Goodreads Summary: 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.Goodreads / The Book Depository
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.
Genre: Young Adult, historical fiction
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
How I Got It: Purchased physical copy
First Line: "I did not arrive at the convent of Saint Mortain some green stripling."
Favorite Quote: "I am left with the conviction that an avalanche would be easier to dissuade than that man."
I loved Grave Mercy last year, and was very excited for the sequel to come out. As with all companion novels, I was disappointed that it did not center around the original main characters, Ismae and Duval, but Sybella was definitely intriguing in the first book so I was eager to see how she would be as a narrator. She comes off as almost insane, especially in the beginning. But I can honestly say that I loved her character, and will be sad once again to switch in the third book, which is going to be in Annith's POV.
I loved Dark Triumph even more than Grave Mercy! Part of the reason for this is probably the fact that the novel centers more on Sybella personally and the general action than politics, which abounded in GM. This is mentioned in the author's note in the back, which I appreciated. I love reading a book that I know is researched well; to me, at least, historical fiction is a very difficult genre to write in.
Sybella is certainly a haunted character, even more so than Ismae. The secrets of her past are revealed as the story is told. I felt such sympathy for her; she was just one of those characters that made me wish I could step into the book and get to know her personally. It takes a good chunk of time for the love interest, Beast, to show up. But when he did, I cheered a little inside. I loved him in GM and I love him even more now, even more so since he is not your typical love interest...looks-wise, anyway. He is just so spirited and good. D'Albret has to be among the worst of all YA villains; he actually made me feel a little sick at times. (view spoiler) And though I did have a strong dislike towards Julian as well, I was surprised but happy he redeemed himself a bit in the end. And I was ecstatic in that one scene where Ismae tells Sybella that Duval asked her to marry him. I demand a proposal scene from the author! Please? I'm hoping they find time to do it in the third book.
Dark Triumph is a pretty thick book, and though a certain amount of pages could easily be cut, I enjoyed every word and wouldn't change anything about it. This is going on my list of favorites and I will be waiting anxiously for Mortal Heart.
Books in this series:
1. Grave Mercy
2. Dark Triump
3. Mortal Heart