[491]: Dark Triumph by Rachel LaFevers

DSC_0911GOODREADS SUMMARY | Houghton Mifflin Books | Hardcover, 385 pp. | April 2nd, 2013 | Young Adult | Fantasy | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Sybella once escaped the clutches of her evil family. It was what drove her into the sanctuary of St. Mortain’s nuns in the first place. But an assignment would lead her back into her nightmare and will have Β her spying on the congregation’s behalf. With one close call after another, Sybella would come close to achieving what the abbess had long since promised: her father’s death in her own hands.

Tasked with freeing one of the duchess’ imprisoned knights, Sybella’s innate talent for killing would be tested many times over as she frees the severely wounded and tortured soldier back into the safety of his kingdom. Along the way, the knight and Sybella would rally a rebellion to free their people from the ruthless ruling of her family.

Robin LaFevers’ follow up to her His Fair Assassin series takes on a darker route. Much of them involving Sybella’s past and the predicament she found herself in. You have allusions of incest and child abuse; murders and torture. All of them occurring in and around Sybella’s family. In this book, we find out more about Mortain’s influence in his maidens; and what the mark of death is really about. Grave Mercy showed us that the nuns has the liberty to kill those that bore His mark. Conversely, the readers will find out that the power of Mortain enables the maidens to practice discretion when it comes to those they kill, regardless whether or not their victims are marked.

This book also features a very subtle, and slow-building romance. It is based on mutual respect and awe. Beast is an unlikely romantic interest, but he’s a hero, nonetheless. His intensity rivals that of Sybella, which makes them a perfect pairing in my eyes.

It’s been two years since I read Grave Mercy.Β My memories of reading it has been pretty limited to my awestruck wonders in relation to assassin nuns. Also, Duval. The rest is a blank space. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to follow the story, but I was glad that Robin has sewn such a seamless connection between two books. This was not an easy read, nor was it fun. But Robin LaFevers is a tailor of a compelling series that sweeps readers into a time when region and regency goes hand in hand in the politics of a nation.

It is business as usual for Robin LaFevers; this book did not suffer the blah of the second-book-syndrome. If anything, she’s given us a story of a more mature nature, more intense, darker and more candid. I can only look forward to Mortal Heart from this point.

  • I have been wondering whether I should or should not start this series. I have seen a lot of mixed reviews for this one so I am glad to see one lingering on the positive side! I will say that a slow building romance is great for me, I love those the most!

  • Yes yes yes! And yay! I’m so glad you liked this, Joy! Sybella’s story is my favorite of the series, though, like you, I don’t remember Grave Mercy too well… πŸ™‚

    • It’s almost a stand alone, with the characters working towards a single goal. Which is great, because who has the time to re-read previous books in a series?

  • I am so glad to hear that this series continues to get better! I absolutely adored the slow burning romance in the first book, so I’m glad it’s present in this too. Sybella was always such an intriguing character in Grave Mercy, I’m glad we get to explore her past, however dark it may be. Not really keen to learn about the awful things happening within her family though, but I love how dark it gets. So glad you enjoyed it! Off to the bookstore for me! πŸ˜›

    • Have you read Mortal Heart? I’m a little worried that it won’t live up to the first two books. Eeeeeep.

  • Yay, I’m so glad you liked this one! Mortal Heart is probably my favorite (the less than stellar reviews for it actually surprise me but to each his own) I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of it!

    • Oh. That’s good to know, Alise. Because I’m actually worried about those less than stellar reviews! I’m glad to hear it was your fave!

  • This is my favorite of the trilogy, actually, and I think the darker undertones and tighter romance really works well together. So glad you enjoyed this and I’m curious to see what you’ll make of Mortal Heart!

    • I’m a little wary of Mortal Heart. I hear it’s a bit of a disappointment. I still want to finally finish this series off, though.

  • This is definitely darker than Grave Mercy but I enjoyed it more. I did cringe for Sybella being thrown into that horrible household again! It made my stomach turn. I was skeptical of Beast as the love interest, but I fell hard for him. I still need to read the last one. Lovely review, Joy! πŸ™‚

    • We all love the broken, scarred heroes. πŸ™‚

  • I completely agree with you. I think I may have enjoyed this second book even more than the first – and I agree that it was a bit darker as well. Can’t wait to read the final book!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    • I’m wary of the third book, though. I’ve been seeing some not-so-favourable feedbacks.

  • I could not make it through book 1 :/

    • Aw boo. Oh well. It’s not for everyone to love, I guess. πŸ™‚

  • I am honestly glad you enjoyed Dark Triumph, J. I didn’t have as much luckwith this series so I gave up :)Lovely review!

    • Thanks, K. Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy these books as much. πŸ™

  • I want to read this series bad, if only I can find the time! I’m so caught up with arcs it’s irritating really. I’m like an addict!!

    This series is over though right?

  • Assassin nuns, you say? It definitely sounds good! I know that many readers enjoy this series. I think that I also have the 1st book, but I still haven’t read it. Glad the 2nd book was enjoyable too. πŸ™‚

  • Almost all the reviews I’ve read for this one have been glowing, and I couldn’t be more excited to give this series a try! I love when a second book doesn’t suffer any middle book syndrome at all and ends up even stronger than the first. And I can’t wait to meet Beast, I know I’m going to adore him!

    • Absolutely! Beast is one of the best thing about this book. πŸ™‚

  • Yay! I’m so happy you liked this one. This definitely is my favorite of the series especially because I loved Beast and Sybella and their romance was so perfect. R.L LaFevers is definitely one talented lady. I need her to write more historical YA books! πŸ™‚
    Lovely review, Joy! I hope you love Mortal Heart too!

    • I’m worried about the third book now, since everyone is saying it’s the weakest of the three. πŸ™

  • Yesss. <3 Amazing review Joy πŸ˜€ I'm so so happy you ended up liking this book a lot. <3 I loved it. Sigh. And I loved Mortal Heart too πŸ˜€ Cannot wait to hear your thoughts on that one. <3 I adored the romance in this, hih, Beast was pretty awesome πŸ˜‰ Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

  • Sam

    I desperately want to read this series! I mean, assassin nuns? I’m in! I’m so glad you liked it, and I think I’ll put Book 1 (Grave Mercy?) on hold at the library.

  • You know . . . I was like the one person who wasn’t nuts about His Fair Assassin. I kept feeling like I should really like it, but it felt over-long, and I was kind of bored. Still I liked it enough to pre-order both this book and book 3 . . . just not enough to actually read them, LOL. BUT I just reread Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (which I had similar feelings about while reading), and I absolutely loved it, and I’m thinking I might have been suffering from a book hangover or something. I really need to reread it.

    • The first one was certainly long. But I really think that Dark Triumph will distance itself from the series because Sybella was such a different character.

  • I loved this second addition to the series. So much darker than the first. In fact, this might be my favorite of the three.
    Great review!

    • Thanks, Ali. It certainly was darker. πŸ™‚

  • Oh wow, this sounds absolutely amazing! I haven’t read the first book, but I definitely have to. This sounds like it is right up my alley. Fantastic review Joy! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Catherine. I can never get enough of kick ass female protagonists, so yeah. These books are just close to perfection. πŸ™‚

  • That sounds like a great book. I haven’t read the first one yet though. πŸ™‚

    • Give them a go! I wonder if it’s still READ NOW on Net Galley…

  • Ooo assassin nuns. But it wasn’t fun to read does cool my jets. I have Grave Mercy and haven’t read it because it seemed more historical fiction then anything. I may still get to reading it since several people I know love these. Plus I like subtle romance that is built well.

    • Oh what?! You’ll love these books, Tabitha! You like swords and fighting and assassins and stuff. You must read these!

  • It’s great that this second book is up to the first one. I hear great things about this series but I haven’t tried it yet, I need to, I know that. Great review!

    • Thanks, Melliane. I’m sure it would be right up your alley. πŸ™‚