Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Blog Tour - Q&A and Review: Courting Darkness (His Fair Assassin #4) by Robin LaFevers

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Hi friends! Today I'm very excited to be on the Courting Darkness blog tour!! Thank you Raincoast Books for the invite. I've loved Robin LaFevers's writing since reading the first His Fair Assassin book years ago. I'm over the moon excited we're getting more! Below, you can read a little Q&A I did with the author and see my thoughts on the first book in the new duology!

Courting Darkness by Robin LaFeversCourting Darkness
(His Fair Assassin #4)
by Robin LaFevers
February 5, 2019
512 pages

Goodreads      Indigo

Goodreads Summary:
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?

BCP: Hi Robin, as a huge fan of your books, I want to say thank you for returning to the world! It's been a few years since you finished Mortal Heart, what is it like returning to the story and continuing it? Was anything particularly challenging to get back into?

RL: You’re so welcome! I am thrilled to be back in that world—in many ways it is like coming home. A home with lots of nooks and crannies and hidden corners that haven’t been explored yet.

Honestly, the biggest challenge was overcoming the ergonomic issues that so plagued me during the writing of Dark Triumph and Mortal Heart. It wasn’t just my wrists or mousing hand, but my entire upper back and neck. Even more challenging was that the initial physical therapy sessions made it worse, until I found the right physical therapist. I had these character’s voices starting to talk to me, but was unable to write them down! I resorted to a voice recorder initially, then finally got my body strong enough to write again.

As for the story itself, there were a couple of difficulties. One, the main drama was moving away from Brittany—the land where the old gods were the strongest—to France, so how to continue to draw from those elements became more of a challenge. Not to mention the events that occur at the end of Mortal Heart—they turned so much of Mortain’s daughters’ world on its head! So trying to sort out what that would all mean, and how the actual physical logistics of that change would play out was quite a puzzle to sort out.

The other tricky part was juggling two POVs. I hadn’t done that before, but this story couldn’t be told from a single POV. That trickiness was compounded by the timing of when the two story lines actually cross. So finding ways to connect those stories before that was something that required a lot of thought and—let’s be honest—angst.

I'm so glad you're feeling well enough to write again! I loved reading the dual POVs. Thank you so much for introducing Genevieve to us and sharing all this with us today!

Robin LaFevers
About the Author:
Robin LaFevers was raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Bulfinch’s mythology, and 19th century poetry. It is not surprising she grew up to be a hopeless romantic.

Though 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.

While many of those answers still elude her, she was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever after with him in the foothills of southern California.

In addition to writing about teen assassin nuns in medieval Brittany, she writes books for middle grade readers, including the Theodosia books and the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series.

Website    Authors Goodreads


Let me start off this review by saying this- His Fair Assassin is my all-time favourite historical fiction series. I was thrilled when I saw the announcement for the new duology and my excitement was through the roof when I received an early copy to read (thank you Raincoast Books!). Courting Darkness is a most masterful addition!

I couldn't have asked for a better continuation to the original story! I recommend reading the previous books first as it'll help you better understand the political climate and how and why things are where they stand. Diving into Courting Darkness I was immediately transported back into this world full of dangers and deceits. While I don't usually enjoy reading about court politics this series does it so well it’s all I could do to keep my eyes glued to the pages for more.

Courting Darkness features a lot of moving pieces. Both in the sense of the physical location of the characters and their personal motivations. It's not a fast-paced nonstop action story but rather a politically-influenced mind game involving careful maneuvering and biding time. When the action does happen, they were no less bloody and emotional as guts were spilled, passion ignited and ploys revealed.

Aside from the breathtaking world, the characters- old and new, fascinated me with their every word and movement. Sybella bears a dark past but she was no less brave and gentle with others. "It takes far more courage to love than it does to hate. And even more courage than that to have faith in that love." (ARC, p. 325). She utilized her deadly skills in the best of ways. I love her sharp wit and precision.

I sympathized quite a bit with Genevieve. The time she spent waiting for the convent's summon had shaken her core beliefs. Her growing doubts and questions were only natural. "Time is the best salve for heart wounds. Reminding oneself of the small joys and comforts that can still be found in the world." (ARC, p. 101). Genevieve's actions spelled disaster but no one can deny she had good intentions. Hopefully her stubbornness and resolve will lead her to making amends. I've got my fingers and toes crossed she'll be in her element and truly shine in the next book.

Robin LaFevers's words were every bit as mesmerizing as I remembered them to be. Courting Darkness left me longing for more. I will have to reread all three of the His Fair Assassin books and Courting Darkness to relieve the pain of waiting for the next book!

5 CatsRipple Star
*I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and not affected in any way. All quotes were taken from the ARC I received.

Follow the blog tour for more Q&A and reviews!!

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  1. I'm not sure if I knew there was another Fair Assassins book. Love this series!

    Jen Ryland Reviews

    1. Yessss two more books including this one! So good Jen! You must read it :D


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