by Robin LaFevers
To be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
on April 2, 2013
Source: e-ARC via NetGalley from the publisher for possible review. See my full FTC disclosure on right sidebar.
Buzzwords: assassins, nuns, Anne of Brittany, historical romance
Connect with the author: website : Twitter : Facebook.
Summary (adapted from Goodreads:) 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. 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?
My take: I love historical fiction. And I really enjoyed the companion book to this one, Grave Mercy. You can read my review of that here. But here's what I loved about Dark Triumph. It doesn't matter if you've read Grave Mercy or not, or if you liked Grave Mercy or not, or even if you love historical fiction or not. While the two books are separate parts of a larger story, they are really completely different in structure and tone.
I loved Grave Mercy, but can see that it might appeal more to the diehard fan of historical fiction. Grave Mercy spent much more time on set-up and scene-setting, and on the assassins' training. The romance is (as I said in my review) of the very slow-burn variety.
Dark Triumph jumps right into action, just giving you the historical information you need to know to understand the story. Assassin nun Sybella has been sent to live in the home of d'Albret, a noble who is eager to wed young Anne of Brittany and gain control over her father's extensive holdings. Sybella knows d'Albret to be a cruel and evil man, and is desperately hoping that she will see the "marque" on him, a sign from St. Mortain, god of Death, that Sybella can kill him.
When Sybella receives instructions from the convent that she must rescue a prisoner in d'Albret's dungeon, the book becomes a nail-biting tale of suspense, filled with fight scenes and action. This is interwoven with the Sybella's story -- the slow revelation of the sad family situation that drove her to seek refuge in the convent.
Dark Triumph is an intensely emotional book, the story of Sybella's traumatic past. I usually don't read reviews before writing my own, but I broke my rule this time and did see that a few reviewers complained about insta-love in this story. I disagree. Yes, Sybella becomes obsessed with the mysterious prisoner who has survived so much. Her desire to keep him alive feels very personal; it seems that by saving him she feels that she can also save herself.
But it seems that every possible obstacle -- both literal and emotional -- stand between Sybella and "the Beast" ever coming together. Dark Triumph weaves a well-known Breton fairy tale into this story in a way that made me SO happy. Well done!
I highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and historical romance, as well as anyone who likes books with lots of action and emotion. I'd also recommend it to fans of fantasy like Game of Thrones -- this book takes place in 1487, right after the War of the Roses, which reportedly was a major inspiration for Game of Thrones. Not only does Dark Triumph have a similarly dark and suspenseful feel, it gives you a glimpse into a real-life game of thrones.
I love a good slow burn. Lol. Yes, I can't wait to read this one. I loved Grave MercyReplyDelete
Then you will love this one!Delete
I do love a slow burn and I am so intrigued by this premise. I swear Grave Mercy will be read this year! It's nice when you don't have to read the first book. I didn't realize this was a companion.ReplyDelete
I'm glad I read them both but I love the companion book trend overall.Delete
WAIT. I totally loved Grave Mercy and I'm so excited for this book, but I didn't know about the fairytale! OH MY. That makes it even better!! :D I'm fascinated by Sybella and I can't wait to finally see her story.ReplyDelete
Can't wait to discuss the fairy tale aspect with you!Delete
I never finished Grave Mercy. I was really into it for a few pages especially when the one girl was talking about a potion to shrink a guys member! LOL But then I just lost interest as I am not a big historical fiction fan. Maybe I'll try this one and I'll like it better.ReplyDelete
This one is very different so I'd definitely give it a try! It was fantastic!Delete
I'm really looking forward to this. Only a few more days until its released hooray!! Great review btw.ReplyDelete
It is SO worth the wait!Delete
oh shoot I didn't realize that this was a book companion to Grave Mercy. I have not read Grave Mercy yet, but it's been on sale and I have considered picking it up for my kindle. The assassins in this plot really interest me. Great review, this one sounds just as good as well. Love that it throws you straight into action.ReplyDelete
Both books are really excellent!Delete
Did people say there was insta-love? I didn't think it was insta-love at all. In fact I think it was a very slow build which I really enjoyed. It made me believe in their HEA so much more. I did mention that I thought the word *love* itself was used a little prematurely but the relationship was one of the best ones I've read in YA.ReplyDelete
The two books do work well together but you're right - they are completely different in tone.
I loved their relationship. She's very standoffish and he's so patient!Delete
Freaking sweet! I'm so excited to read this book. Diving right back into action sounds good to me!ReplyDelete
It's SO good!!Delete
Ohh I am super excited for this book. I really enjoyed Grave Mercy even though I am not typically a fan of historical. I have been wanting to read this one since finishing that one. Great review hon! You have made me more excited!ReplyDelete
I think you will love this one. A very emotional read!Delete
I never did read Grave Mercy because I wasn't sure about the content after reading some reviews. You could probably tell me if that is true or not. This one sounds fabulous though! Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales, so I'm really curious how she works that in to this story. I will definitely be reading this one!ReplyDelete
Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings
There is definitely a Beauty and the Beast vibe but also another fairy tale is woven in. As for content, there is definitely death and violence, along with some darker themes of abuse. Some non-explicit bedroom stuff. But his is one of my favorites of the year so far!Delete
I can't wait to read this! I never thought Beast would be coming back, and after what you said, I'm now very curious about the romance. :) And even more action scenes? Count me in!ReplyDelete
It was SO good!Delete
My review posts Tuesday and gah I loved this book so much. Grave Mercy was my #1 ya book for 2012 and LaFevers out did herself..I gave this a rating I have never done before..because its in a class of it's own. Lovely review ;)ReplyDelete
This one definitely goes on the keeper shelf!Delete
Excellent review! I don't think this was instalove at all...yes, the interest is there, but it isn't all like OMG I loooooovvve you right off the bat, and it was based on actual chemistry and admiration of character, not "hotness."ReplyDelete
I completely agree!!Delete
I. Cannot. Wait. YES!!!ReplyDelete
I liked GRAVE MERCY, but I didn't love it - some of that was all the background/set up at the beginning. So I'm glad that this one is structured differently and that you think that this can be loved on it's own. I've known already that this one was going to be tougher emotionally, but I'm really excited to get my hands on it. Thanks for the review!ReplyDelete
OMG THE BEAST THE BEAST THE BEAST. I am freaking out waiting for audible to GET ON THIS. I am completely DYING to read this one.ReplyDelete
I'm so excited for this book. It sounds amazing :)ReplyDelete
The romance was really easy for me because I loved Beast in GM so why wouldn't Sybella also love him? I do think reading GM is necessary for reading this book though I'm interested to hear the thoughts of someone who does dive in to DT without GM's background.ReplyDelete
No, I didn't see insta-love in this one at all! i'm definitely NOT a fan of that mechanism so I'd know it if I saw it.:)ReplyDelete
LOVE Beast and the romance with Sybella. LOVED. IT. And I like what you said about this being lighter on hist. fiction side than GM. This book felt like it centered more on Sybella's story than the political plot. I preferred this book to GM for many reasons, and that was definitely one of them:)
Great review, Jen:)
FYI: I'm emailing you with a question about this in a bit:)