Thursday, 4 April 2013

Review & Giveaway: Dark Triumph by Robin La Fevers

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2)
Dark Triumph by Robin La Fevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publication date: April 2nd 2013.
My rating: 5 stars

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.

Dark Triumph is a stunning sequel to Grave Mercy.  I had high expectations picking it up and I was not disappointed.  I loved this story just as much if not more than Grave Mercy!

Sybella is one of St. Mortain’s daughter’s and thereby gifted with deadly talents, and skills in the art of killing to carry out his will.  She owes a debt to the convent in service to St. Mortain since they brought her back from the brink of madness, taking her in at fourteen and training her for special assignments.  Sybella never thought she would be forced to go back to the very same household that caused all the terror in her life, but that’s exactly what she’s had to do.  To aid the young duchess of Brittany she is sent as a spy into the d’Albret’s household, one she knows only too well.   For the last year there she’s been there, languishing in hell until she is instructed to move against him.  The only thing that keeps Sybella going is knowing that she’ll be the one to kill d’Albret, and finally bring retribution to this vile man. 

Finally Sybella receives word to take action, but it’s not what she expected.  Instead she’s instructed to save one of the duchesses’ knights being held in d’Albret’s dungeons, the mighty Beast.

While I was thrilled to pick up Dark Triumph, I was also a little nervous.  Knowing it would be Sybella’s story, I knew it would be darker than Grave Mercy, because she was such a tortured character.  I was even more nervous when I found out Sybella was in d’Albret’s house.  I shuddered thinking of what she might be going through, because one thing you found out in Grave Mercy is that d’Albret was a man of twisted and dark depths!  It was heartbreaking to find out the full story of Sybella’s past but her strength and bravery made you love and admire her.  Plus, she was no defenseless creature, and I love that she dealt out some much needed kick-ass!!  

Another hesitation I had was the thought of a romance between Sybella and Beast.  He’s described as a big hulking and ugly character, and to be honest, that didn’t sound very appealing as a potential love interest.  I had nothing to fear because what Beast lacked in looks he made up for with his big heart, and charismatic personality, he’s like a magnet you can’t help but be drawn to.  I loved the slow progression of their relationship and how is lightened Sybella’s soul.  I can’t tell you how much this romance touched and filled my heart! 

While Dark Triumph is an adventure and full of action, I felt there wasn’t as much focus on political drama as there was in Grave Mercy, and I liked that change. I would like to know more about the abbess: her motivations whether they’re good or bad.  I couldn’t stand the woman for most of the story. 

If you’re a fan of Graceling, Fire, or Poison Study, I highly recommend this story and Grave Mercy.  You won’t be disappointed.  Dark Triumph is a story you won’t be able to put down!  I was addicted to the point of sneaking pages in between work when I could! Robin La Fevers’ writing utterly captivated me, and I will be picking up anything she writes in the future.  I can’t wait for Annith’s story!

A copy of this story was provided by the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review.

Now for the good part! I decided to give away my Advanced Readers Copy of Dark Triumph to one lucky reader!  Just fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win. The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Good luck and thanks for stopping by! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway



  1. I shall start this comment with - I still haven't read Grave Mercy. Now I know that I should have but ..okay there is no apology for this. I'm so happy to hear that the sequel didn't disappoint. I'll read Grave Mercy soon. I must. Great review Rachel :)

  2. I haven't read Grave Mercy either. I have only read good things about it, but I have to say Dark Triumph sounds even better. I'm so curious about the love story!
    What a beautiful review, Rachel. Thanks for sharing!

  3. There has been nothing but praise for this installment, Rachel and that makes me so happy! I need to get to my own copy really soon because I can't wait any longer. I was a little wary about it being Sybella's story too, but I'm glad that you ended up admiring her. And the romance sounds just perfect!
    Lovely review, Rachel!

  4. Oh man! Another 5 star review for this one? This is getting crazy! I haven't read Grave Mercy yet either but as I read all of these gushing reviews about this one I have to admit that I am super curious to get started on the series. I'm not a fan of historicals though and I have heard it is quite political so I'm not sure if the series is a good match for me, but we will see (eventually.) I'm definitely happy to see that there was much less political focus on this one because that was something that made me stay away from the first. Fabulous review!

  5. Is it weird that I hear the words "big hulking and ugly character" and I'm instantly on board? I LOVE when the love interests are damaged or ugly or drastically less-than perfect in some way, I just can never get enough of them. I'm already in love with Beast. And yay for a slow progression to their relationship!!!! I need to start this series. I've said that every time I read a review for this book, but dammit, I mean it this time Rachel. For serious.

  6. I was a bit nervour about reading Sybella's story too, and I was right, of course, since she DID end up breaking my heart. This is one of the very few books that totally lived up to my expectations. There aren't many authors I can trust, but LaFevers definitely confirmed that she's one of them-
    Beautiful review, Rachel! :)

  7. I LOVED Grave Mercy a month back and I was blown away-It was very different from other YA books and this was a refreshing change.
    I'm super excited to read Sybella's story so I'm glad to hear that sequel was far from disappointing! :D

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts,Rachel!

  8. I haven't read Grave Mercy but this sounds so AMAZING! I think I'd want to find out what might have traumatized Sybella when she was younger. And Beast seems like a great character that I'd love to meet. Thanks for sharing, Rachel!

  9. Like most of the other commenters, I haven't read Grave Mercy either though I have a copy with me. It is definitely going to be on top of my tbr. Great review, Rachel and thanks for sharing it :) I love the fact that every book in this series is told from a different character.

    1. I have got to get after this series right away. I have seen nothing but high praise for this book. I just need to drop everything and jump in! Brilliant review, Rachel. Thanks for the chance to win as well.

  10. I wasn't a fan of Grave Mercy, but this seems right up my alley and I am eager to give this author another try. I've loved all the other fantasy authors that seem to be similar to this one, so I desperately hope I love this and enter the circle of fans. Lovely review, Rachel! I can't wait to meet Sybella and Beast now! ;)

  11. Am really curious about this series - thanks for sharing! :)

  12. I still haven't read the first, but I am very interested in starting one of these days. The action sounds great, and I loved Poison Study

    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  13. a. I'm not entering your contest because I already have a pretty copy
    b. I'm not reading your review yet because I haven't READ this pretty copy yet

    But c. I am so, so excited to see 5 stars from you! I have been hesitant about starting this because I loved the first book so much and I'm going to miss the original characters, but it's good to see this one is awesome, too. :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  14. I had no idea that GM was going to have a sequel! For some reason I didn't read it last year and now I think I should, the sequel definitely sounds like a good read!

  15. I'm really glad you liked this one, Rachel! I can't wait to meet Beast and get a better sense of Sybella's character. Also really relieved to know that the politics isn't as present in this one. I can't wait to dive in soon. :) Fab review!

  16. I really loved Grave Mercy but I'm not a big fan of series where the spotlight moves to different characters with each book. This has so many great reviews though that I couldn't not pick it up. The politics didn't bother me in GM but I doubt I'll miss them lol. And the romance sounds really good. Great review Rachel :)

  17. Grave Mercy was amazing :D I'm looking forward to read this one.

    Seeing it in Sybella's POV made me more curious.

    Thanks for the great review :D


  18. I'm so happy that Dark Triumph did not disappoint you!! I haven't started this series yet, but have only heard great things! Lovely review and thanks a lot for the giveaway!!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  19. I have the first book, I haven't read it yet but I so want to get the second!! Thank you so much for having this awesome giveaway!! And a chance to win this amazing book!!

  20. I look forward to reading this one so much. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the giveaway opportunity.


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