Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publishing Date: April 2, 2013
Pages/Format: 385, Hardcover
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But her assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father's rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother's love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for...
Book in One Word: TRIUMPHANT.
I am on a slight high at this very moment, for I just finished Dark Triumph and it was really, truly a good book. You've probably heard a lot of people saying that Robin LaFevers's historical fiction/fantasy/assassin nun trilogy is very good, and by gosh, they are right. The latest installment is fantastic and I think even better than the first, and Grave Mercy was very, very good. There's just something about this story and the characters that just pulls you in and doesn't let go, like the tip of a dagger. Can't I just leave the review at this and say that you should absotively, posilutely read this book (but start with Grave Mercy)? No? Well, then. Let me tell why you should read this triumphant novel.
Sybella's life has not been filled with flowered meadows and lovely ponies and the nicest of things. Her father is a filthy, heartless bastard, and the cruel--oh, so cruel--way that he lives has driven Sybella just a slight bit mad. She once left home for the convent that serves Mortain, the Saint of Death, where she trained in the ways of killing and learned to be one of his handmaidens. But her job sent her back home to spy for Anne, the duchess of Brittany--and with a promise that Sybella would be able to kill her father. Of course, her course is altered when she must rescue (Grave Mercy spoiler) the Beast of Waroch, who is her father's prisoner.
From there, the story goes to a number of places, and all the while Sybella decides if she believes in the ways of Mortain--or, more accurately, the convent. She is a such a strong heroine with a penchant for killing and a soul slightly marred by darkness, but she works so hard to balance that out and not be like her father. That balance comes from the few people she truly cares about, and those who care about her in return, like her sisters--by blood and from the convent--and the dear, sweet, oafish, brutish, battle-fevered Beast (BEST NAME EVER). My gosh, I ship Sybella and Beast so hard. Those two go together like peanut butter and chocolate, salt and vinegar, and sticks and stones. For serious, #SyBeast. Their ship, whether it be relationship, friendship, or romantic-ship (I won't tell which you it is because that's kind of spoilery), was one of my favorite parts of this book and I absolutely loved it. They both thrive in the midst of a battle and have gone through many hardships, whether literally or metaphorically, so when they're together, they compliment each other something fierce and they are so meant to be, can I just have a series all about SyBeast, please and thank you.
What else can I possibly say to get you to read this book? I could say that some of Mortain's assassins would be upon you if you didn't, but that wouldn't be nice. I just...there's something about this book that just hits the spot with how good it is. Sybella goes through a lot of hardships, many of which we don't actually see, but they give her character an edge that makes for a compelling read. (And I wanted just a bit more from the ending. It seemed a little unfinished. JUST GIVE ME MORE SYBEAST.) Add in Beast, evil things afoot in court, some traveling, lots of killing, and a story worth reading with a voice and prose that fits the time period, and you have the makings of a book you should stick your nose in. But my gosh, don't do it unless you have the third book Mortal Heart on hand, because my gosh, I want it NOW and I DO NOT HAVE IT. But as for Dark Triumph--well, it sure is triumphant.
Did I like it? Yes!
Did I love it? Yes!
Would I reread it? Yes!
Would I purchase it? Thank gosh Robin LaFevers came to my area a couple years ago and I bought this book, because otherwise my shelves would be lacking this wonderful book.
Who would I recommend it to? Whether or not you're a fan of historicalish fiction does not matter. If you like assassins and historicalishness and writing to match the era and excellent romance, read this. Everyone should read this.