ARC Review: “Courting Darkness” by Robin LaFevers

His Fair Assassin trilogy is a series that got better with each book. I can’t help but scream “Assassin nuns!” when people say they want to read something “different.” When the author announced there would be two more books in the series, I was excited. While Courting Darkness was good, there were a variety of things I didn’t care for in the book, which left me wondering if I should pretend the series is really just a trilogy.

I picked up this ARC from my local indie bookstore, where they have a “buy a book, get a book” (normally an ARC) thing going on. I had hoped to review it before its release date but unfortunately, time slipped away from me.

courting darknessTitle: Courting Darkness (Courting Darkness Duology #1)
Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release date: February 5, 2019
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, fantasy
Length: 498 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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?”

new three stars

new my thoughts

plot text
I’ve read a few books this year with slow plots, and it’s a real struggle to continue reading. With that being said, as slow as the plot in Courting Darkness was I was often eager to return to this world, but was also torn between wanting to DNF this book. Sybella’s initial book, Dark Triumph, is my favorite in this series, so I was excited that this book is about her. I enjoy her as a character (more about that below) and what she’s done to survive and be where she is. I also loved the court politics and political intrigue, which I think LaFevers is great at, especially how she interwove both Sybella and Genevieve’s story. The fact that we’re introduced to another daughter of Saint Mortain will make the final book quite interesting, considering the events of this book.

Oh boy, do I just love Sybella. I like Genevieve, too, but after the events of the latter half of the book, I’m intrigued enough to read the next book and see how LaFevers handles it all. It was fun reuniting with these characters from the previous series and how confident they remain in the duchess Anne and their loyalty to their country. I enjoyed getting to know Genevieve and I genuinely like her as a character. I really think she and Sybella are on equal grounds in terms of how they think and plan situations. I also liked the introduction of a new character who later became a possible romantic interest for Gen. I love how confident she is, too, and goes after exactly what she wants and doesn’t mind waiting for it.

This story is told in both Sybella and Gen’s POV. I found them both to be incredibly mature in ways I as a seventeen-year-old certainly wouldn’t have been. While I don’t mind multiple POVs, I thought the chapters were very short, which made me unable to connect to the characters on a better level. I felt like once you became really interested in the chapter, it ended, sweeping you off to the other character. I definitely think longer chapters would have fixed this problem.

writing style text
LaFevers is a fantastic writer, and I really think that’s what kept me invested in the story. If you enjoy court politics and political intrigue novels, pick up this book. I believe LaFevers mentioned that you can read this book without reading the first three books in the series, and while I think that’s true (as she does a great job giving details of what happened in the previous books), I also think you’ll be missing out on a lot of important stuff. LaFever is such a precise and detailed writer, reading was simply a joy despite the problems I had with the book.

You can purchase this book from Amazon (less than $9!), Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, or find it at your local indie through IndieBound.

If you’re a teen and would like for me to link your review in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact me

2 thoughts on “ARC Review: “Courting Darkness” by Robin LaFevers

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