At first, I didn't know what to think of Dark Triumph. The opening chapters were so dark and creepy. What Sybella, our heroine, has had to live with her whole life is almost too horrible to describe. But her story, though dark, is necessary for the reader to know, to understand. Both Sybella and "the Beast" were characters first introduced in Robin LaFevers Grave Mercy. I thought they were interesting in the first novel, but after reading the second novel they were so much more than that. I LOVED them. I think I loved them even more than I loved Ismae and Duval.
Secrets. Lies. Betrayals. Murders. Sybella has seen and heard too much; she was born into one of the cruelest, darkest families in Brittany. Her escape to the convent to be trained as Death's handmaiden--an assassin--was too brief. For better or worse, Sybella's "purpose" is a dark one. She wants justice, justice for all the lives lost at her father's hand, all the lives lost because of her father's orders, all the lives lost on the battlefield because her father is a traitor to the duchess. She's a killer. She feels she kills justly, men who deserve to die, but she's a killer whether or not she's following her Lord's orders or not.
One of the orders she receives early in the novel is to rescue one of the men captured by her father. A man readers came to know as "the Beast." She knows it won't be easy, but, she knows it's right. For she knows that in saving his life, in giving him his freedom, she'll be doing good for the Duchess. The news he carries back to her may help her cause. But what Sybella never expected was to be "rescued" by the prisoner AS he makes his escape. The Beast and Sybella traveling together...as a team...to the Duchess...it's something!
And that's just the start, of course!
Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph might not be for every reader. There is so much darkness in the second book, mainly involving Sybella's past and present. While at first I was hesitant to visit those dark places and learn Sybella's truths, I soon cared too much to stop reading. If the first book focused on politics with the threat of war, the second novel focuses on politics and inevitable WAR.
I would definitely recommend reading the two books in order. And if you've got the time, it might be a good idea to reread the first novel. Dark Triumph and Grave Mercy overlap by a little bit. And the politics and war might make more sense if you've recently read Grave Mercy.
Read Dark Triumph
- If you enjoyed Grave Mercy
- If you're a fan of Robin LaFevers
- If you enjoy dark historical novels focused on war and politics
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews