COURTING DARKNESS by Robin LaFevers
Kirkus Star

COURTING DARKNESS

From the "Courting Darkness" series, volume 1
Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

History, intrigue, and peril in 15th-century Brittany and France.

It’s 1489. Sybella, a trained assassin, escorts Brittany’s duchess to France to marry King Charles. The duchess promises, when queen, to protect Sybella’s young sisters from their brother’s house, where the men molested Sybella (Dark Triumph, 2013). Having changed the nature of death (incomprehensibly) in Mortal Heart (2014), LaFevers ignores that and focuses on Sybella’s doubt about how to serve her father, Mortain—the god of Death—without the black marques that previously showed her whom to kill. Meanwhile, Genevieve, another assassin/daughter of Mortain, languishes in an undercover placement in France, instruction-less—so she builds herself a plan. Sybella and Genevieve have brilliant skills—killing, scheming, spying, protecting, and sometimes finding Mortain’s grace—but everyone who holds power abuses it terribly. Danger’s everywhere—rape, murder—and love is a risk. Will Sybella and Genevieve find each other, or even learn each other’s information, before things come crashing down? They alternate narrating in first-person present, with great immediacy. This rich tapestry of intrigue, betrayal, trauma, protection, old religion, and historically based politics resurrects the urgency and depth of the His Fair Assassin series—but must be read after the others (“new duology” label notwithstanding). Contrary to the reality of early modern Europe, all characters default to white.

Sharp and breathless, full of anger and strength. May the sequel hurry. (character list, map, author’s note) (Historical thriller. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 5th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-544-99119-4
Page count: 512pp
Publisher: HMH Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2018




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