Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #2
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Seldom is a sequel better than the original, but I found it to be so with the His Fair Assassin series. While it was weird transitioning to a new narrator and a new main character in the story, Sybella is far from a stranger. And while Ismae spends little time in this novel, she still crops up from time to time. In this prospective, the series reminds me a lot of the Graceling Realm series.
Dark Triumph takes away the best features of Grave Mercy - the politics, the intrigue, the corruption, the plots - and leaves behind the most annoying trait of Grave Mercy - the constant attention to romance. Sure, romance still plays a part in Dark Triumph. After all, it is hard not to when you are dealing with a group of lady assassins that use their sexuality as a ploy to gather information and to kill. And unfortuantely, Sybella reacts in much the same manner that Ismae did, which brought upon its fair share of annoyance on my part. But it doesn't force the romance down your throat at every turn of the page, which was a refreshing break.
While I likes Ismae enough, Sybella is a fascinating character. She comes from a very unhealthy family dynamic, which is why she turned to the Coventry in the first place (the resolution at the end with her and her brother, however, felt a bit too much like a happy ending in my opinion; I definitely felt it was a bit out of character for him). While she is faithful to Saint Mortain, her goal is to sly the father who has plagued her for her entire life. We get to dive deeper into the twisted ways the sisters of the Coventry work, especially as we see how they manipulate Sybella in a similar fashion as they did Ismae.
What really makes Dark Triumph feel like a sequel and not just a companion novel is the fact that the novel picks up right where Grace Mercy ended, though it takes a different forks and follows Sybella as she continues on the cause. While it is still a far cry from an instant classic, LaFevers definitely made strides towards the better with this novel.