Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Beauty Is A Beast

"Mostly I wanted to be feared as Saint Mer was feared, 
to have men treat me with great respect and caution 
and be afraid of what might await them if they did not."
--Robin LaFevers

Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 385 pages
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2013
Source: Borrowed
Previous Books in Series: Grave Mercy

Goodreads Description

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. The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, 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. 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?(less)

My Thoughts

You all know how much I love historical fiction. You know how much I love badass chicks that can legit kick ass. You all know how much I love a tortured soul. You guys, Dark Triumph had all of this and more! Anything coming after Grave Mercy is a hard act to follow. I fell in love with this book (review here) and with so many people saying the second book is even better, I knew I was in for a treat.

Sybella…SYBELLA?! I adore her. Her character is so complex and multi-faceted that I found myself relating to her even having nothing in common with her. Well, I take that back. While our lives have nothing in common, I think anyone who reads this can relate to her emotional range. On the outside, she is the badass warrior to puts on the front of having no emotions. But inside, she is as vulnerable as anyone. She has been hurt SO many times by people that should have love, protected, and taken care of her. Instead, they abused that trust and she is broken in so many ways. She, too, wants to be loved and taken care of, no matter how much she fights it on the outside. I found her characterization and feelings SO relatable because I think we all try and be tough to an extent on the outside and who doesn’t just want to be loved and accepted at the same time. Her growth as a character is beautiful and just perfection to me.

The romance aspect is not as forefront as Grave Mercy but it is just as amazing. The man Sybella grows to love is a perfect complement to her soul. Saying any more will ruin any non-readers of this so I can’t say more than that!

The plot of this installment is definitely dark. Way darker than Grave Mercy and how evil d’Albrecht is kind of hit me in the face. While I knew he was a raging bastard in Grave Mercy, I had no idea the extent of his foul soul until reading Sybella’s story. The first 20 pages gives you a hint into the depth of the horrors he bestows on others and it is terrifying. There is a moment when Sybella is discussing the lengths he will go to take Anne as his wife and the fear of the situation was palpable. It was like a dark cloud was summoned above me head. It creeped me out like no other and I could feel the hopelessness and despair that Sybella has felt her whole life. I was SO impressed by the writing of this book and the tangible emotions Robin was able to bring to the reader.

I love this world. I love this series. I think this was an amazing addition to the overall story and I cannot WAIT for Annith’s story.

Should You Read This? Hell yes. Dark, haunting, yet ultimately beautiful. Historical fiction lovers and fans of Grave Mercy will not be disappointed. 


  1. YES. A thousand times yes to this!

    Yeah, d'Albrecht's evilness is pretty intense. Good thing the nun assassin's are on the case! :)

  2. I absolutely loved Grave Mercy, and had every intention of continuing with Dark Triumph, but it just hasn't happened yet! Everything you've described, though, sounds like something I would really enjoy - complex and multi-faceted protagonist, romance, an evil antagonist and dark tones.

  3. Basically, Kelly, I agree with EVERY. SINGLE. THING. that you've said about DARK TRIUMPH! While I really liked Grave Mercy, I fell in love with Sybella and her story. She's such a great character, complex, strong and vulnerable. Plus, I LOVED the romance in this!


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