TITLE: Courting Darkness
AUTHOR: Robin LaFevers
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)
PUBLISHER: HMH Books for Young Readers
TARGET AUDIENCE: Young Adult
The publisher kindly sent me a physical copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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?
This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. And I liked it!
Courting Darkness follows two characters. First, we follow Sybella who accompanies the duchess Anne to France as she marries the French King. Second, we follow Genevieve who goes to the French Court to spy. The story is told through alternating chapters, which is I really enjoyed.
Both of these characters are incredibly strong. Their strength, though individual, shines through the pages. You’ll constantly feel a pull to these characters. It really made me enjoy them overall, and love them in the end.
The other thing I absolutely loved about this book is the writing! I’ve never read a book by Robin LaFevers before but boy, can she write! The writing is somewhat complex but so descriptive. It truly is immersive, and makes you feel like you’re right alongside these characters in the 1400s.
Courting Darkness is the start to a new duology. It is connected to LaFevers previous trilogy, His Fair Assassin. Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of the trilogy and never got a chance to read it. The author stated on Goodreads that you do not have to read the original trilogy to read this duology. However, I do feel like its necessary.
At times, the story lacks background information and character development. This is especially the case with Sybella, who is a character from the original trilogy. There is so much more of her I would like to discover. And, I feel at times I didn’t understand the whole concept of the Death’s Daughters. I think it would be a benefit to read the original series before diving into this one.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The writing and the characters are great. I’m definitely curious about the sequel!
Victoria: If Courting Darkness was a movie, who would you cast as the characters?
Robin: In my mind, I have always seen Sybella as a combination of a young Eva Green—that razor sharp wit, that cunning knowing!—and an even younger Catherine Zeta-Jones—that arrogant toss of her head, that playful but deadly challenge in her eye!
As for Genevieve, I think Astrid Bergès-Frisbey would be great in that role, bringing a very subtle sense of vulnerability to someone who, at first appearances, is so tough.
The men are harder. Beast has always been difficult to pin down, for while he is ugly, his personality is so attractive to me that it’s hard to find something that conveys the two. So maybe part Ray Stevenson, who played Dahomey in the 2004 movie King Arthur, part super grungy Chris Hemsworth in Snow White and the Huntsman. (I know Hemsworth isn’t ugly, but he almost is in that movie—plus his eyes have the same colour shifts that Beast’s do.)
Maraud is probably the most difficult because I only have an idea in my head—not one I’ve seen somewhere in real life. Actually, this might be a great question for your blog readers, as they probably have some better ideas!
About The Author
Robin LaFevers is the New York Times bestselling author of the His Fair Assassin Trilogy. While she has never trained as an assassin or joined a convent, she did attend Catholic school for three years, which instilled in her a deep fascination with sacred rituals and the concept of the divine. She has been on a search for answers to life’s mysteries ever since. She lives with her husband in the foothills of Southern California.
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Let’s Chat in the Comments!
Have you read the His Fair Assassin trilogy? If you were to cast Maraud, who would you choose? Do you plan on reading Courting Darkness?
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