ARC Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Posted March 28th, 2013 in book review / 18 comments

Dark Triumph

His Fair Assassin Series, #2

by Robin LaFevers

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (April 2, 2013)
Genre: YA, Historical, Fantasy
Format: eBook (400 pages)
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★★ ★ (6 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.

At A Glance
I. DIE. I think I died and gone to heaven. Dark Triumph was so awesomesaucy that I had to give it an extra star. Six Stars, Baby! I am speechless by this book’s perfection.

The Good
I want to eat this book. I want to consume it so that it will always be with me. I want to touch it and sniff it and lick it. I want to do nasty things with it. I want to take care of it. I want to spend every minute with it. Dark Triumph…Will you marry me?

I loved Grave Mercy, the first book of the series. It was more focused on the politics, which I liked but it could get tedious a times. But Dark Triumph (which starts out right after Grave Mercy ends) is a whole other story. This one focuses more on Sybella, her family and past, on action, and on romance. It was the perfect combination. I think many of us who read Grave Mercy were dying to know more about the tortured Sybella. Well, Robin does not hold back on the details of Sybella’s past. And it is horrific. How the convent can send her back to her abusive and malicious father and “to close for comfort” loving brother is beyond me. We knew something was fishy with the convent and the Reverend Mother from Grave Mercy, but we see an even more nefarious Reverend Mother this time around. OMG, I hate her so much.

Sybella was simply amazing in this book. All her darkness and sadness finally made sense as we learned more about her. She is still brave as frick and doesn’t take anyone’s crap. She goes after her revenge with gusto but is always held back by the convent. But she is a fighter. She does so much for the people she cares about. Sybella struggles with her dark past and ever wavering faith in Dark Triumph. I know I would if I was in her position. She has few allies and many enemies, but she makes it seem easy to survive in such a cruel world. I loved watching her practice in all areas of fighting. She is great at stealth, is precise with her knives, and can even handle herself in an all out battle. The situations she gets in are terrifying, but she goes into each one with confidence and relishes every minute of it.

Beast of Waroch was the second best part of this book, Sybella being the first of course. We met him in Grave Mercy, but he came alive in this book. I loved watching him struggle with being taken care of by Sybella while sporting his grave injuries from the last book. But the best part of Beast’s presence in this book was Sybella’s constant reference to his looks. He may be a beast in battle, but he is also a beast in appearance. Sybella often referred to him as ugly and orgish, but not in a mean way, she just states simple fact. But the more she references his looks, the more we catch on to her growing feelings for him. And who can blame her? He is so charming…in his own way, and capable. You can only feel safe with him, even in his injured state. He doesn’t let anything keep him down, not even near death. Sybella and Beast are so endearing together it was almost unbearably cute. Then when they fought together in battle, they came alive. They both live for the fight, and it makes them shine.

And let me just say, if you love Curran from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews or Terrible from the the Downside Ghost series by Stacia Kane, then you are going to love Beast. They are all so alike, and that’s why they are my favorite heroes of all time.

We get to see some of our favorite characters from Grave Mercy in this book: Ismae, Duval, the Duchess, and so on. And our not-so favorites like Sybella’s father who is beyond sick and twisted. He’s the kind of person you want to stab in the eye, repeatedly. He really was a monstrous villain you could sink your teeth into.

Dark Triumph is the perfect continuation of this story. It keeps with the main plot: helping the Duchess keep her crown and save her people. The action was beyond awesome and the mystery behind Sybella and her past was nail-biting. The romance was spot on, it really could not have gotten any better. The mixture of historical events and politics kept me reading through the night. The writing was divine. It all flowed well. I swear, I kept forgetting I was even reading a book.

The Bad
NOTHING. How dare you even suggest something is wrong with this book. As penance I order you to do ten book sniffs and five cover pettings and the book gods shall forgive you.

The Snuggly
Best. Romance. Ever. I swear to all that’s bookly, I never thought I would love such an ugly man. Beast and Sybella are a match made in book heaven. Their romance was handled in the best way possible. It was slow to build and had passion and tenderness. There is only kissing and caressing, so very YA. But there are also adult situations like sexual assault, but not very detailed.

Final Thoughts
Just read Dark Triumph. What else can I say. It’s perfection incarnate. It has all the elements you would want in a book, and the romance is to die for. This one cannot be missed. Highly, highly recommended.

“I cannot tell her I have been moping over a broken heart when I have worked so hard to convince her I have no heart at all.” 


“And just as love has two sides, so too does Death. While Ismae will serve as His mercy, I will not, for that is not how He fashioned me.
Every death I have witnessed, every horror I have endured, has forged me to be who I am — Death’s justice.” 


“I lean forward, pushing my body out past the battlements. The wind plucks at my cloak, buffets me, as if it would carry me off in flight, just like the birds or the knight’s soul. Let go, it cries. I will take you far, far away. I want to laugh at the exhilarating feeling. I will catch you, it whistles seductively.

Would it hurt? I wonder, staring down at the jagged rocks below. Would I feel the moment of my landing? I close my eyes and imagine hurtling through space, rushing down, down, down, to my death.”

His Fair Assassin Series:
Book #1: Grave Mercy
Book #2: Dark Triumph

book review

, , , , , , , ,

18 Responses to “ARC Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers”

  1. Erin W.

    I must admit, I was a little scared to read this sequel considering I loved the first book so much. But . . . you’ve got me wanting to read this book now. Sounds just as good as the first book. Great review!

  2. kimbacaffeinate

    holy awesomeness, first my review posts next Tuesday and for the first time ever I gave this book a 6(not even on my rating scale)..and then I see you did it and got goosebumps!*happy dance* I adored Sybella and Beast.*can you say new favorite couple* Grave Mercy was my number one YA read for 2012, i was so impressed that LaFevers topped that book, I found this to be tighter, more in depth with characters I completely loved. The pacing was splendid and the deets heaven. Wonderful review!!!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      OMG, totally goosebumps. Hehe. I am so happy you loved this just as much. Sybella and Beast are so freakin perfect for each other. And like you said, the writing technique was solid.

  3. Jaclyn Canada

    So I’m sold 😀 Definitely added this to my to-read list. I think I remember you saying that Kate and Curran were your favorite couple so with how much I loved them…I can’t wait to read about Sybella and Beast. Sounds like this is right up my alley! BTW Such an excellent review!! Had me laughing so hard. The whole beginning and what you put under ‘The Bad’ LOL. I certainly wouldn’t want to offend the Book Gods. Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven

  4. Erika

    Yes, Great review! I will definitely check out this series Jennifer. I love the way you format reviews by the way. Thank you!

  5. Elisa

    I liked Grave Mercy quite a bit, thought it was great but I was so interested in Sybella and now I feel like I might have to rush right out and get this book because I LOVE everything you described! I almost missed this review email because I have been a lame thing managing them lately and freaked out when I saw it. Can’t do anything about this book today (family) but you can bet I will be figuring out to get my hands on it tomorrow! 🙂
    PS – besides making the book sound super exciting, this review was great fun to read

Leave a Reply