{Review/Giveaway} DARK TRIUMPH by Robin LaFevers

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Visit all the stops, each of which will have a GIVEAWAY of
DARK TRIUMPH and it predecessor GRAVE MERCY,
along with interviews and guest posts with Robin LaFevers!

Haven't read GRAVE MERCY yet?
Check out my review!

Check out an excerpt from DARK TRIUMPH now
and enter below to win both GRAVE MERCY and DARK TRIUMPH!

O P E N I N G   L I N E:


I DID NOT ARRIVE AT the convent of Saint Mortain some green stripling.  By the time I was sent there, my death count numbered there, and I had had two lovers besides.  Even so, there were some things they were able to teach me: Sister Serafina the art of poison; Sister Thomine, how to wield a blade; and Sister Arnette, where best to strike with it, laying out all the vulnerable points on a man's body like an astronomer charting the stars.

If only they had taught me how to watch innocents die as well as they taught me how to kill, I would be far better prepared for this nightmare into which I've been thrust... 
(pg. 1, US Hardcover Edition)


I adored last year's GRAVE MERCY, and I've been so excited for the release of DARK TRIUMPH.  I was lucky enough to participate in the Blog Tour for this fantastic sequel, which never let me down and was everything I wanted it to be--and more.  Can readers pick up DARK TRIUMPH without having read GRAVE MERCY?  Yes, absolutely.  DARK TRIUMPH is a self-contained story with an arc of its own.  Would I recommend reading DARK TRIUMPH before GRAVE MERCY?  No, not really.  Robin LaFevers doesn't spend a lot of time re-introducing characters from the first book who take on a more secondary role this time around, choosing to instead focus on Sybella and her story.  There's also a lot more insight into the daughters of Mortain the first time around.  That isn't to say readers won't still enjoy DARK TRIUMPH if they pick it up blind, but they won't have as much perspective as they would by reading GRAVE MERCY first.  This also isn't a series with evil cliffhangers that carry from year to year, so readers should feel secure in picking up the book and reading it now without waiting for all three titles to come out.  These are companion novels with interconnecting themes and plots, but the wait won't make you crazy.   If your memory isn't great between books, you'll remember the important stuff as you read, because LaFevers reintroduces elements well.

From the first book, I knew that His Fair Assassin would surely follow Ismae, Sybella, and Annith, three daughters of Mortain introduced early on in GRAVE MERCY.  I didn't know what else to expect.  DARK TRIUMPH is more intimate than GRAVE MERCY in many ways.  Sybella has been through so much darkness and overcome it all.  I never could have anticipated the multitude of horrors she's faced, and just when I think I've unwrapped the last layer, there's always an even grimmer secret lurking.  I didn't expect the vast scope and depth of DARK TRIUMPH in retrospect to my reading of GRAVE MERCY.  I was always curious about Sybella based on her interactions with Ismae in the first book, but I never imagined the extent of her past.  Her plight is so much more harrowing than I ever thought possible.In fact, I want to go back and re-read GRAVE MERCY just to soak up every glimpse of Sybella now, because I will read those moments entirely differently than I did a year ago.

It's very hard to talk about plot without giving so much away, since intrigue is a big part in what makes the His Fair Assassin series work so well.  Like with GRAVE MERCY, DARK TRIUMPH revolves around historical elements and figures from the past, combining them with fantasy and mythological lore to create a fascinating story full of romance, heartbreak, deceit, kingdom politics, and more.  In the first book, it is Isame's job to prevent D'Albret from forcing Duchess Anne into marriage.  In the second, we realize that D'Albret is Sybella's father, and even crueler than we could have ever imagined when reading the first book.  The convent of Saint Mortain has returned Sybella to her childhood household as a spy, but being back home rips open all the wounds that Sybella first tried to run away from.  When D'Albret takes the Beast of Waroch prisoner, Sybella is assigned the task of breaking him out, which will force her to sever ties to her family in irrevocable ways.

I had a feeling we'd see the Beast of Waroch make an appearance in DARK TRIUMPH and LaFevers didn't disappoint.  One prediction down, and one to go: Over the past two books, there have been hints of deceit and secrecy coming from within the convent, and I fully expect MORTAL HEART to sink into this issue when it releases next year, especially since it revolves around sheltered Annith's journey.  I definitely wouldn't recommend this series to younger readers because it can be very mature, but I would recommend it to anyone who wants a captivating fantasy that's easy to fall into.  After I finished reading it, I had so much trouble reading anything else for a while because I was so immersed in LaFever's world, and the same thing happened last year when I read GRAVE MERCY.  Sybella goes through so much more than any human being should have to and you'd think she'd be damaged for life, but through DARK TRIUMPH, she finds away to, well, triumph.  Sybella is an incredibly resilient character that I fell in love with and rooted for over the course of the novel, and I think you will, too.
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I love the consistency of the typography from one book to the next.

The title and author's name are consistent and take up the same amount of space.

I especially adore the font used for the the chapter headings in both books, as well as on both covers:

I don't know what it is about curly fonts, especially when the cross of the t or the curl of a final letter stretches and flows, but I am obsessed.  I loved seeing this across both books, and hope to again when MORTAL HEART releases next year.

It's hard to tell whether this cover is a photograph, an illustration, or a mix of the two.  With the first book, it's clearly a photograph.  DARK TRIUMPH has the soft coloring of a painting. Believe it or not, Richard Jenkins designed both books.  They're both unique and interesting to look at, but they don't 100% match in terms of style.  I still like both covers, and can't wait to see what the third looks like.

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title: DARK TRIUMPH
Author: Robin LaFevers
Release Date: Out April 02, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Received: For Review
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. 

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.

***GIVEAWAY***

You could win...
A paperback copy of GRAVE MERCY
and a hardcover edition of DARK TRIUMPH!
This giveaway is US only, ages 13 and up.

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Comments

  1. This is one of those series that I kinda can't believe I don't have. When the synopsis came out for GM, I knew - I knew - I was going to read it and probably loooove it, and I even intended to preorder it - and yet, here we are, a year later with the second book coming out, and I still haven't read it, or even picked it up!

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  2. I haven't read this series yet, but I really want to! I have heard awesome things!

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  4. I am really excited to start this series! I have wanted to read it for a while now. Thank you for the giveaway!

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