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Dark Triumph Robin LaFevers

Dark Triumph

A kingdom in jeopardy. A convent of female assassins trained in the deadliest of arts. Three handmaidens of Death who will fight to save their home from enemies on all sides. We heard Ismae’s story in Grave Mercy; next up is the enigmatic Sybella in Dark Triumph, Book 2 of Robin LaFevers’ excellent His Fair Assassins trilogy. Dark Triumph doesn’t come out until April 2, but we’ve got an exclusive trailer and a playlist for the book below that will hopefully make these next two months seem a bit more bearable.

Before penning His Fair Assassins, LaFevers was mostly known for her children’s chapter books. “I knew I wanted to write this bigger, sort of darker, sort of epic, kind of rip-your-heart-out type of book,” she told EW over the phone. “And I couldn’t do that for 11-year-olds.” She was set on writing historical fiction, she just wasn’t sure what the context should be. “It was my hobby. I would research it — find these obscure medieval maps on Google, castle floor plans in medieval Brittany — and as I researched the area, I knew I wanted it to take place on a historical backdrop because I love when I read something and I found out there’s elements of truth to it. So I found this true story of this 12-year-old duchess who inherited a kingdom and was besieged by suitors on all fronts. And I thought, well that’s perfect.”

It’s always tricky to switch protagonists in a series, but for LaFevers the difficult thing was keeping Sybella from stealing the show in the first book. “Sybella kind of leaped off the page right away. I had to work really hard to keep her boxed in [in Grave Mercy],” the author said. “But I knew the minute she showed up on the page she was going to be a big character.”

LaFevers added that she’s not a huge fan of prolonging a protagonist’s story beyond one book. “It can be really frustrating for the reader to have to wait a year to find out how people you care about end up,” she said. “I also think that books, for the most part, should be about influential moments in [the protagonist’s] life, and it’s kind of hard to draw that out. So it felt right to end Ismae’s story with the first book [and move onto Sybella’s].”

So how is Sybella’s story different from Ismae’s? “Sybella has a much darker and more traumatic past, and she’s far angrier and a lot more unstable than Ismae ever was,” LaFevers revealed. “She has so many of her own dark impulses that she has to struggle to control and she sees herself as being so damaged. Some of that was through her own choices, and those choices have really haunted her. In some ways, she was the instrument of her own destruction. For Ismae, love was something that opened her world up and helped her see beyond her simplistic black-and-white views. For Sybella, love is more of a step away from the dark edge she’s teetering on, a path for her to make her way towards healing and hope, and ultimately forgiveness and redemption.”

Check out the trailer and playlist (complete with LaFevers’ notes on the song choices!) for Dark Triumph below:

Robin LaFevers’ Dark Triumph playlist:

“Voodoo” — Godsmack

“Awake My Soul” — Mumford & Sons

“Pumped Up Kicks” — Foster The People (The medieval version in my head substitutes the word arrows for bullets.)

“Little Lion Man” — Mumford & Sons

“Howlin’ For You” — The Black Keys (Another medieval assassin substitution — aiming for you instead of howlin’ for you.)

“Thistle & Weeds” — Mumford & Sons

“I Gave You All” — Mumford & Sons

“Roll Away Your Stone” — Mumford & Sons

Are you excited for Dark Triumph?

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