Tuesday, July 02, 2019
First sentence: I did not arrive at the convent of Saint Mortain some green stripling. By the time I was sent there, my death count numbered three, and I had had two lovers besides.
Premise/plot: The first book in the His Fair Assassin series is Grave Mercy which stars Ismae and Duval. The second book in the series is Dark Triumph which stars Sybella and The Beast of Waroch. Both Ismae and Sybella are assassan nuns--young women dedicated to serving the god Mortain (aka Death). Both also serve the Duchess of Brittany, Anne. If the first book focused on politics with the threat of war, the second novel focuses on politics and inevitable WAR.
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 (D'Albret). 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!
My thoughts: 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.
© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews