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?
My thoughts on the book:
Dark Triumph does not live up to the standards set by Grave Mercy; however, it is an enjoyable read. The leading characters are still well-developed and intriguing, and the plot held my interest, but there are some gaps. This is a good book, and I enjoyed it, but it doesn't stand out like Grave Mercy did.
Sybella is an extremely complex and dark character. I really admire her because she doesn't fall apart constantly (and believe me she has plenty of reasons too). Also, she does what she has to do. Sometimes she's cowardly, but overall she's extremely strong. I liked learning about her, and I really enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes. It was also interesting to see Ismae through Sybella's perspective instead of her own. I loved Beast, but it was hard to warm up to him as a romantic interest because Sybella constantly calls him ugly. I mean saying it once so that we get that he's not the typical swoon-worthy beautiful hero would have been fine, but the constant insult to his looks I found to be a bit brash and also distracting. Some of the secondary characters are extremely well-developed, like Julian, whom I really had mixed feelings for. On the one hand he is just so messed up, and he has such a distorted view of things that I had to feel badly for him, but on the other hand he's a freaking incestuous pervert, which made me hate him. Other characters, such as Pierre, fell flat for me.
The plot is interesting, and it's definitely all about Sybella's personal journey. I really felt like I was there, living through this with her, and I was rooting for her the entire time. It's impossible not to care what happens to her, and some of the situations will keep you on the edge of your seat. However, there seem to be some gaps in the storytelling. I'm not sure if that's just how Sybella thinks or if that was unintentional. The book is action-packed, but the fight scenes started running together after awhile. I don't think every fight scene needed to be detailed as much as it was. Also, the writing is wonderfully done, but there are uncorrected typos in the hardcover finished edition, which is not okay, in my opinion. The pacing is a bit slow in the beginning, as well. Also, I just could not buy the romance between Beast and Sybella. They are supposed to be in love after a few days of traveling together, but I never *saw* it happen. Supposedly the readers were witness to when this happened, but I just didn't see it at all. It could have been made a little more obvious instead of just magically appearing. The ending ties things up nicely for Sybella, but leaves things open for Annith, who is our next leading lady. I'm looking forward to her story.
Overall, I really did enjoy this novel, even though this review doesn't really sound like I did. I also had issues with it, though, and wanted to share those as well. I'd recommend this novel to people who are looking for a good historical fiction novel and for those who loved Grave Mercy.
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