Brimming With Life: A Review of DARK TRIUMPH by Robin LaFevers

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2) 
Robin LaFevers
400 pages
Publisher: HMH Books
Release Date: April 2nd, 2013
Source: eARC from Publisher
Rating: LOVED

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella as one of their most dangerous weapons.

But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

This heart-pounding sequel to Grave Mercy serves betrayal, treachery, and danger in equal measure, bringing readers back to fifteenth century Brittany and will keep them on the edge of their seats.

   There are very few novels that I love so much that I don’t understand why they haven’t reached the NYT bestselling list. GRAVE MERCY was one of those. It was so good, I was pretty sure a story from another character’s point of view (one I didn’t like much in GRAVE MERCY) would end up disappointing for me.

   To say I was wrong is an understatement.

   DARK TRIUMPH is Robin LaFevers way of punching me in the face and shouting AHA in my ear loud enough to make me I’m deaf with her success. Because DARK TRIUMPH was just as good as GRAVE MERCY.

   For those of you who haven’t read GRAVE MERCY or need to refresh your memory, Sybella was a mad girl who showed up in the first few pages of the first book, and screamed and clawed her first few days. The next thing we knew she was sent on her first mission. While I loved Ismae’s soft-spoken, pure-hearted character, LaFevers was able to make a Sybella-fan out of me before the last page of DARK TRIUMPH was turned.

   Sybella is a handmaiden of death, just like Ismae. But that’s where the similarities end. She’s harder, stronger, and the secret revealed in the first few pages choked a gasp out of me.

   Sybella’s story is a more personal one, in contrast to Ismae’s, where the plot is more political as she’s trying to protect the duchess at all cost. The story does move forward in terms of the world, but there is a more personal journey to it as well. DARK TRIUMPH is Sybella’s way of desperately trying to trumph over darkness, her very own darkness.

   DARK TRIUMPH, just like its predecessor, is full of beautiful prose and dynamic characters – filled to the brim with life. Even the horribly bad characters felt real, with all their sickening evilness.

   DARK TRIUMPH is a tale of one girl’s love for those she holds dear, hidden deep within her guilt-enshrouded heart. It’s a tale that made me clench my teeth and gasp more than once, and left me breathless on more than one occasion.

   Fans of GRAVE MERCY, have no fear, despite the new narrator, DARK TRIUMPH delivers. Fans of historical fiction and young adult, rejoice – for this is one series that I am sure will only get better.

Add DARK TRIUMPH to Goodreads 
Find Robin LaFevers on Twitter – Goodreads – Website


Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply


    March 28, 2013

    I felt this way about Cinder/Scarlet too (no! Don't take away my favorite character!!)– and I was so wrong. So I'm excited to read Dark Triumph. I have faith…especially after your review. Thanks!

  2. Reply


    March 28, 2013

    I was so excited to hear that Dark Triumph was going to be told from Sybella's PoV; she was such an enigma in Grave Mercy! So it thrills me to no end that her story is just as amazing as Ismae's!

  3. Reply

    Jennifer @ YA Sisterhood

    March 28, 2013

    I am so glad to read this review because I loved Grave Mercy, too. But, I was scared about this being in Sybella's point of view. Now I'm really looking forward to reading this! Thanks!

    YA Sisterhood

  4. Reply

    Janita @ Book, Interrupted

    March 29, 2013

    For me Grave Mercy missed the mark a little, but I'm willing to give this one a try because it doesn't seem as focussed on the historical plot. Sybella seems more likeable to me as well. Ismae in my mind was a little too naïve.

  5. Reply

    Jenea Whittington

    March 29, 2013

    I thought Sybella was interesting in Grave Mercy, and I am excited to read from her point of view. Awesome review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  6. Reply


    March 29, 2013

    great review! i have been waiting for this forever! One of my fav reads last year.

  7. Reply

    Bookluvrs Haven

    March 30, 2013

    Just reviewed Grave Mercy today on my blog. I LOVED Grave Mercy, and just sorry that I didn't read it sooner!!! I can't wait to read this story about Sybella. She was such a mysterious character in the first novel, and I was so curious about her story. I am so glad that I get to read about her next!

    Thanks for the review.

    Lily @ Bookluvrs Haven

  8. Reply


    March 31, 2013

    I just finished reading Dark Triumph and your review totally covers what I feel! I'm so mind-blown by this book and how in many ways, it's as good as or(dare I say it) even better than Grave Mercy!

    Love your review :D Especially the last sentence! I totally biting my nails for the last book, can't wait!

  9. Reply


    April 23, 2013

    So terribly glad you loved this book. I cannot wait to finally read it. I loved the first book. It's so fascinating reading about Assassins!!!

  10. Reply

    Alyssa Bussard

    April 23, 2013

    I love, love, LOVED this book! I really loved Grave Mercy but I just felt like Dark Triumph was more twisted and dark, it felt more layered to me, which I ADORED. Also though I loved Duval, Beast stole my heart!! I can't wait for book three, I am intrigued to see where Robin brings the trilogy!

  11. Reply

    Jaime Lester

    April 25, 2013

    I just finished up Grave Mercy for the second time. I remembered that I loved it, but I forgot just how much I loved it. It was beautiful in so many ways, and it was reestablished as a top favorite for me. Dark Triumph is sitting on my shelf, coming up shortly on the TBR, and I am so excited. Reading the reviews that are starting to roll in, including yours, is making me even more excited to hurry up and get to it already. SYbella in Grave Mercy was intriguing, and a definite curiosity. I am looking forward to learning more about her in this book. And I am also thinking that book 3 HAS to be about poor, neglected Annith! She deserves her own story, no doubt about it!