This installment of the His Fair Assassin trilogy features Sybella, a novice of the convent of St. Mortain whose troubled past has driven her to the edge of madness. Chafing under the convent’s restrictions, Sybella is eager to receive her first assignment…until she learns that she’ll be staying in the household of the traitor D’Albret, who is waging war against the rightful duchess of Brittany. Not only is D’Albret faithless and cruel, but he also happens to be Sybella’s own father, the man who has made her entire life miserable. Sybella’s only hope is that the convent will allow her to kill him, but her actual orders are very different: She must rescue the Beast of Waroch, a skilled knight who is vital to the duchess’ cause, from D’Albret’s dungeons. As Sybella and the Beast engineer their escape, they begin to develop a strong bond. But will they reach the duchess in time to inform her of D’Albret’s latest treachery?
This book is very hard to summarize, mostly because it’s the second book in a series, and it definitely does not stand alone. The action essentially begins where the first book left off, and most of the major players have already been introduced. So if the premise of this book sounds interesting to you, I would definitely go back and read Grave Mercy first! If you’ve already read and enjoyed it, you’ll like this one too. As with the first book, there’s a nice mix of action, political maneuvering, and romance. I liked Sybella’s character but wished that the Beast had been fleshed out more; for this reason, I wasn’t totally captivated by the love story. The overarching plot of the duchess vs. D’Albret continues to be interesting, and I look forward to seeing what happens in the third book. I also want to learn more about the convent and its role in the political turmoil; there is definitely more going on there than meets the eye! As you can tell, I’m invested in the world of this series, and I highly recommend it to fans of YA and historical fantasy.