Series: His Fair Assassin #2
Also in this series: Grave Mercy
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on April 2nd, 2013
Genres: Europe, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
My content rating: YA (Characters have sex, but it's not shown, Some violence)
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...
It’s official. I love this series. I don’t know what took me so long to catch up with the rest of the world (actually yes, I do – TIME – there just isn’t time to read ALL the books!), but I am so glad that I did!
This second book follows Sybella. Her story is woven together with Ismae’s, so we get to learn some of the things that were going on with Sybella while the later events in book one were happening, and then we see where the story goes from there. I personally loved Sybella’s story – it may have been my favorite of the three. It’s a little darker than the first book in the series, but it still has all of the things I loved from book one – fantastic worldbuilding, a rich history, twists and turns, romance, and characters with depth!
What I loved:
- Sybella’s secrets. Right from the very start of the book, we learn some really interesting information about who Sybella is and what her assignment has been. We also start to see some of the horrors that she lived through as a young girl that sent her to St. Mortain in the maddened state that she arrived. But Sybella’s full story unfolds throughout the book, and we learn more and more about her background as the book goes on. I loved delving into that mystery and learning about what has turned Sybella into the somewhat hard, wild girl who Ismae met in the first book. Sybella’s story is compelling, and I felt connected to her from the very start, making this a fantastic read!
- Complex family ties. Sybella’s family ties are hinted at in the synopsis, and it sounds horrible – and, well, it is. Not only does Sybella want to escape her past (and gain vengeance), but she doesn’t want anyone to know about her family ties because she is ashamed of who she is. Sybella learns as the book goes on that she is not defined by her family, and that she has proven her own worth. I also love that Sybella’s relationship with her family is complex – especially where it comes to her brothers. Sybella loves one of her brothers, and he adores her and wants to protect her, in many ways, but that love has been twisted because of the circumstances that they grew up in (as is hinted at in the synopsis). I love that LaFevers showed the confusion and pain that can come with this sort of relationship – and the ultimate conclusion is both satisfying and saddening.
- The romance. I absolutely adored the Beast in the first book, so I was so happy to see that he was going to be center stage in this book! I loved the fact that Sybella sees past his physical appearance to the proud, loyal and passionate man who would do anything for those he loves (and for his country). The romance started out looking like it was going to happen a little fast, but it actually took quite a while to develop, which made me very happy. I thought that Sybella and Beast were perfect for each other – both loyal, strong and fierce, but also vulnerable in many ways.
- The history. Once again, LaFevers managed to pull me into this 15th century world and the political intrigue that surrounded the duchess at the time. I absolutely adored this setting in the first book, and that didn’t change for book two!
- Quick turnaround. One character’s turnaround at the end of the book seemed to happen a little bit suddenly, and it felt a tiny bit convenient, but it worked so perfectly in other ways that I could forgive that.
Another fantastic book in the series!! In fact, I loved this series so much that I actually just moved right on to the third book (which is a feat for me since I’ve had such a hard time finishing series lately!). So, be watching for that final review. And, if you haven’t read this series yet, you are definitely missing out. Pick it up now!! I give this book 5/5 stars.
About the Author
Robin LaFevers was raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Bulfinch’s mythology, and 19th century poetry. It is not surprising she grew up to be a hopeless romantic.
Though she has never trained as an assassin or joined a convent, she did attend Catholic school for three years, which instilled in her a deep fascination with sacred rituals and the concept of the Divine. She has been on a search for answers to life’s mysteries ever since.
While many of those answers still elude her, she was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever after with him in the foothills of southern California.
In addition to writing about teen assassin nuns in medieval Brittany, she writes books for middle grade readers, including the Theodosia books and the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series.