Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Size: 400 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Date: April 2, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the His Fair Assassin series
Source: ARC through Amazon Vine
Rating: 5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program to review. This is the second book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy. The third book will be titled, Mortal Heart, and is scheduled to release sometime in 2014. I liked this book even more than the first book in the series. I felt like there was more action, and enjoyed Sybella as a heroine a lot.
In the first book of this series we saw Sybella arrive at the convent of St. Mortain nearly insane with grief and rage. Then the convent asked the unspeakable of her, for her to return home as an agent of Death. Now she is forced to confront both her incredibly violent father and her brother, who loves her a bit too much. In such a wrong and miserable atmosphere she questions everything. Is she really doing Death’s work and helping protect the kingdom? Or does the convent of Mortain have an agenda of their own?
This was another great historical fantasy by LaFevers. The pace was excellent. The book has lots of intrigue, mystery, action, and some romance too. There isn’t as much romance as in the first book. This book is also much darker in tone. As far as time frame goes, this book starts right at the end of Grave Mercy and continues on in time from that point.
Sybella is a much different character from Ismae. In this book we found out why she was insane with grief and rage when she arrived at convent of St. Mortain. She is a dark character with a sharp sense of humor. She has endured a number of unspeakable things. There are parts of this book that are very violent as Sybella’s father is an incredibly cruel and violent person.
The Beast of Warwoch also features in this book. Sybella rescues him from imprisonment and the two find refuge in each other’s company. Little does Sybella know that her past is entwined with his. The Beast is a wonderful character; he is just as stubborn as Sybella and is tough enough to fight by her side and not flinch at her viciousness.
There are some uncomfortable topics broached in this novel; rape, torture, incest, infantcide....it’s all in here. It is all included in a way that is appropriate and is never overdone or glorified. Just a look out to readers who are uncomfortable reading about those topics. Sybella has had an incredibly tough life, and we are exposed to all of it.
There are some absolutely fantastic fighting scenes. My favorites were the ones where Sybella and the Beast fought side by side.
The plot is also well done full of mysteries and twists and turns that are very engaging. The main focus of the book is still to save Brittany from French rule.
The book is very well written, I liked it even better than Grave Mercy. I felt like it was a tighter and better paced story than Grave Mercy. The main storyline with Sybella is tied up nicely, but there is more to come to save Brittany from French rule.
Overall an absolutely excellent historical fantasy. I liked this book even better than Grave Mercy and I loved Grave Mercy. Sybella and the Beast are incredibly engaging characters. The plot is fast-paced and full of wonderful action scenes, excellent mystery, and heart-warming romance. This whole series is highly recommended to fans of historical fantasy.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- YA/MG Fantasy Reading Challenge
- 150+ Reading Challenge
- Young Adult Reading Challenge