When Sybella D'Albret was 14, she escaped her abusive family for the convent of Saint Mortain, patron god of Death and her father. There, she has trained to be an assassin and handmaiden to Death. She is ordered to return to the home she left behind to foil her father's plan to forcibly marry Duchess Anne, sovereign of Brittany. As part of this task, she must rescue the Beast of Waroch, Anne's most valiant soldier, and deliver him to her in Rennes. Sybella must escort Beast across their war-torn country while also escaping her father's henchmen and the French army. In the face of all this, Sybella is forced to come to terms with the secrets that haunt her and the demons that refuse to let her go.
Teen Student Reader (19):
I really love this book. It is so much richer and complex than it seems at first glance. The plot is excellent, and the character analysis is incredible! This is definitely an adventure novel, but at its core, this is the story of a young girl healing from abuse. Her journey is breathtaking to follow. Watching Sybella grow from a hurt and angry soul to someone who truly believes she is deserving of forgiveness is heart-achingly beautiful. Sybella is a genuinely likable character. She is thoughtful, strong, and incredibly protective.
This novel is an excellent pathway to examine gender-based violence as well as the grief and pain women endure in this world, and how women heal from the damage done to them. Even though this book is set hundreds of years ago, this book explores themes that are wildly relevant in today's day and age.
The pacing of the plot is also perfect; a lot happens, but nothing ever feels rushed, and while this is a heavy read, the plot is easy to keep up with. The other characters are really fleshed out and complement each other really well. Beast in particular, was such a treat to read, because he is so unlike other male leads in young adult novels. He is a dedicated warrior, but he is not battle-hardened; instead he is jovial and sweet and loves life fiercely. In this way, he is an excellent foil for Sybella.
Two words: Assassin nuns. There's a lot of action and strong characters. If you are interested in historical fantasy novels, this book is perfect.
This book features a lot of violence as well as a plethora of sexual situations. In addition, at the forefront of this novel is the physical and sexual abuse the main character has undergone.
This is the middle book in a trilogy that overlays historical fiction with social issues still relevant to modern times.
Despite being an historical fantasy novel, this book offers insight into the after-effects and trauma of abuse. As our teen reviewer notes, although the setting is Medieval Europe, there are parallels of human behavior that provide relevant conversation today.
16 and Up
15 and Up
Teen Student Volunteer. Reviewer Age: 19
Buy! This is a book I hope to reread in the future!