Oh, to be an assassin nun.
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin, #2)
1. Grave Mercy
2. Dark Triumph
3. Dark Hope (2014)
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. The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, 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?
Thoughts on Dark Triumph
In a galaxy far, far away. Wait. No. That’s not how it goes. In March of 2012, I read Grave Mercy, the first book in this series. (March 2012 may as well be another galaxy, so you understand my confusion.) That’s 18 months between books. While I didn’t necessarily need to remember everything that went on in the first book (which was good, since I didn’t), the lack of my memory frustrated me. Dark Triumph would have been more deeply layered, had I read these closer together.
Which is to say, it IS deeply layered, and I missed it because I couldn’t remember what happened in Grave Mercy. Bits and pieces of the world—the handmaidens of Death and the convent’s role—were frustratingly unfamiliar and just out of my grasp. Too much recapping would have weighed this already long story down, so it’s more my problem than anything.
Despite all that, I was intrigued by Sybella, who has so many secrets and hardships to bear. There are a lot of dark and ugly issues here, many of which are never explicitly stated, but rather left to the reader to fill in the blanks. Sybella isn’t a heroine you want to be. Perhaps be on her side or her friend, should she let her guard down long enough.
Even though Dark Triumph is technically YA (Sybella is only 17), the characters and situations feel adult-ish. But it’s never graphic; the fight scenes are quick and efficient, and the love story takes a back seat to Sybella’s struggles. It was a nice break from all the historical romance I’ve been reading, and I hereby resolve not to let 18 months pass before I pick up the third book in this series.