Robin LaFevers Dark Triumph is just that – a triumph in a trilogy that is shaping up to be truly excellent.
Book Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Title & Author: Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin Trilogy) by Robin LaFevers
Genre: YA Fantasy – Historical
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Series: His Fair Assassin #2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
How I Got the Book: Bought
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?”
Fantastic Sequel to Grave Mercy
Beside being an excellent sequel in the His Fair Assassin trilogy, Dark Triumph does what a lot of second books don’t do well – have a plot. So many sequels fail miserably in having a point and not just being a filler for the final book.
Have you experienced that? Sophomore slumps are the worst.
On to Dark Triumph…What made this book so great is that it was told from Sybella’s perspective. She was a friend of Ismae in the first book in the series, Grave Mercy, and this story is hers to tell.
To me, that instantly added a feeling of freshness and newness to the historical fantasy world where Death has handmaidens of doom. Sybella is sent from the convent to face her dark past, one that she’d rather bury and never face again.
Sybella is tough and worldly where Ismae was soft and naive. I liked the change in tone from one girl to the next, as each has a very strong voice and original experiences.
One thing I wasn’t exactly prepared for was the heaviness of Sybella’s past. She has faced some ROUGH things, and I was surprised the story went in that direction. I think it only added to the depth the novel already has (we are talking about young girls raised to kill those marked by death…), and it contributed toward Sybella’s authentic personality.
Death at Your Doorstep
The concept behind the whole series sets itself apart from most YA books. Where some series play at being dark and brooding, Dark Triumph actually delivers.
There isn’t any of this “oh, I’m a demon but I’ve got a conscious” business. His Fair Assassin books have straight up brutal killings, epic battles and war rage. Beat that, zombies.
While some of the content is definitely hardcore, it’s balanced nicely with themes of forgiveness and faith. Dark Triumph does a great job of balancing hard and soft.
If you somehow missed Grave Mercy, get that, read it, then buy this book. This series sequel is a rich historical fantasy told from a girl who’s vulnerable, resilient and ready for battle. Dark Triumph serves to satisfy those who loved Grave Mercy and prepare them for the upcoming series conclusion.