Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2)
Summary: When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge – but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.
But her assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for…
Dark Triumph was incredible. I had no idea how it would live up to Grave Mercy, since I enjoyed the first novel so much, but it was even better! Sybella was a complex and likeable heroine who had an entirely different outlook on life than Ismae. I see now how Ismae and the romance in Grave Mercy could be seen as boring, vanilla, or dull. Compared to Sybella and her adventure, it was. So if you are struggling to get through Grave Mercy, keep in mind that Dark Triumph is so much better!
I think my favorite thing about this series is the way it features different characters and points of view while still maintaining one timeline. Dark Triumph began from Sybella’s point of view close to the events that were near the end of Grave Mercy. Ismae still appeared in many scenes throughout the book whenever Sybella’s circumstance took her to various places. The separate points of view helped give me different perspectives on a pretty serious conflict involving the duchess of Brittany and helped show me the bigger picture as well.
Sybella was an amazing character. She was fierce, intelligent, tortured, and deadly. I could not believe the trials she had gone through in her life and the way her family and even the convent treated her. And yet, she prevailed and remained focused on the task at hand. She was kind when she could have easily turned into her father. But perhaps my favorite thing about Sybella was that she was so clearly fit to serve Death in an entirely different way than Ismae. She did not love to kill innocents, but she had a certain glow to her when she killed a deserving foe. She was so fit to be an assassin, while Ismae better served as Death’s mercy. I loved the differences between the two main characters in that regard.
I cannot rave enough about the conflict, adventure, and the characters. I loved the featured characters of Dark Triumph and the tiny bits of what could be romance that bloomed every so often. I was shocked the betrayal of various people, the callousness of some trusted advisors, the brutality of d’Albret, and the creepiness of Sybella’s brother.
I can’t wait to continue the series, but I’m sad to be leaving the point of view of Sybella because I loved her so much. I highly recommend the series and I’m glad I was able to get a digital copy of books 1 and 2 from Netgalley or I might have never picked them up! I have already purchased Mortal Heart and I cannot wait to start.
This is must read for anyone who enjoys historical fantasies, regardless of how they feel about YA in general. This is one of those I was not ashamed to describe to acquaintances. I found myself gushing about it when I was asked what I was reading in a public place.