Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Source: Netgalley* 385 pages
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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?
First introduced to this world in Grave Mercy, we’re back with vengeance in Dark Triumph and it’s even fiercer than before.
Oh, Robin LaFevers! She is the epitome of everything amazing when it comes to writing brilliant high fantasy, historical fiction because I am once again tripping with love over another book from her. She just brings everything to life from the politics, to the weapons, to the language, and to the emotions all swirled into this lengthy but can never really get enough novel. Everything I could want in a book, is in this book. It’s got action, romance, adventure, friendship, love, and loss; so much variation plot wise. It doesn’t overwhelm, but it enhances everything ten fold.
Let’s take Sybella for instance. We only get her on the surface in Grave Mercy and we don’t feel the depth of her fragile mentality and her compassionate nature until Dark Triumph. This young assassin had so much love to give, but Sweet Jesu was she broken in more ways than one. The fact that she felt death was the answer for her tore me up inside. Her unwavering loyalty, nobility and care she had for the duchess, Ismae, and her younger sisters clawed at my heart and made me ache and look up to Sybella. The girl I thought she was in Grave Mercy was not that girl at all, but someone with so much heart and life and strength. I absolutely loved her snark, her attitude and her cunning attitude. The girl knew how to play the game and she played it well; deceiving and manipulating with ease, nearly leaving me breathless with amazement. Her way of killing was calculated and her rebellious defiant nature gave her more personality. The accurate way she wielded a knife was simply impressive. Sybella was wild, clever, and the definition of beautiful but deadly.
And the romance. Oh, what sweet and lovely romance it was! It was developed nicely and had me sighing with contentment. Beast and Sybella were just what the other needed, completing each other like no one else could. Ferocious as Beast was during his battle lust, it is parried by his honor, his gentleness, and his kind heart. He saw the good in Sybella despite all the wrong doings she may have done and he managed to break down the walls she had built and slayed her damaged heart when not even she thought she could not be tamed.
Dark Triumph was not heavily driven by the court politics or the impending the war. It was there, prominent within the novel, but never the forefront. For me, it was all about Sybella’s story, her life, and her desperate need for vengeance and justice. LaFevers balances this all out perfectly because there was an immense amount of action. The fight or killing scenes were to die for and completely written with great care, vividness and imagery there was no way I wasn't able to visualize everything. Even better was the insurmountable anticipation I felt all because of the imminent danger throughout the novel. My heart was racing and my fear for Sybella was always present and it left me emotionally drained in the best possible way. LaFevers brought out the very best in this book and I swear, I love it more than I already do.
*Thanks to Houghton Mifflin for sending a copy for review