Book Review: Dark Triumph

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2)
Published By: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Page Count: 385
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Historical Fiction

Oh this was so good!! If anything, I enjoyed it more than Grave Mercy, which I wasn’t expecting at all! I didn’t warm to Sybella when I read Grave Mercy, and I wasn’t sure if I could put up with her for an entire book, but what do you know? She totally won me over, and in a very short space of time too.
Sybella is one of the handmaidens of St Mortain, the God of Death. She is a weapon, a deadly assassin, wielded by the abbess to help support the Duchess of Brittany in her struggle to remain independent of France, and other threats closer to home, like the loathsome Count d’Albret. He makes for a most horrifying villain. Just when you think he can’t get any more evil, he can. Sybella is dying to stick a knife in him, and I felt much the same. He is also Sybella’s father, and much of the horror of her upbringing, which saw her arrive at the doors of St Mortain near insanity, was crafted by him. Between that father, and two ghastly brothers, Sybella didn’t stand much of a chance.

So it is with disbelief that Sybella is sent back to her childhood home to spy on d’Albret. She teeters on the brink of giving up all hope for some time, until she receives a message to find and deliver a prisoner from the dungeons to the Duchess... a prisoner who is revealed to be the wonderful Benebic of Waroch, known to all as Beast. I absolutely LOVED his character in Grave Mercy, and he was a joy to read. He is in a dreadful state though, and it is up to Sybella to keep him alive. This is where both characters came into their own and built up a fabulous repartee that kept me flipping over the pages. She is spiky and mean, he is full of himself and honest. I particularly loved how each respected the other’s abilities in battle and how they learned to fight together. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!
The romance factor was subtle though, with most of the emphasis being placed on emotional healing from the psychological traumas that Sybella had suffered. She came to understand herself beautifully, and it was extremely uplifting to read that journey. The politics from Grave Mercy were also dialed down, and settled into a comfortable position within the story; there were not too many ideas to keep a hold of, and this simplicity helped keep the pace moving. All in all, I definitely preferred Dark Triumph to Grave Mercy, mainly for the wonderful Sybella character arc but also for the ugly but gentle and full hearted Beast, and I can’t wait for Annith’s story in the third installment  Mortal Heart, which is due out in Spring 2014. So far away!!  

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. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella 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. 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?

This heart-pounding sequel to Grave Mercy serves betrayal, treachery, and danger in equal measure, bringing readers back to fifteenth century Brittany and will keep them on the edge of their seats.


  1. ...Okay, I REALLY need to read this series now! Awesome review!

  2. Thanks for stopping by the Nest and commenting! This is a great series with so much to offer, you should really pick up Grave Mercy soon!


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