Publishing Info: April 2, 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Netgalley, Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 21, 2013
Related Posts: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1), Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3)
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 home to the 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?
Maybe I needed someone to fangirl with while I read this. Maybe my hopes were too high. Maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to read long books on my Kindle because for some reason they feel like they take forever. Maybe I needed help from the Recaptains to remember what exactly was up with Sybella in GRAVE MERCY — But for whatever reason, I was SO BUMMED that I didn’t enjoyed DARK TRIUMPH as much as I had hoped. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I really did; I just hard a hard time getting into it as easily as I fell into GRAVE MERCY.
I was incredibly excited to jump into the Sybella’s story in DARK TRIUMPH since her side of the story seemed much darker and mysterious than that of Ismae in GRAVE MERCY and I was not disappointed with the tragic details of Sybella’s past as well as her difficult current assignment for the abbey. For some reason I just had a really hard time getting totally sucked in like I had with GM. I honestly feel like if I had read this as a hardcover instead of ebook, I would have had a better time with it. It sounds stupid, but I just felt like I was not making any progress with it on my Kindle (which is another reason I sometimes have a hard time reading ebooks) at a point where I felt a lot of reading pressure, and I really felt like it wasn’t fair to the book. Excuses aside, I still felt like I should have felt more enthralled than I was.
A few of my closest blogging friends absolutely loved this one, so I know it’s not that DARK TRIUMPH was a bad story — Aw hell, even I don’t think it was a bad story, BUT Sybella’s life is very different from Ismae’s. Once her life starts to intertwine with the fate of Beast (remember him? Duval’s light-hearted right hand man?), the reader can immediately see the potential for a romance there, but the romance just didn’t capture me as much as I had hoped it would. Since Sybella & Beast are quite different than our original romantic couple, Ismae & Duval, their relationship develops in a vastly different way and I felt developed even slower than the slow burn of the first book. I think I felt like it took a while for that romance to start and although I wasn’t keen on rushing it, I also think I needed a bit more of that earlier on to really tug on my heart strings and pull me in.
The other issue I had was the chase. Why is there always a chase in book two? WHY? Our beloved characters are on the run, fleeing injustice, hiding from bad guys, and camping in the woods… And clearly this is something in books I have come to loathe. I think it’s the act of not having a grounded setting? Maybe? I’m not 100% sure, but characters on the run creates a lot of action, but scenes that just don’t hold my attention. Unfortunately, this made up the first half of the book, so maybe that’s why it took me so long to get into DARK TRIUMPH.
All complaints aside, DARK TRIUMPH is another great addition to the collection of books that make up the HIS FAIR ASSASSIN trilogy. Robin LaFevers does a great job with this historical fiction (considering that’s not usually a genre I enjoy at all) and the language is easy to understand considering it’s written as the 15th century and there’s quite a bit of humor as well. Although book two didn’t quite sell me as much as I’d hoped, this was clearly a personal issue (stress? personal preference? Kindle?) and not a plot or character issue so I think GRAVE MERCY fans will still fall in love with DARK TRIUMPH!
Sybella: Sybella definitely has a crazy and difficult life. Even after seeking shelter in the abbey, she still doesn’t quite fit in. She’s never been accepted wherever she goes, so it was really interesting to see her reactions to various predicaments in DT. I really enjoyed how different she was from Ismae and that Robin LaFevers was able to create such a different POV for the readers to follow and enjoy.
Beast: I’ve always loved Beast! He’s just so much fun, he’s honest, he’s fierce. Beast is a pleasure to read about and it was great to see his interactions and developing relationship with Sybella too. I was really glad we got to see him in the spotlight in DT!
GRAVE MERCY is still my favorite so far but I really enjoyed DARK TRIUMPH as well! I think I need to re-read these books someday after they’ve sat for a while. I’d love to see how my feelings change or stay the same with a re-read!