Series: His Fair Assassin #2
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on April 2, 2013
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
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When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge - but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.
But her assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father's rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother's love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for...
You can check out my review for Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) HERE.
Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy Dark Triumph like I did Grave Mercy. This second book in the series was close to 200 pages shorter but seemed much longer. To be honest, it was a laborious read for me.
Dark Triumph seamlessly picks up where Grave Mercy ends, but we are now looking through Sybella’s eyes. Sybella is a contemporary of Ismae’s. She is a fellow hand maiden of death and has been trained in the same deadly arts. While both Ismae and Sybella have very dark pasts, Sybella’s is somewhat more twisted and sinister.
The things I enjoyed about this book: The writing is still as beautifully crafted as in the first book. The characters are interesting and unique. I enjoyed the in-depth descriptions of the story world.
The plot in this installment moves along much slower than the first, and it wasn’t as intriguing. Much less historical context is focused on, and I believe the author states this in her notes at the end of the book.
Let me just start with this- Sybella is not the best character to be immersed in for a 400 page book. It was quite disturbing, boring, and frustrating. BUT THIS IS JUST MY OPINION. The same things I found annoying about her might be immensely interesting to other readers. A lot of her inner dialogue was repetitive to the point of SEVERE ANNOYANCE for me. She would be faced with a decision about something or faced with a new experience/feeling, and here we go again with, “No one can love me. I’m damaged goods.” Or, “I’m too dark and demented to love someone,” yada yada yada.
“No. There could never be anything between us… As nice as it was to have someone view me in a flattering light, I was not worthy of his true regard. ” This thought is
a broken recordon repeat throughout the book.
I understand it is an important theme concerning her character, but I just wanted to bitch-slap her by the end of it.
WARNING: The below part of my review is slightly spoiler-ish concerning the sub-plot.
I did enjoy the “Beauty and the Beast” romance to this book. I was actually more drawn to “Beast” the secondary character in this novel than to Sybella. Beast is one of Duval’s comrades from Grave Mercy and he is very entertaining and likable in that “big ugly teddy bear” kind of way. Part of me wished the novel had been written from his POV.
I don’t really have much more to say about this one. I know a lot of people liked this book in the series far better than the first, but I wasn’t one of them. I adored Ismae and Duval in the first book and was disappointed when I saw that the next book would not be continued from their POVs. But I totally understand how the author wanted to expand on the wonderful secondary characters she had created. I can’t wait to read Mortal Heart (hopefully soon). I hope I like it as much as Grave Mercy or even more. Have you read this trilogy? Which book was your favorite?