By Robin LaFevers
My Rating: 4 / 5
This is the second book in the His Fair Assassin series, following Grave Mercy (which I really liked). Potential spoiler alert.
Here is the Goodreads summary:
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?
I was really excited to read this book, since I enjoyed the previous one so much. This book, much to my surprise and delight, focuses on Sybella, who I may like even more than I liked Ismae in Grave Mercy.
Sybella is such an interesting character. She carries around so much darkness and the horrors of her past were truly awful. Returning to D’Albret’s household seemed like a punishment to me, and I felt like I was on edge every second that she was there (and there certainly no lack of spying going on in that place!). Sybella’s growing doubt about Mortain, the convent, and its purposes was interesting to read about. I was, of course, also interested in the developments of the brewing conflict between the Duchess and D’Albret and their supporters.
I was also happy to see the return of Beast, and loved watching the friendship and relationship between him and Sybella develop. The two of them seem so tailor made for each other!
This book is so well written, and the historical elements are woven into the story in such a way that it all fits together; it doesn’t feel like reading a history lesson or that the setting threatens to take over the story. I know some readers find historical fiction dry or boring, but this book is full of action, and I for one loved reading the details of life in 15th-century France!
While there is a third book coming out later, this didn’t feel like the typical second book in a trilogy – no ‘middle book syndrome’ here! I am eagerly anticipating the next book, which I believe will focus on Annith. I can’t wait! I think if you love historical YA fiction, this series is a must-read!