Courting Darkness (Courting Darkness Duology, #1)by Published 05 Feb 2019
|Courting Darkness (Courting Darkness Duology, #1).pdf|
|Publisher||HMH Books for Young Readers|
Death wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning…
Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.
Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.
As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about?
"Courting Darkness (Courting Darkness Duology, #1)" Reviews
HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS WAS GOING TO BE A THING???
I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE
I was a huge fan of the His Fair Assassin trilogy, so when I learned that there was going to be a spinoff duology, well, to say that I was thrilled would be an understatement. Courting Darkness picks up after the events from Mortal Heart and features both Sybella and Beast, two of my favorite characters! Sybella and her fellow handmaidens of Death are trying to come to terms with a world that does not include the presence that has always guided them. Now they are having to make difficult choices when before it had always been made for them. It is a rather stressful transition for them, created a lot of insecurities, but also ultimately made them stronger.
There was a building upon the previous storyline with the political environment and the struggles with the French. Sybella has been acting as lady in waiting for the duchess of Brittany and overseeing her transition to Queen of France as well as serving in the capacity of a handmaiden of sorts. There was also the addition of a new to us, but not really new to the trade, assassin nun who has been cooling her heels for years away from the French court and is now ready to take matters into her own hands. I can’t say that I was a big fan of her character, honestly, but she was interesting. The story is told alternating between these two storylines but with a common thread between them. There is plenty to love with this sizable story! It is fast paced and is truly a feast for the imagination.
It has been said that Courting Darkness can be read without having to have read any of the previous books in this world and that is true-ish. There are enough details and background in this story that you will not feel lost or that you are missing out. What this story will lack, I think, will be the punch that is delivered with having known the history behind the characters as well as the true sacrifices that had taken place up to that point. There was much that I loved in this story with amazing moments between the characters and there were parts that also left me reeling. Overall, Courting Darkness was an emotional read and I cannot wait to read this story’s continuation in book two!
This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
Find this review and more at The Genre Minx Book Reviews
Sybella will always be amazing!! 🙌🏻🙌🏻
I have loved the His Fair Assassin trilogy since the very gruesome, action packed beginning and as the series progressed, it only seemed to get better but not only was the writing better but but as the story grew, as the characters grew, so did the very heart of the story itself. I was so sad to say goodbye to all the wonderful daughters of Death. I felt like I grew with them. Became friends with them and most of all, I cared about them and wanted to see them all happy, in whatever way that meant for each of them.
When I learned that the series wasn't over but would in fact, have two more books added in a spin-off, I was beyond thrilled.
Courting Darkness was every bit as deliciously dark, enthralling and exciting as the first three books. With everything we have come to expect and love about LaFevers books, characters and her ability to weave a tale of gods and darkness and death that only she can do, it had me turning the pages and not wanting to put it down.
Every bit as enchanting as the first three, Courting Darkness will have you on edge, eagerly turning pages wanting to both devour it and make it last forever. I can not wait for more!
*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart
Two Words: Assassin Nuns
Courting Darkness is the first book in a new duology featuring Sybella from the His Fair Assassin Series. It can be read without any prior knowledge of the previous series as Robin LaFevers brings you up to speed, but I think you miss some of the magic of the Daughters of St Mortain (God of Death) if you didn’t read the original series set in this world. The story is told from two alternating PoVs. Both are daughters of St Mortain, training in the convent in all the ways of death. Sybella’s Pov is with the happening close to Anne of Brittainy. Genevieve is the other PoV and she has been a sleeper in the French court for five years with not a word from the convent, just waiting for her time to be activated.
Anne of Brittainy has been through a few possible engagements and one marriage by proxy to Maximillian of Austria trying to keep her dutchy intact. She might still be a young girl but she has played the game of politics for a long time. We pick back up with her as she is traveling to marry Charles VIII, King of France. This puts her in new dangerous territory as she will have far less direct power being married to a King. Anne will have to go head to head with Anne De Beaujeu, the current regent of France, who is going to make it difficult for Anne and Charles to get close to each other in her bid to hold onto the power she currently has.
“Women like her are worse than the men they serve. They cling hardest to the very rules that cage them, ruthlessly ensuring that all other women are equally trapped.”
Sybella’s book Dark Triumph was my favorite book of the original His Fair Assassins series. I was so excited to continue on with the Historic Fantasy revolving around Anne of Brittiany. To say expectations were high is an understatement. I loved Sybella in Courting Darkness, she has come a long way from the broken, cynical girl she used to be before falling in love with Beast. To see how she is now, the one who can find good in a situation and protect those who are innocent, is a fantastic facet of her character to see.
“You are not an apricot. You are a blade that has been brutally forged, painfully hammered, and wickedly honed. You are steel, not poison. You are deadly, not depraved. They are very different things, Sybella.”
Sybella has also made an enemy of the regent as she tries to minimize the humiliation Anne goes through before and after marriage to the King of France. Sybella had people to protect from her brother, Peirre D’Albret, and making an enemy of a powerful woman could put them in even more danger.
Genevieve reminded me a little of the old Sybella, in that she is adrift and alone, without a friend in the world. She hadn’t even finished her training at the covenant, before being placed as a sleeper in the French court and she feels lost, hoping and waiting for some word she is needed. Sybella had a way of making me like her even when she was trying to be a lone wolf, Genevieve’s character didn’t do that for me and so I found myself a little frustrated with her.
Genevieve wants to love and trust so badly, but she pushes any away that try to get close to her, thinking it will just make her weak. She has a connection with Marrow, a prisoner, in the castle where she lives. As they build a friendship, I had high hopes it would lead to a deeper connection but every time it gets close, she smashes it. As we got closer to the end of the book there was a scene, I was hoping would never happen, but it did and it really hit me emotionally how much I was really upset that Genevieve carried out that part of her plan. I remind myself she is young and hasn’t been in the fold of the covenant for so long, that her intentions were good, but the consequences might be dire.
“I had as many choices as you did. It is just that I have never seen shame in whoring nor understood the need to lie to oneself by dressing it up with silk and jewels.”
The prisoner, Marrow, that she ends up traveling with, is completely likeable on the other hand. He often carried their chapters, as I really adored the man and his heart. I liked how honorable he was and you could tell he is a good man to the core. I look forward to seeing him in the next book and wonder if we might even get a PoV from him.
Between the two PoVs, we get a really good indications of the strife and challenges happening in France at this time. It is also clear there are some big changes happening and plots afoot not only against Anne, but possibly against the King as well.
I enjoyed this new book set in a world I once loved. I’m very curious to see how things play out now that everything has been set in motion and have high hopes for the conclusion. I’m not sure I liked it as much as the original trilogy, but that has a lot to do with being frustrated with Genevieve and not liking some stuff near the end of the book. Still overall it was a satisfying tale and a good sign that I was so emotionally invested in the story.
I would still recommend starting with Grave Mercy as it sets up the world in this series so well.
Angela Goethais is back as the voice of Sybella. She does a solid job capturing the complex emotion Sybella is feeling in her new role and surrounded by enemies. Suzy Jackson also gives a strong performance. I really enjoyed her in Skyward and continue to find her voice fills out the narration well. While Genevieve drove me a little nuts, it wasn’t due to Suzy.
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