Published: February 5, 2019
Read as: US hardcover and audiobook from Audible
Average Goodreads rating (as of this date): 3.93
My rating: 3.5 rounded to 4
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?
You are a blade that has been brutally forged, painfully hammered, and wickedly honed. You are steel, not poison. You are deadly, not depraved.
Where do I begin. I mentioned in a previous post that I purchased this book not realizing it was a continuation/companion series of another series of books…which of course I hadn’t read. Having realized that, after I purchased this book it sat on my shelves for months until finally one day, knowing I was going to have to sit in a waiting room for upwards of two hours, I snatched this book off the shelf at random to take with me.
I am rather glad that I did.
Having not read the previous series that this book’s world was based off of I was afraid that I would be lost on how things worked or who the characters were. I’m happy to say that wasn’t the case in the slightest.
We jump straight into things in this story and instead of getting an info dump at the beginning to explain the magic etc we are given information as we need it. When authors choose to do that instead of doing an info dump I am always pleased. Info dumps are most often dull and annoying but receiving world information as it is needed is something I personally enjoy and it makes getting immersed in the plot and world more enjoyable.
The story also just went straight in with murder and mayhem. You may have realized at some point in the life of Literary Weaponry that is right up my proverbial alley.
Now, because of that initial stab stab murder murder I assumed the rest of the book would continue along the same lines but I was wrong. The story alternates between two perspectives, Sybella and Genevieve, and both of the stories are fairly slow moving. Typically a slow moving plot annoys me but not in this case. I felt that it was well executed with plenty of detail and interest to hold my attention even if the story wasn’t moving along at a fast clip.
Admittedly, I did enjoy Genevieve’s chapters considerably more than Sybella’s. I understood Sybella’s reasoning and choices which allowed me to better understand the character but having a good mental grasp on something, on this case a character, does not make it more interesting. She is an assassin worried for her queen’s welfare as well as the welfare of her sister’s so her decisions reflect on that worry. It makes sense but that reserved nature was a little more dull to read.
Genevieve on the other hand is a firecracker. She has spunk and personality in spades. Also a trained assassin, she takes no issue with making decisions that might seem reckless but that is because she has no one to worry over but herself. I feel like there is a lot more to her backstory hovering just beyond the edges of this book and I hope we learn a little more about what makes her tick in the second installment.
Overall, I did enjoy Courting Darkness. The story held my interest and the character’s motivations were understandable. No one made any choices that made me go, “You flaming idiot!” So that was nice. The slower pacing is typically not my taste and I would have preferred a little more action but it worked within the context of this book. I will be picking up the second book in this duology when it is released in June of 2020.