When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge – but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.
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…
Wow. Just, wow. I’m going to elaborate on that, of course, but just…wow!
I read Grave Mercy about two years ago, and I loved it to bits. I remember I had a bit of a strange time getting into the writing of the novel back then, aside the present tense of the narrative which I’m not a fan of by large. The historical feel of the writing, the wording if you will, was still present in this baby, but it read a lot smoother to me and it worked like a charm from the first page. I’m not sure there is or isn’t a difference in writing between Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph, I have a feeling there isn’t in fact. I can tell you I’ve read considerably more present tense narratives since then, and I think I’ve adjusted to it by now, so while the tense itself of writing kept breaking my reading rhythm and pulling me out of the story in the beginning two years ago, it runs smoothly and lets the story unfold now. It’s a me thing, not a novel’s thing in the end, and I’m very happy I’ve adjusted 🙂
The first person, present tense narrative flows beautifully, the historical style is superb and it makes the whole reading experience so authentic, you actually feel transported back into the 1500’s as you read.
The world of the His Fair Assassin series is awesome, smooth paranormal elements blended seamlessly into the historical world, saints you serve in surprising and kickass ways, all the scheming and manipulating and perversion of the times, all of it comes together to deliver a memorable reading experience and characters you won’t easily ever forget.
Sybella might the most tortured, twisted yet touchingly honorable and fair character I’ve read about. Once you read this novel, you’ll get a really good taste of the kinds of monstrosities that people are capable of, of the kinds of things that did actually happen that far back in history, uncomfortable things to read about like abuse, incest, shocking brutality and flagrant disregard for human life. And yes, quite a bit of that is present in this novel, in Sybella’s past. And if you’re thinking she had it really, really bad by somewhere around middle of the book, just wait until she gets to tell the whole gory story around the end there, and dark will just go so much darker. I felt actually sick when the whole terrible story of her seventeen years of life became clear, we’re talking heaving, goose bumps, the whole nine yards. Shocking, terrible, and yet brilliant.
There’s a darkness about Sybella, a shade of it you rarely encounter in such clear lines, and yet she’s somehow pure at heart, she’s always focused on doing the right thing, on helping people around her and those she loves. I think she’s my favorite character not only of this novel, but of the year, and possibly in the last couple of years too. I can’t do her justice by describing her, you just have to read this novel and get to know her, experience her for yourselves. Trust me, she’s worth it.
Beast was dreamy, of course. The big, valiant, knight in shining armor kind of guy, carrying his own brand of dark, of ruthless in battle, a killer fighting for the just cause. I loved the chemistry between him and Sybella, instantly wanted them as a couple (which happened, thanks their and all gods :D). There’s a sort of deep understanding going on between them, they fit together in battle, at heart, in all ways. I loved that. Though there is one on one happening in the story, it’s fade-out sadly, lol, but we do get the enjoy them together during some smooching 😀 Don’t look at me like that, I don’t get the whole sexless love thing, okay? And I do find it frustrating when I don’t get to spy in on their good times, cause I certainly get to experience their bad times, don’t I? But I am an evil, pervy reader, and even so the romance tangent of the story worked for me, so I really think it will work for you too.
The cover is obviously awesome, the blurb is hooking, but I’d jump in immediately anyway since it’s a His Fair Assassin novel. I cannot advise you strongly enough to do the same.
I will be reading the third one, am entirely looking forward to it. I wholeheartedly recommend this series, the very much adult feel of the young adult characters, the awesome authentic feel of the historical world, the original and awesome paranormal aspects, the slow burn romance, most of all the memorable and masterfully built characters. Big, big time win, a brilliant read you should not miss.