Hardcover, 385 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Source: Purchased for review
Holly and I are doing our favorite part of book blogging and reading a new book together. We’ve started the His Fair Assassin series #2, Dark Triumph. We read the first book, Grave Mercy, here, here and here. While we were not 100% sold on the teenage assassin nun concept, it was time to try Sybella’s story. If you haven’t read Grave Mercy beware of spoilers!
When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge – but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.
But her assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for…
Amanda: Either this book is 100% more intense right away or its slightly more intense and there’s just no retelling of the backstory. I like it.
I feel hooked at 5% in! Also, Sybella is kind of a sad girl.
Holly: Girls with happy childhoods don’t become assassin nuns.
A: Too true. But this is seriously in your face with it. Sybella is a bad ass. I just stopped at 29% and this seems faster than Book 1 was, hardly any repetition from #1.
H: Sybella is definitely pretty tragic. And I’m hooked on the story, but I’m still uneasy about this being YA when everyone is in constant danger of being raped and killed by bad guys. Or just killed by good guys. Not a happy place.
Also, Sybella just declared that without vengeance, she was just a victim, but if she can avenge her injustices that her life would have meaning. Couldn’t those nuns have taught her to find meaning in her life through other outlets? Oh no, because they are kind of crazy and manipulative. These teenage girls need therapy!
A: I totally agree re: unhappiness. Its kind of a downer of a book thus far. I’m not disliking it, but I am creeped out. I don’t think its necessarily inappropriate for YA though, I mean its no fight to the death in a ring a la Hunger Games? I mean yes, the threats of death all around are not normal, but sadly Sybella’s other family issues can be way too common and so they should be addressed in YA!
And yes – therapy for everyone please! They’d all be happier and healthier with some therapy and less assassin-class.
H: I like Sybella but she is sort of terrifying. At least she’s smarter than Ismae was.
A: Sybella is totally scary to me. You’re right though, she seems far less easily led astray than Ismae could have been.
H: Oh! You stopped when Sybella got punched right?! Cliffhanger….
We’re about to keep reading the next 1/3 of the book. We ended on quite a scene so I can’t wait to see what awaits Sybella, I hope its a brighter direction soon!