I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #2
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children on April 2nd 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance
Source: the Publisher
Also by this author: Grave Mercy, Mortal Heart
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?
His Fair Assassin series
’The abbess and I had a different sort of relationship. One built on mutual dislike and distrust, brought together only by our shared needs: mine for a sanctuary, hers for a finely honed weapon she could let loose as Mortain willed. I trust her as much as I do a viper.’
It seems as if each hand maiden of death has her own story to tell and in Dark Triumph we get to experience Lady Sybella’s. And hers is quite grim and desolate. Sybella manages to escape from the frightening place she was forced to call home for most of her life and finds herself at the convent; a place where she finally feels at peace.
‘As Death’s handmaiden, I must be in place so I may strike when the time comes.’
Her peace is short-lived, however, as the abbess instructs her that Mortain wishes her to return to her father so that she can be in a prime position in d’Albret’s household to gain priceless information in order to aid the abbess. The horrors she endured in that household does not make it an easy order to accept.
Sybella is much more ‘rough around the edges’ in comparison to Ismae but her story was still just as riveting. Much of the story is spent with Sybella trying to come to terms with her upbringing and clinging desperately to the fact that d’Albert is not her true father and that she is nothing like him.
’Do I enjoy killing? Is it the act itself that brings me joy? Or do I embrace the sense of higher purpose it gives me?’
At its center, Dark Triumph is a story of faith and belief. Faith and belief that Sybella is nothing like her loathsome father and that Mortain is her true father. Faith and belief that the men she has killed that did not bear a marque still deserved their deaths and that it isn’t a sin against Mortain. She struggles consistently with these thoughts and it sets the tone for the entire story.
Much like Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph does include a romance but it’s perfectly balanced so as to not overpower the story in any way. The Beast of Waroch: the perfectly imperfect love interest is the perfect love interest for Sybella. He’s the one that could ever come closest to being able to truly understand her and loving her for who she undoubtedly is.
Agonizingly heartbreaking, Sybella has lived through so much pain and misery in such a short time. It may be easy to commiserate with her, however, it’s even easier to praise her for her strength and ability to endure. Sybella is a true survivor, an inspiration, and an unbelievably strong character that you won’t likely forget.