Series: His Fair Assassin #2
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 2013
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
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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?
This series is so intense. Everything is life or death, and when you have plenty of moments when death would be preferable, it definitely keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.
After reading Grave Mercy, I wasn’t sure I was going to like Sybella. She came off kind of annoying, and I was convinced I wouldn’t like her anywhere near as much as I liked Ismae. Fortunately, I was wrong. Sybella has a very dynamic story, growing from a place a darkness and despair into that of a healthy, hopeful human being. She is a daughter of both Death and d’Albret, and she has to reconcile what that means. Her struggle to do so, with the adorable help of Beast, makes her a very endearing character.
Beast and Sybella have a lovely relationship. At first their banter is sarcastic and funny, but it slowly grows into a sweet friendship which eventually becomes romantic. I liked them as much as I liked Ismae and Duval, although there was more of an emphasis on the fact that Beast was really saving Sybella from a tortured existence (more so than Ismae).
So much of this book feels like a no-win scenario. That’s why Beast is so good for Sybella; he doesn’t believe in no win scenarios. He makes her believe there’s an alternative to the darkness she’s endured for so long.
The politics are still in full swing, with everyone trying to marry the Duchess off just to keep her away from d’Albret. France is invading. Everything looks rather grim for our heroes. But they forge on. The assassin nuns of St. Mortain are still as mysterious as ever, and I can’t wait to see more of their secrets revealed in the final book.
This is a great read for fans of historical fiction who are looking for a little something different. If the phrase “Assassin Nuns” sounds interesting to you, go pick up Grave Mercy.