Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin Trilogy)

Image of Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin Trilogy)
Release Date: 
April 2, 2013
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Reviewed by: 

Dark Triumph, the second installment of Robin LaFevers’ His Dark Assassin series picks up precisely where her debut Grave Mercy left off. In the first book, we’re taken into the world of 15th century Brittany and the convent of St. Mortain, the god of Death, where assassin nuns train and await their assignment in the service of their god.

Dark Triumph follows Sybella, a teen nun assassin as she struggles to find her way through the brutal and horrific world of d’Albret, the man who raised her as his daughter. Sybella was sired by the god of Death, St. Mortain, and works on his behalf killing and bringing a sense of justice as St. Mortain sees fit.

The convent is instrumental in providing Sybella safety and a reprieve from the house of d’Albret. When the abbess of the convent sends Sybella back into that perverse and violent maelstrom, Sybella learns of her next dangerous assignment: rescuing the great ogre of a man, Beast, whom we met in the first book, and returning him to the home of the duchess.

What Sybella doesn’t count on is discovering the connections she and Beast share in their dark past. What surprises her even more was how much it means to her and her hopes for the future.

Dark Triumph excels in drawing the reader into the heart and minds of its characters. The author writes with an intimacy that makes it clear she has fully captured every nuance of who these people are and by the end of the story, the reader will, too.

The story revolves around true historic events and personae, so it’s clear Ms. LaFevers has done her homework and knows her way around a story with historical elements. The writing is atmospheric and lush.

Dark Triumph is a young adult novel, but it was hard to remember that at times. The themes are complex and mature. The world is filled with violence and dances around the edges of incest before clarifying that yes, what you think is happening is exactly that. These concepts are not gratuitous and make perfect sense considering the story’s dark sensibilities and the time period in which the story takes place.

The final installment of the His Fair Assassin series is highly anticipated as Ms. LeFevers takes us on a journey to follow the third and final sister nun Annith in His Fair Assassin: Mortal Heart.