Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
*****There is a minor spoiler in this review, if you HAVEN'T read Grave Mercy yet.*****
[Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this e-book from NetGalley.]
4 stars instead of only 3, because I thought this one was *better* than Grave Mercy (although my review may not show it).
My main problems with this book are as follows:
1. Sybella and Ismae have an almost identical voice. They wonder about different things, and are concerned with different aspects of their relationship with Mortain, but they "speak" exactly the same. Without having read the description of this one and simply jumping in as soon as I finished Grave Mercy, I was a little confused because it sounded like the same person speaking, but with a different background. A few paragraphs in I realized it was Sybella, not Ismae.
2. There is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much narrated angst. This bothered me in Grave Mercy, but having read Dark Triumph immediately after finishing the first one, it was overkill. I love getting inside a character's head, but Sybella and Ismae are almost *too much* in their own heads. And it's typical teen girl angst, because they are all of 17 or 18 (I'm not sure how old Sybella is but I am guessing around Ismae's age), and outside of planning how to kill someone, they don't stop to think things through. They immediately jump to the worst possible conclusion ("I'm a something-or-other, I'm an awful person, he must hate me, now that he knows who I am I'm not going to look at him because he probably hates me even though it's not my fault and I don't know that for sure and there's no way I can possibly talk to him about it because that would be too awful because he probably hates me blah blah blah.").
3. While Ismae's and Sybella's stories differ greatly in the details (Sybella's story is much more complex and tragic, and frankly, interesting), they follow almost the exact same linear path. They are thrust into an assignment they don't want, their plans get ruined, they end up taking a detour and falling in love, and they almost lose that love to death, and then Mortain shows up and tells them how much he loves them, their eyes are opened, and they can go back to battle with complete clarity, understanding who they are and what they need to do.
4. Again, the ending to this was no ending. I know, series, continuation, cliffhanger, blah-de-blah.
But I liked the story and I liked getting further into the historically fictional conflict. It was interesting and fast-paced and kept me interested for the couple of days it took to get through it. Recommended with reservations. Hopefully I'll get to read the third book, although I have a feeling it's going to be much the same as books 1 and 2.
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