Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Monday, August 3, 2015

His Fair Assassin #2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Pages: 385

Summary (from the back of the book):

I lean forward, pushing my body out past the battlements. The wind plucks at my cloak, buffets against me, as if it would carry me off in flight, just like the birds or the knight's soul. Let go, it cries. I will take you far, far away. I want to laugh at the exhilarating feeling. I will catch you, it whistles deductively.

The convent has returned Sybella to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father's rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother's love is equally monstrous. 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?

When I first started this book, I felt like I was going to be disappointed that it wasn't about Ismae and Duval. I shouldn't have worried though because I found this to be just as good as the first one and I loved reading about Sybella just as much as Ismae!

Three years ago, when Sybella first came to the convent of St. Mortain, she had just escaped her family who had driven her half mad. The convent took her in and trained her alongside Ismae and Annith in all manner of assassin techniques. When she is finally ready for assignments, where does that complete witch of an abbess send her? Right back into the evil clutches of her family she had finally escaped. Back to her father who is none other than the vile d'Albret who cares for no one but himself and her brother, Julian, who cares for her in a way that brothers shouldn't care for their sisters. So basically, I was concerned for Sybella's well being during this whole book. She doesn't especially seem to value her own life.

The only reason that Sybella can hold out so long with d'Albret is because the abbess has promised that she would be able to kill him. But no matter what horrible, treacherous things he does, he never gets marqued for death! Frustrated, she waits for a message from the abbess. When it finally comes, it's not an order to kill d'Albret, but to free the Beast of Waroch from her father's dungeon and send him to aid the duchess. He is a big dude and seriously injured, but she manages to get him out by bringing out his battle fever and he knocks her out and when she comes to, she is also on her way to the duchess. She thinks she is finally free of d'Albret.

Sybella is a great character. She has had an incredibly rough life. The book focuses a lot on her dark past and how she is trying to move on from it. She questions the existence of her god on many occasions, positive he can't be real if a man like d'Albret is not marqued. She is selfless. She enjoys killing those who deserve it and does everything she can to help protect those who cannot help themselves. She is a good person.

Beast is also wonderful. In the first book you see how very loyal he is to the duchess and his friend Duval. He is described as being incredibly ugly, but on the inside he is so far from ugly. He is kind, caring, gentle. On the way to meet the duchess, he goes out of his way to save every innocent person he finds to be in trouble. He is a killing machine and will be the first to put his life on the line in a battle. Especially if he is asking the same from others. He seems to have no care at all for his own life when his battle fever comes over him. He is just a good person.

Jamette.. I hated her. She is a rat and uses Sybella's secrets against her to gain favor with d'Albret. In the end, the only reason she tried to help Sybella was for her own sake. She couldn't bear what was going to happen to someone she loved if Sybella couldn't help them. Witch.

The only other character I feel the need to say anything about is the abbess. And this will mostly be a rant and a theory for the next book. Why is she so awful!? Sybella FINALLY gets away from d'Albret when she makes her way to the convent just for that witch to send her back to gather information! What information do you need? He's awful and there isn't a single thing he can do to redeem himself, just have to kill him, marque or no, and be done with it! And then she gets out of there again when she leaves with Beast and when they make their way to Rennes, the abbess is there and tells her that she needs to go back there AGAIN?!? That is so obviously a death sentence because obviously she's the one who freed the prized prisoner as they went missing at the same time!! And the she black nails her saying if she doesn't go she'll either send Ismae or Annith?!? In the first book, I thought the abbess was just a witch to Ismae because she saw Mortain and tried to tell her stuff about his will and the abbess was jealous and not about to take advice on the subject from a novice. She's shady man. I don't think that she's out to do Mortain's will at all. I think she's just out to get vengeance on her own will. I have a theory that since both Ismae and Sybella have seen Mortain now, Annith obviously will next and I think the three traits that they have (Ismae = mercy, Sybella = justice, and whatever Annith will be) will be what Mortain's will really is and I think they will somehow take over the convent and teach of Mortain's goodness and not just his vengeance. That makes it sound like death is only a punishment! Okay.. Rant over.

The romance in this book felt a bit fast. They only knew each other a few days. But I really liked it. They're perfect for each other. Sybella needs someone kind and gentle after all the horrors she's been through at the hands of the men in her life. Beast is just the man for the job! He's so full of love and can look past the darkness about her and love her the way she needs to be loved!

Other than the escape from d'Albret and the journey across the country, not a whole lot happened plot wise. But it was still an excellent story and I cannot wait for the last part of it from Annith! This series is so excellent and I just love the little history lesson you get with them! 


  1. I enjoyed this one! Not quite as much as I'd enjoyed Grave Mercy, but still. Beast is one of my favorite characters of the series! I hope you loooove Mortal Heart :D

    Fantastic review, Cyra!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. Beast is great! I love him too! I am really enjoying Mortal Heart so far, but I think that Annith is my least favorite of the three main characters.

  2. I love Dark Triumph! As much as I enjoyed reading about Ismae and Duval, Sybella and Beast are my favorite. I like each of them separately, as well as together. I hope you enjoy Mortal Heart. I like your theory, by the way. ;)

    1. I'm having a hard time deciding who I liked reading about more! Ugh! I think I liked the first book the best, but I really like Sybella's story! I love her!


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