Google+ Reading Teen: DARK TRIUMPH by Robin LaFevers

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

DARK TRIUMPH by Robin LaFevers

Dark Triumph
His Fair Assassin #2
by Robin LaFevers
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (April 2, 2013)
Language: English
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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?
If you haven't read GRAVE MERCY, check out my review here.  Also, just an FYI, Dark Triumph begins about 5 chapters before the end of Grave Mercy, overlapping from Sybella's point of view.  I'd suggest re-reading the last 5-10 chapters of GM just as a refresher, which I ended up doing.

At a Glance:

Dark Triumph, the sequel/companion to Grave Mercy, is one of the few books that actually lives up to its predecessor.  Every moment is filled with emotion, and every page leaves you aching to read further.  Sybella's plight is full of tension, with moments of despair, moments of suspense, and moments of triumph.   Dark Triumph is heartbreaking and beautiful, and is easily one of my favorite books of the year.


I like everything about the cover, except for the model's face.  Is it just me, or does she look about 30?  But I'm glad they showed her with her knives.

Intense Action:

While Grave Mercy focused a lot on politics and world-building, Dark Triumph focused on action.  And a lot of it.  There were many fighting scenes, and Sybella is both ruthless and cunning.  I absolutely loved that she was the one rescuing the damsel knight-in-distress.  There were moments that required stealth and moments that were all-out battles, and LaFevers is a master at writing both.  My heart was racing, my jaw was clenched, and I went chapters without taking a breath.

An "Ugly" Romance:

I have never in my life read a book where the love interest is repeatedly described as ugly, or ogreish.  I thought I might have an issue with this, but I absolutely fell in love with the Beast of Waroch, and so, of course, did Demoiselle Sybella.  The building romance between them was so endearing that it hurt!  While it didn't quite have the same tension and build that Ismae and Duval's romance did, it was gratifying in a completely different way.

Heroine of Death:

Like Ismae, Sybella is a daughter of Mortain, the god of Death.  While Ismae often dreaded her role as handmaiden of Death, Sybella revels in it.  She loves her job, and loves that she's good at it.  That doesn't mean she doesn't struggle with it at times.  And that's not the only thing she struggles with.  Sybella has had a horrible life.  She has been terrorized by her father, and others in her family, her entire life, and it has wreaked havoc on her emotionally.  I love the way that she faces her fears head-on, always fighting for those she loves, and those who are weak.  She's a fantastic character, and her growth throughout the book is fantastic, and the way bits of her life are revealed as the book goes on, adds so much intensity and emotion to the story.

An Atrocious Villain:

I'm not quite sure I've ever hated a villain or a father as much as I hated Sybella's father.  He is a monster.  A sick, sadistic, psycho.  I wanted terrible, terrible things to happen to him.  This just shows me how fantastic LaFevers is at writing, to make me feel ALL THE THINGS.


Like Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph had it's own story arc and wrapped up well, while leaving the larger story open for the next book, and the next Assassin.  The next book is about Annith, and I can NOT wait!!

Will I buy/keep it?

YES!  I will buy it, and probably try to get my hands on the audio as well!

Book Doppelgangers:

The Seven Kingdoms Series (Graceling/Fire/Bitterblue) by Kristin Cashore, The Seven Realms Series (The Demon King etc) by Cinda Williams-Chima, Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Reading Progress

03/12page 400
100.0%"So fantastically good!!"
03/12page 334
03/12page 285
71.0%""I am likely one of the few maids who has not run from your ugly face.""
03/11page 282
70.0%""In the distance a wolf howls. Let it come, I think. Beast will most likely simply howl back, and the creature will either turn tail and run or fall into line behind him, like the rest of us have.""
03/11page 276
69.0%""Sleep now, else I will have to clout you again.""
03/11page 260
65.0%"I feel kind of wrong saying this, but OMG I WANT TO PUNCH THE REVEREND MOTHER IN THE TEETH!"
03/09page 193
48.0%"I didn't realize before I started this that it would be the same timeline, retold by Sybella. This makes me want to go back to Grave Mercy and match everything up."
03/09page 180
45.0%"Ismae & Duval!! :)"
03/09page 176
44.0%"This book is fierce!"
03/08page 123
30.0%"I love Beast!"
03/08page 98

03/08page 32
8.0%"I'm pretty sure I haven't breathed during the first 3 chapters."
03/08page 1
0.0%"SOOO excited to start this!!"


  • Sexual Content:  Heavy
  • Profanity: Minor
  • Violence: Heavy
  • Other Notables: Assassin Nuns sent by the god of Death to kill people. Religious tones.

This book has similar content to the first book, Grave Mercy.  Find out more here.


  1. Awesome review. I loved Grave Mercy. Can't wait to read this too.

  2. I hadn't really read much historical fiction before Grave Mercy, but I really enjoyed it and I can't wait to read this one. I love how you describe the romance too. I am really interested in reading that. It's not often that the love interest isn't insanely attractive and charming. Fab review!!

    1. Thanks, Amy! The romance really intrigued me. It was so hard for me to actually picture what Beast really looked like. I mean, he didn't seem gross, but I can't even really think of someone who is just ALL ugly (that isn't just gross). Hmmm....I'd love to see who would be cast in this role if it were a movie.

  3. oooh this sounds so good! I am so excited - I LOVED Grave Mercy. Great tip about re-reading the last few chapters. I will definitely do that.

    1. Awesome! I hope you love it as much as I did!


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