Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Published by: Houghton Mifflin
Series: Grave Mercy (#1)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon
Dark Triumph is significantly shorter than Grave Mercy, exactly what I wanted! AND we got a new character perspective! I liked Dark Triumph a lot more than the first book in the series. I was so much more engaged in the story, and enjoyed the romance immensely, it didn’t seem forced or coincidental.
The pattern of the story was very similar to that of Grave Mercy, the only real difference being that in Sybella’s story her backstory is a slow reveal, which I loved. Much like Ismae’s story we’re thrown right into the action and there is little to no set up, but we know we’re with Sybella and that’s pretty much it. Sybella was briefly mentioned in Grave Mercy, but she certainly wasn’t a main character, and, of course, it took a little while to settle into her voice. She was in a similar court position as Ismae was in, but luckily Sybella’s personality was distinguishably different. Whereas I thought Ismae lacked a strong personality, Sybella had an engaging voice, that was only enhanced by the intriguing and haunting allusions to her past. Although Ismae and Dival did play a small part in the story, and it was nice to revisit them, Dark Triumph is very much about Sybella and Beast.
The beginning of the novel was relatively slow paced, but it build up Sybella’s lifestyle and her situation, which aided my understanding, as I still hadn’t quite gotten over the fact that we were just leaving the Duchess in Ismae’s hands, capable they may be, but I’ve learnt not to trust any one in the Breton nobility. After we were made to feel so strongly for the Duchess it did seem rather strange to suddenly be transported somewhere else, but what do you know! We were given two more sisters, one of them ill, to worry about! Yay! for His Fair Assassin tropes!
There was a lot more emphasis on the relationship side of things this time round, which compensated for the otherwise slow plot development. By far by favourite parts of the novel were Beast and Sybella’s exchanges, particularly when they visited the grave of Beast’s sister. Their relationship was bittersweet and, much like the plot, it was slow building. However, after reading plenty of instant romances this was a fresh perspective and I felt both deserved their happy ending – or was it happy? Was it even an ending, on that note? What was going on there? Am I the only one confused? Let’s hope things are explained in Mortal Heart, which I can’t wait to get my hands on!
Everything in this story was so well crafted, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so intrigued and repulsed at the same time! I never saw any of the plot twists coming, and was shocked by every single one of them – but that’s what I loved about this book, it had you guessing, it kept you on tender hooks. If I’d been looking hard enough, and thinking about it more than perhaps I was, then maybe I could have come to my own conclusions, but it was so lovely to be completely swept away by the story, as opposed to being too focused on conspiracy theories.
Overall, I would give Dark Triumph four stars – partly because I’m hoping to give that elusive five star to the final book in the series, just to prove that it gets better and better. I enjoyed the characters and the plot and cannot wait to see what happens next now that I have no idea who our villain could be!