Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers ★★★★


Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Supernatural
Series: His Fair Assassin #2
Publication Date: 02 April, 2013
ISBN: 9780547628387
Page Count: 385
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey
Synopsis: 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?


REVIEW


Death and duplicity

What do you get if you cross a nun with an assassin? It kind of sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, doesn't it?  Well, in my opinion, what you get is absolutely fantastic historical fiction set in an era rife with conflict, treason and foul play, and a country in turmoil. Add to that compelling mysteries, strong heroines, and beautifully underplayed romances and I'm seriously in my happy reading place with the His Fair Assassin series.

I loved book one, GRAVE MERCY, when I read it last year, so I was super excited for this book since I was already was familiar with the heroine, Sybella, and desperate to find out how she was surviving in such close proximity to the disgusting Lord d'Albret.

He really is sickening as villains go. And although his character is described largely through flashbacks and recollections in this book, he still remains a terrifying and threatening presence throughout, especially for those who also read GRAVE MERCY and are familiar with his ruthlessness. He's the type of man whose very name is enough to make a person quail. I thought the connection between Sybella, D'Albret and our hero, Beast, was very intriguing and also rather sad.

Speaking of Beast—or the Beast of Waroch, to give him his full title—he was an unusual hero, to say the least. Not remotely handsome (other than in the eyes of someone who already loves him, perhaps), but very sweet. He's described as large, scarred, but with a heart-melting smile. I liked him a lot. Especially in how he let Sybella do what needed to be done, and was so patient with her as she worked through her many issues. Their romance was very subtle—perhaps a bit too subtle, actually— but the thing to remember about this series is that it's historical fiction with a romance, rather than a Historical Romance. And yes, there is a difference. A huge one. So, if you're looking for a bodice-ripper, this isn't it. In fact, I believe it's even classed as a YA book, although I disagree on that. If, however, you're looking for a really meaty, plot-dense historical novel with a sweet romance woven in—happy days.

The plot centres around the political maneuvers of many of the same players from book one, and indeed, picks up from the point of the end battle where Beast went down. That's not to say it was all politics, however. There was plenty of action and Sybella had many opportunities to shine. I was surprised to discover Sybella had a lot more to her story than you might have thought, actually. Turns out she's been holding out on everybody about who she is...

There were some very slimy secondary characters and some weird incestuous relationships involved which all got a bit hinky, but it was interesting to read nonetheless. I'm also interested in the developments with regards to the convent and can't wait to see how all that turns out. Perhaps in Annith's book, as she is up next in MORTAL HEART which comes out in 2014.

All in all, although I preferred the romance in book one, this book definitely didn't disappoint and had much more action.

An easy 4 Stars ★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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