Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

This post contains a review and a bookish manicure.




Published: April 2, 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Source: purchased
Rating: 4 stars

From the blurb: 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...

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFever is the sequel to Grave Mercy, set in Brittany. This time the story is told from Sybella’s perspective, a fellow sister of Ismae’s from the Abbey of St Mortain. Sybella is living in Alain D’Albret’s castle, along with his sons Julian and Pierre. She awaiting instructions from the abbey, but they never seem to be the order she wants, that is to kill D’Albret. Instead she must rescue Benebic de Waroch, better known as The Beast.

I enjoyed Grave Mercy, but right from the start of Dark Triumph I knew I was going to like it even more. Lady Sybella is a much stronger character than Ismae, she’s more knowledgeable, decisive, and experienced. Another reason is all the set up happened in book one, so we were able to dive right into her story, without all the information about the abbey and what the Sisters of St Mortain do.

Early on in her story Sybella reveals information about her family and hints at horrible events that have occurred over the course of her life. Knowing these things allows the reader to see her in a new light. She’s rash, brave, and cold because she has to be. But she’s also fiercely loyal and protective, preferring to put herself in danger rather than any of her loved ones. Her interactions with Benebic were entertaining - in any another story they would have been frustrating, but because of her history, it’s obvious that she feels as though she doesn't deserve to be loved, and her behaviour towards him reflects this.

LaFevers really knows how to set a scene, these story felt tense all the way through, I couldn't stop worrying about Sybella due to the constant threat of D’Albret’s revenge, couple with the approaching French troops.
Dark Triumph is a perfect sequel, no time is wasted and the story moved at a good pace, covering more ground and information, following characters I’d already come to love. The final book in the trilogy, Mortal Heart, is due out later this year, and I for one cannot wait!


I love the cover for these books and seeing as I did a mani for Grave Mercy, I figured I’d do one for Dark Triumph, too!

On all fingers excluding my ring nail I used 2 coats of Natio Aura.


Once dry I used 2 coats of Ulta3 Get Teal to do a Ruffian look on each nail – I wanted the gold to mimic Sybella’s hood. I also used 2 coats of Ulta3 Get Teal on my ring nail.



I used acrylic paint to do the design from the fabric of her dress as well as her blade.



32 comments:

  1. Dark Triumph was so much darker but I loved it! I can't wait for Mortal Heart.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  2. What a lovely manicure inspired by the cover!

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  3. Like you, Mandee, I enjoyed this tale far more than I did its predecessor. It was certainly darker but the romance had a flavor of complexity that kept me up late into the night. I absolutely LOVE these nails - the gold edges are such a creative addition! You never fail to keep astounding me with your talent, Mandee. :)

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    1. It was such a great sequel, and thank you!

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  4. I have heard good things about this series, I will have to check it out! Love the backwards french!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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  5. I liked this one better too, but the first is still great. I can't wait for the third one!

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  6. Love the nails! that's cool you liked the second book even more than the first; that's a bit rare!

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  7. I still need to crack open my copy of Grave Mercy but I *had* to know how you liked Dark Triumph! I also needed to check our your lovely mani ♥ I'm thrilled that you enjoyed this one even more than book 1 - I skipped over the finer details here to avoid anything even mildly spoiler-y but nothing makes me happier than a sequel surpassing it's predecessor :-D Fantastic review & nails Mands ^^ xx

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    1. I think you will love both books, Mich! Thank you :)

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  8. I am planning on listening to this very soon. I loved the first one when I finally got around to it last summer, and I think this one is going to be even better like you said. Sybella is such a strong character, I am anxious to know more about her, and I m dying to see what happened to Beast.

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  9. It's funny because I remember when Grace Mercy was all over the blogosphere, yet this is the first time I've ever seen or heard about the sequel. Strange. I'm glad you enjoyed this one so much! It's a rare thing liking the sequel better than the first!

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    1. I know, it feels as though the sequel was forgotten about, or went unnoticed, which is a shame!

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  10. I enjoyed this one even more than Grave Mercy as well, Mandee. Sybella did go through so much! I felt horrible for her and she really deserved the gentle giant Beast. I thought the romance was lovely and surprising. Great review!

    The nails look wonderful! :)

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  11. I'm one of rare people who didn't enjoy Dark Triumph as much as Grave Mercy. It's great that we saw another side of the story and all that, but some parts of this book were so dark and violent that I was really terrified. Ismae was great character for sure. Great review, Mands :)

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  12. I also loved this more than Grave Mercy, and it was fantastic to jump right into the story with no setup required any longer. Sybella is definitely my favorite heroine in this series, and I also couldn't stop worrying for her, D'Albret is a horrid man. *shivers* What gorgeous nails you've done for this - I just love the dagger nails these books inspire, they're so fierce! :-)

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  13. I loved Sybella so much. You're right, it was a great sequel because we could get right into the action. Can't wait for book 3!

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  14. I've heard heaps of awesome things about Grave Mercy, glad to hear you enjoyed Dark Triumph as well. Another book on my TBR that I haven't had time to read. Lovely review and Manicure!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. I know how you feel, so many books, so little time!

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  15. Cool dagger nail art! I still haven't started this series - so many books to catch up on! Glad you were pleased with this one.

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