Dark Triumph — Very Dark YA Fantasy, Indeed
I have grown to love dark YA fantasy, which I never would have guessed until The Fury Triad wormed its way into my brain. At the time I “knew” it couldn’t be YA because “too dark” and various other misconceptions about what YA books actually are. Now that I have realized that YA books, and in particular YA fantasy romance, are far more complex and sometimes dark than I ever dreamed, I am having to go back and relabel my seires wherever possible. That includes bringing out 2nd editions with a few extras and new BISAC labels. But on to the show!
I have to admit, I had to cheat to write this review. Okay, I don’t really consider it cheating. I just decided I didn’t trust my own reactions to the book. You see, I listened to it in audio as I do most of my books these days, and by the time it ended I had a sneaking suspicion that if I’d read it, I might have given it five stars instead of four. And I really wondered about that, so I went to goodreads and read a handful of reviews there. And I asked trusted reader Gloriamarie what she thought about it, and that sealed the deal. She gave it five stars and her reasons were exactly as I suspected.
And yes, I am now convinced that had the book been read by a reader that fit my idea of how it should sound and be read, I would have given it five stars. Had I read it [but you see, I wouldn’t have, because these days I simply don’t take time to sit and read; if I’m sitting I’m writing and working] I would have given it five stars, and thus I am with confidence giving it five stars.
Grave Mercy, the first book in the His Fair Assassin series, was dark in premise. This book took it much darker in action, in motivation, in back story for our main character. I felt it wasn’t handled with quite enough dramatic impact but also suspected it was because the reader’s American accent [which is totally all about me, since I know most people wouldn’t care] felt less believable for a story set in the dark ages. Also, I felt she didn’t have the gravitas and/or acting chops to pull off the truly emotionally hard-hitting reveals. Again, that was for me.
But there’s no doubt the story itself went places most people think YA fiction wouldn’t touch. And it is all part of such a richly drawn historical tapestry, yes, five stars.
The convent has returned Sybella to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?
I especially liked that certain characters were given a chance for healing and redemption, and won’t go further than that because spoilers. I hate spoilers and certainly don’t want to be responsible for giving them myself.
If you like dark historical fantasies, this one is definitely for you, but start with My Fair Assassin. It’s a great series and worth reading in order.
Do you like dark YA fantasy? Have you read any? Leave me your suggestions in comments, please!