Give me magic, gadgets, monsters, zombies, everything that seems impossible, and throw in some tough chicks with swords. That's the stuff.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Dark Triumph

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by R.L. LaFevers

Potential spoilers, especially if you have not read book 1. I'm actually not going to go into a lot of detail on plot as I don't want to ruin anything for you. If you liked Grave Mercy, you should LOVE this. If you wanted more action, you will be very happy.

I enjoyed book 1 of this series very much: fascinating medieval world, intriguing mythology, assassin nuns who are the daughters of death, tender romance, great action. Book 2, Dark Triumph, contains all of the elements I enjoyed the first go round, but is a more gripping, engaging and personal read than the first one. Also, it stars Sybella. I knew from her first crazed, violent and at the same time heartbreaking entrance in book 1 that she was a character to watch. When I learned that she would be the narrator for Book 2, I was ecstatic. The Beast, Baron de Waroch, is also a favorite from book 1. The two of them together is magic.

The stakes were raised right at the start and never let up. Book 1 was a lot of political maneuvering. We have some of that here, but it comes from the POV of a character who has lived almost all of her life in a dangerous court, betrayed by almost everyone around her. It brought a heightened sense of urgency and increased the horror of life under the villainous Count d'Albret. She was easy to root for, taking her pain and transforming herself into an assassin who wants to use her talents to dole out justice, even if she feels conflicted. Sybella's emotions and reactions felt natural and believable. There is also a lot of action as Sybella and Waroch try to aid the young Duchess who is still besieged on many fronts. With Sybella I feel like we really get to see what an assassin from the convent of St. Mortain can do.The whole narrative kept going at a quick pace and I did not want to put it down.

The overall story arc continues and we get to see some familiar faces.

This is an older YA book, technically, I guess. However, although the main character is in her late teens, this is not an angsty, "does he love me" book. There are no triangles, and this does not feel like Medieval High School. There are some dark themes here. Not that I think teens can't handle it, but that it is a lot closer to what you would expect in an adult book.

For that matter, it is also recommended to adults who enjoy historical fantasy with some romance.

With this very solid entry in the trilogy, I can't wait for the third book.

Dark Triumph will be out April 2, 2013.

[received a review copy from Amazon Vine]

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