by Robin LaFevers
Book 2 of His Fair Assassin
Audio book narrated by Angela Goethals
The most recent updates will be added to the top each re-post.
As I progress through the book and find reasons to update, more events may or may not be revealed. So I will include a **SPOILER WARNING** right here just in case I have inadvertently given away anything significant to the story itself. I've done my best not to mention any big spoilers, but I don't always check myself accordingly.
Review for Dark Triumph | link coming soon
Progress on 11/11/16: 203 of 405 pages | 393 of 716 minutes (50%)
And suddenly I am furious. Furious that she does not even care that she lured me back to hell on earth with a false promise and that for a span of time, death was more inviting to me than the life I was forced to live--the life she had forced me to live, using lies and a lure she knew I would find irresistible.
She tilts her wimpled head and studies me. "Something as paltry as a lack of Mortain's permission would not stop the Sybella I know. Perhaps in the end, your ties to d'Albret are stronger than your ties to Mortain. You have, after all, known and served him far longer."
Apparently, using the promise that Count d'Albret would bear the death mark of Saint Mortain, the Abbess of the Convent of St. Mortain had sent Sybella back to the hellish nightmare of her childhood home--even knowing the kind of mental and emotional trauma Sybella had gone through before finding her way to the convent. Sybella had been promised that she would be able to deal the killing blow to d'Albret, but has, as of present not found the mark in appearance anywhere on the man.
Which is depressing considering what a terrible, malicious man he is.
However, I continue to find the Abbess much more manipulative and evil than many of the others. At least Count d'Albret is openly vile. The Abbess hides behind her Saint and uses him as an excuse for all of her commands, claiming that she knows best what he wants from his handmaidens. And then, in the quote above, more to hurt Sybella than for any other reason, she rubs it into Sybella's sensibilities that maybe she truly is d'Albret's daughter after all rather than Mortain's--a conflict that Sybella has been having in her head since the beginning of the book and that is slowly driving her mad.
On top of that, Sybella's newest hope had been built on the idea that she is a daughter of Mortain and serves his will. The sisters of the convent had always warned her about killing outside of Mortain's will, which would cast her out of his favor and damn her soul. This is the reason why Sybella had been hesitant to kill d'Albret without the death mark; and yet now the Abbess is rubbing that in her face as well.
It really makes me want to reach in and punch her in the face. It might actually be satisfying if Sybella can find the courage to do so in the end, and I look forward to something like that.
Progress on 11/11/16: 134 of 405 pages | 260 of 716 minutes (33%)
The connection between Sybella and Beast is much more complex than I had imagined, but not surprising. Between being d'Albret's daughter and this new revelation, I'm actually kind of giddy to see where this slowly budding relationship heads.
Things are getting most interesting indeed!
Progress on 11/11/16: 109 of 405 pages | 206 of 716 minutes (27%)
Keeping my eyes on his contorted little face, I change my plan. "I will not kill you. Just put you to sleep for a while. Just long enough to free the prisoner. You will have a goose egg on your head and can explain to the others how you were overpowered and were helpless to prevent the escape."
At the word escape the little man stills and cocks his head. He pauses for a long moment, then carefully steps away from the door and motions me toward it.
I frown. What trick is this?
"You want me to free him?" I ask.
Hmm... the plot thickens, but we're at a turning point in the book now that Sybella has no other choice but to find and free Beast as his time is running out. The little man who guards Beast in d'Albret's dungeons piqued my interest almost immediately. He doesn't speak and he has reflexes like a master acrobat--I am very intrigued.
And I'm ready for some more excitement outside of Sybella's continued undercover work, which is really putting a strain on her mentality. She's slowly becoming more and more fatalistic and that makes me really nervous.
Progress on 11/10/16: 97 of 405 pages | 182 of 716 minutes (24%)
We're getting closer to seeing Beast! I have to admit, he was one of my more favorite characters from the first book. I'm a little excited.
Meanwhile... the events surrounding Sybella and her family, as well as the incestuous feelings that her brother Julian doesn't bother to hide, makes me feel a bit squicky. The fact that she needs to play along in order to accomplish her assignment makes me feel for her, and I'm hoping that Sybella gets out of that situation soon.
Progress on 11/10/16: 65 of 405 pages | 112 of 716 minutes (16%)
I will quit the convent. She cannot force me to stay here. Tucked far away on her little island, she will not even know I have left.
Well, that escalated fast. As I recall from the first book, Sybella was always the wild card, needing to be coaxed to do anything at all, and having such an unpredictable will that I'd been surprised that she so willingly went on a mission that proved so emotionally trying for her.
Then again, at some point in time, I expect someone to put St. Mortain's Abbess in her place. She's all talk about Mortain's will all the time, but her decisions and manipulations have always been questionable. And deplorable.
Progress on 11/10/16: 57 of 405 pages | 100 of 716 minutes (14%)
I am part listening to this as an audio book, and part reading it on my Kindle as a print e-book. And so far, I'm really getting into the book, though I don't know if that is per influence of the audio narration, or because the book is just so easy to get into.
There is action from the outset, and we immediately learn that Sybella's world is a much different place than Ismae's had been from the first book. When other reviewers had mentioned how much darker the series is in this second installment, I had my reserves going by what the first book was like.
But, indeed, things are a bit darker, and so far, following Sybella's mission as she infiltrates her father the Baron d'Albret's home, we see just how dangerous this particular assignment is for Sybella, physically, mentally, and emotionally. If there ever were the classic dysfunctional family, I'm sure this one would be it. And honestly, I was quite surprised to learn that the nasty Baron d'Albret who'd been trying to gain possession of Duchess Anne, turned out to be Sybella's father.
Also with Sybella's assignment here, you also get to see another glimpse of how fallible the convent's direction is. While Sybella still doesn't see it, we've already gotten a taste of how the Convent of St. Mortain can be completely, and utterly wrong about what needs to happen and who needs to die. And once again, we also get to see how readily the girls of the convent are manipulated to do St. Mortain's work just because their Abbess decrees it so, because at the same time, the convent risks Sybella's safety and sanity in their supposed service to the Patron Saint of Death.
And we've already seen that Mortain works in ways that are not quite exclusive to the convent.
Anyway... bring on Beast! I can't wait for him to make his appearance, as it seems that he will be featuring prominently in this book.