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Tag Archives: author: lafevers

dtDark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by RL LaFevers
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

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. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella 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. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. 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?

This heart-pounding sequel to Grave Mercy serves betrayal, treachery, and danger in equal measure, bringing readers back to fifteenth century Brittany and will keep them on the edge of their seats.

Review:
Oh man, Sybella. Poor Sybella. I just…there is so much to say! I’ll start by saying I absolutely loved Grave Mercy, but Ismae is a much different narrator than Sybella (which is a testament to LaFevers’ skill, really), and is much more innocent and sweet and pious. Sybella has been abused for her whole life, brought up in horrors, from her father to her brothers (ew, ew, ew, ew), to just about everyone else in her father’s service. She’s broken in a lot of ways, and has been mad twice, and is just generally in a bad state. When we saw Sybella briefly in Grave Mercy, Ismae was concerned for her, and she had every right to be. Sybella’s mission is a dangerous one, and I like how we see how scheming the abbess is. Sybella sees the convent and the abbess in a different way than Ismae, and I think Sybella is on the right track. The questioning of faith and leadership in this one is great. Dark Triumph is less about politics, more about personal growth. There are definitely scenes with the duchess and political intrigue, but this novel is about Sybella learning to forgive herself and open up to love. It’s really quite nice.

I don’t think I liked this one more than its predecessor, but I liked it very much. I felt the beginning was kind of slow; things didn’t pick up for me until about a third of the way through. It took me a week to get through that first third, and then I read the rest in a single night. The love story is such a slow burn, I really liked it. Sybella is more experienced in the ways of love than Ismae, so it was nice and interesting to see something unfold from that perspective. Plus I love an alternative love interest like the ugly Beast of Waroch. Reminds me of Terrible in the Downside Ghosts series. Plus y’all know I love a good coming of age tale, even if this one was a little more brutal than most. However…Sybella’s life has been awful. Near the end of the book, a lot of things come out, sordid secrets, and they’re all horrifying. It is hard to read sometimes, especially when the horrors involve young children. So while I wasn’t as completely wild about Sybella’s story, it still pulled me in, made me laugh, broke my heart, and left me wanting more. Which will be Annith’s story, Mortal Heart! We have to wait another year for it, but I trust that LaFevers will make the wait completely worth it.


Top Ten Tuesday is a new thing we are trying at yAdultReview, because, well why not? Plus, we know Ashley loves her some lists, and Tina just likes Ashley being happy, so ta-da!  For our blog generally Ashley will be number 1-5, and Tina will be 6-10.

In the words of The Broke and the Bookish who host the feature:

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

  1. tcoeGrave Mercy — I honestly thought I’d not like this book. It’s not what I would call an Ashley book. And my review is coming soon, but let me say I devoured it. I couldn’t put it down and I couldn’t recommend it fast enough.
  2. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe — I recently told my friend I could live inside of this book and I could. It’s perfect, lovely and a bit heartbreaking all at once. It makes me feel like I’m home. I reviewed it here.
  3. The Girl of Fire and Thorns — Everyone in the world love and adored this book. I did not sadly. I thought it was just okay. But thankfully we have Tina on this blog and she loved it and reviewed it.
  4. Something Strange and Deadly — The book I started something new with. I didn’t finish it. Talked about it here.
  5. Carrier of the Mark — Thinking of this book causes me pain. It could have been something good, and instead turned into a book that makes me rage.
  6. Poison — I should have loved this one, because I always like fairy tale retellings and especially plucky brunette teenagers with magic. It just didn’t work for me though. The whole story was too juvenile, and I thought the author did a lot of telling instead of showing. Still cute though.
  7. Unspoken — I did not expect to like this one as much as I did after the beginning of the book. I thought it was going to be like angsty fanfiction, with the typical oblivious girl and the guy with the hard life and attitude problems. But I really love 6527740SRB’s writing style, and the whole thing turned into something deliciously sad and complex.
  8. Vampire Academy — I resisted starting these books SO HARD because I read Mead’s urban fantasy series and hated it. Despite my feelings on the final few books in the series, I loved reading about Rose Hathaway and her adventures in Moroi society.
  9. Magisterium — I love sci-fi. I’m basically the sci-fi queen here at YAR and I was at our old blog as well. This one just did not do it for me. I think it had a lot to do with the protagonist being the same stubborn, uninformed protag as usual, but I also found myself not caring what happened to anyone in the story only a few chapters in.
  10. Innocent Darkness — In addition to being the sci-fi queen, I also love fairies to the point of distraction. Alternate history plus fairies plus Victorian era should have been a five star novel for me. Sadly, not so much. The problem with a lot of fairy novels is they tend to descend into morality tales in which fairies learn to appreciate human morality. Usually it becomes a misogynistic sob story. This one…wasn’t for me.

Top Ten Tuesday is a new thing we are trying at yAdultReview, because, well why not? Plus, we know Ashley loves her some lists, and Tina just likes Ashley being happy, so ta-da!  For our blog generally Ashley will be number 1-5, and Tina will be 6-10. This week was a rewind that allowed us to go back and pick a topic we weren’t able to touch on.

In the words of The Broke and the Bookish who host the feature:

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

  1. Kendare Blake. Hands down didn’t even need to think twice about this. Tina and I joke that she is one of the patron saints of this blog. Ignore the fact that Tina and I are lapsed Catholics. But Kendare and I talk a lot on twitter and livejournal and I actually feel like she’s a friend of mine. Mostly because we harass each other about baseball teams.
  2. Nora Roberts. Be still my romance heart. I would love to meet Nora Roberts.
  3. Michelle Gagnon, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.
  4. Kasie West, who I told when she comes to Arizona I’m stalking her. But it’s cool, she’s okay with it because she’s awesome like that and jokes right back with me!
  5. Erin Bowman, who I bonded with on twitter with my brilliant use of amazeballs and bothering her on a daily basis. Thanks Erin!
  6. Lisa McMann. Yeah. Do I need to explain this one? Just look at her tag on this blog. Enough said. (Ashley note: The other patron saint of our blog. Yes, we have two.)
  7. Kendare Blake. As Ash mentioned above, Kendare is the patron saint of yAR. Even though she’s a Twins fan. She did write Cas Lowood, so she gets a break for her terrible taste in baseball teams.
  8. Robin LaFevers. She writes the most beautiful prose, and I would love to talk to her about medieval Brittany.
  9. Holly Black. HOLLY BLACK IS MY FAVORITE. I mean, one of them. I love her. Her Modern Faerie Tales novels were one of the first paranormal YA series I’ve ever read, which led me to Curse Workers, which I loved like crazy. Another male narrator! I actually think we’re meeting her at ALA this year, and I told Ash I will not be responsible for my actions.
  10. Sarah Rees Brennan. Sarah is hilarious on twitter, and she loves to make fun of us poor fans heartbroken over Unspoken. She claims she talks like her characters, which means she is witty and funny in real life, and I have a feeling she would be a lot of fun to drink wine with.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to talk about the books that you’re eagerly waiting to be released.

Tina is waiting on…

dt

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by RL LaFevers
Release Date: April 2, 2013

Why Tina is waiting for it:
LaFevers’ first novel in this series, Grave Mercy, blew me away last year. It was a beautiful blend of horror and darkness, love and light. Ismae is one of my all-time favorite protagonists, and her sister in Mortain, Sybella, was so very mysterious, I was dying to know more about her situation. And from the summary, it looks like Sybella’s story will be even darker and more heart-wrenching than Ismae’s, and I am on the edge of my seat waiting for it. I’m not as psyched about this cover as I was about Grave Mercy‘s, but honestly that does not matter to me in the least. (Did I mention I have an iPhone named Ismae and a Kindle Fire named Sybella? Because, yeah. I totally do.)


Top Ten Tuesday is a new thing we are trying at yAdultReview, because, well why not? Plus, we know Ashley loves her some lists, and Tina just likes Ashley being happy, so ta-da!  For our blog generally Ashley will be number 1-5, and Tina will be 6-10.

In the words of The Broke and the Bookish who host the feature:

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Limiting this down to five is hard enough for both of us, but we shall prevail!

  1. Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger. Really, are you shocked? Really? I know you aren’t. But it’s nice of109059 you to act shocked. This is my go-to feel good book. I feel the need to re-read it now that I’m thinking about it. The characters, the plot, everything just makes me happy.
  2. Crash by Lisa McMann. Lisa McMann, 2 me u r purrfect. No really. I love and adore this book. If anything the only thing that upsets me is that books 2-4 aren’t out yet and I need to know and I need to know what happens now. But Crash is such a quick read that I can’t help but recommend it to people.
  3. Scaredy Squirrel Series by Mélanie Watt. I never reviewed the series here, but this is hands down one of my favorite children’s series. My BFFSarah and I found this series when we worked together at a public library and we still patiently wait for the next in the series to come out. I just got an ARC of Scaredy Squirrel goes camping and I can’t wait to read it.
  4. Matilda by Roald Dahl. A girl who loves to read and has magical powers, what more does one want from a Roald Dahl novel?
  5. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. While the rest of my JR high class was reading the classics and usual middle grade books, I was reading trashy romance novels. This is probably why most “smut” doesn’t phase me. Because when you read it at 12/13 it takes a lot to make you shocked. This book is my idea of a perfect contemporary romance that helped Crusie move her way into my favorites/must read list.
  6. Grave Mercy by RL LaFevers. Just read my review. Seriously. Angsty gothic perfection.crash
  7. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. This is one of the best YA fantasy novels in existence. Seriously. An awesome heroine, a backburner romance, dragons, and a princess is who more than she seems. I cannot wait for the next novel. (Review.)
  8. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Another simply fantastic YA fantasy novel. I loved the Darkling, who is a villain in the best way, and I also loved the unrequited love Alina had for Mal. The way citizens were twisted by magic was grotesque in this one, and I loved how Bardugo made the Grisha society seem so lush. Worldbuilding was beyond perfect in this one. Dark, dark, dark. (Review.)
  9. Crash by Lisa McMann. Once again: read the review. This book blew me away, but that’s nothing new for a novel by McMann.
  10. Divergent by Veronica Roth. Still at the top of my list for best YA dystopia. This one just does it so well, and not only because it takes place in my beloved city. Tris and Four had such an awesome romantic unfolding, and Roth is not afraid to maim or kill her darlings. I love that in a YA author. There are so few willing to do so.

gmGrave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by RL LaFevers
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: NetGalley
Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Review:
So yeah, I loved this book from the very beginning. It’s written beautifully, not really stylistically, but with a nice formal feel. It reminded me a little of the way Jacqueline Carey writes the Kushiel series. It’s just so dark and gothy, and I love Ismae’s name. I mean, these women are like angels of death. How could I not love that? I am also a sucker for “your organization is lying to you” type plots, so when Gavriel Duval shows up, causing Ismae to question not only her organization, but her feelings about men in general…well, there was no going back for me. Something else of note: in the beginning we also meet Sybella, and when she disappeared after a chapter, I found myself wanting more from her as well as Ismae. Something I wondered as I was reading the beginning was, how can this girl, who flinches at every sound, every touch, possibly be considered ready for an assignment of this magnitude? I mean, I know it’s a novel and we wouldn’t have a story otherwise, but I thought it was a huge oversight on the abbess’ part. I was also slightly annoyed by the old “I don’t understand my body” trope, where the protag doesn’t get why her stomach feels funny whenever they see their romantic interest. Come on!

Duval brings up all kinds of good points. How does Ismae know the convent follows the word of Mortain and not their own interests? I started to suspect that Duval had a marque, just because he was so interested in them. And when we haven’t heard from Sybella since that early chapter, I decided I had a theory. The convent plans for treason and uses hurt orphaned girls to get it. Since we know Ismae will eventually be tasked with killing Duval, I don’t think that’s too far-fetched, especially considering what we learn around him in the beginning. When Ismae is faced with an accusation of treason against Duval, from one of his enemies no less, I was disappointed that she bought it so fast. Duval has a clearly antagonistic relationship with his mother, he is very clearly devoted to the Duchess, and there’s been literally no indication that he’s a traitor. Luckily, Ismae is not a moron, and confronts Duval as soon as she can. So I’m not tempted to spoil, let me just say that the twelve-year-old Duchess is amazing and hardcore and at the same time a sympathetic character. I liked her and her sick sister, Isabeau, a lot.

We do finally see Sybella again, but I want to save everything else for you to read! The plot really starts moving quickly around the three-quarter mark, and then we learn who Ismae is destined to kill. Things are so intense and I just felt for Ismae and Anne and Isabeau so much, but they didn’t need it. They were all so strong, and even though this one had its flaws, I think they were perfect. This book is so lushly written, and I usually hate stuff like that, but this one just worked for me. Maybe the gothy elements helped, since I was a bit gothy myself in high school, but I also think it was the story. I thought it was a strong one, with a few weak points, but I was so engrossed that I’m willing to overlook any weaknesses. I think this one is great, and it’s only my second five-star book of the year! If you like dark alt-historical fiction (the paranormal is so slight as to almost not exist), this one is definitely for you.

P.S. The next book is about Sybella! My face will be all 🙂 all day now!