit more but I guess I will just impatiently wait till the next book.  

One more thing.  Raise of hands: Who really wants to punch the Reverend Mother all the way back to the convent?  I don't know how much I can take of her until I have to get a punching bag with a picture of her face on it!?!?!

I had to give Dark Triumph five out of five hearts!  



Connect with Robin LaFevers:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


Check out my review of Grave Mercy, book 1 in His Fair Assassin here.

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