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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Sybella's duty as Death's assassin in 15th-century France forces her return home to the personal hell that she had finally escaped. Love and romance, history and magic, vengeance and salvation converge in this thrilling sequel to Grave Mercy. 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?…

Dark Triumph

by Robin LaFevers

Overall Book Review:

Triumphant!  Dark Triumph is a raw and honest look at a damaged individual, Sybella, and her search for redemption and freedom.  The authenticity and complexity of Sybella transforms this novel from a historically-set adventure to a soul-searching journey for forgiveness, acceptance, and peace. Starting with a surprising revelation in the first chapter and charging into danger and action, be prepared to be reading late into night. Fabulous characters, unexpected plot turns, a love-story, suspense, treachery, true peril, hope, the Beast of Waroch–the list goes on and on.   

Dark Triumph is the second book in the My Fair Assassin Trilogy and because events in the book immediately take-off without rehashing characters or background, it is essential to read the first book, Grave Mercy.  Dark Triumph was a surprise, Sybella was a revelation, and the novel exceeded expectations.  Affirming that individuals can overcome a tragic past to find forgiveness and ultimately joy, the novel ends on a redemptive note.  First-class young adult fiction for older teenagers and adults.  Masterfully done!

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  2 religious exclamations; 14 mild obscenities; 4 derogatory names; 2 scatological words.

Violence/Gore:  A battle scene in which many die is viewed from a distance; a character kills several with blows, sword–mention of blood; characters hunt with falcons; characters are poisoned; a character often contemplates various ways to kill people; a character is killed with a sword; brief description of what it means for someone to be hanged, drawn, & quartered; report of a parent beating children; report of slaying of wife and household members; report of a character having tongue and fingers cut off; character kills with a knife and by strangling; report of the violent death of an infant; a few separate & extended battle scenes of medieval warfare/fighting with knives, crossbows, swords, etc. (brief descriptions) resulting in death & injury; fight with swords, knives,etc. resulting in death and injury with mention of blood, gore, and guts.

Sex/Nudity:  A clothed character allows breast to brush an arm; a character is attempting to seduce another’s wife; kissing; some forced and unwanted kisses; references to/reports/threats of rape (no details); a character bathes (non-sexual); a character is ordered to seduce another; implied incestuous relationship between half-siblings that one party feels forced into; clothes removed to treat a wound (non-sexual); character grabs crotch in rude gesture and is said to make a  suggestive comment (no details); reference to women camp followers; character confesses to having slept with men; character conceives out of wedlock; two characters have sex (no details…wake up in bed the next morning).

Mature Subject Matter:

Medieval violence and warfare, rape, incest, death, treason, murder, pagan gods

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Characters drink wine, ale, etc. with dinners and in taverns.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!