Even Stevens’s #CBR5 review #26: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

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Finished my half cannonball just under the wire! I really liked this book and was glad I could close out the year on a high note.

Dark Triumph is the second book in the His Fair Assassin series by LaFevers.  The second volume switches points of view – whereas the first book, Grave Mercy, focused on Ismae and gave us brief glimpses of Sybella, this time we learn Sybella’s story, and all the secrets in her past and her present. Dark Triumph picks up immediately following the events at the end of Grave Mercy, and Sybella is struggling to find a way to cope with her current assignment at the cruel Count D’Albret’s castle, when she is ordered to carry out another: smuggle out the most closely guarded prisoner at the castle and return him to the queen’s company.

On the whole, I really liked this book. There are some pros and cons here: I think LaFevers is a great storyteller and I like her voice, character styling, and the flow of the stories. I also think she side-stepped a big obstacle in writing trilogies, which is that most of the time, the second book feels like filler. This most definitely does not feel that way and the story is fast paced and gripping. However, I think (at least judging from Goodreads ratings) that I am in the minority of people who enjoyed the first installment more. Ismae, Duval, and Anne really grew on me and I wanted to keep up with their characters much more. Sybella turned out to be a pretty great protagonist but sometimes I felt that parts of her personality and her story were more the result of engineering and trying to fit her into the plot, rather than vice versa.

Both volumes are set in the late 1400s and many of the people in the books existed and many of the events happened. I love historical fiction the more I read it and both of these books have been a pretty fascinating look at some long past history (even if some of it is embellished).

I really enjoy LaFevers’s writing and I will definitely be checking out the final part of the trilogy when it comes out next year (which will feature the third girl of their group, Annith). This is a quick but engrossing read and I was entertained to the very last page.

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