I honestly thought it would be impossible for Dark Triumph to live up to it's predecessor. Grave Mercy is one of the best historical fantasy novels that I've read and Dark Triumph definitely is too. Sybella's story is just as fantastic as Ismae's and readers will be rooting for her from the very first page.Sybella is a little harder to like than Ismae but she quickly grows on readers. She's had a hard life, maybe even harder than Ismae, and things don't come easy to her. She's rather standoffish and sometimes rude but those are her defense mechanisms. She doesn't know any other way to take care of herself. She doesn't trust easily but she does start to when Beast enters the picture. Oh, Beast. Do I even need to say anything about him? He's just as lovable as in Grave Mercy and just as funny. He brings much needed humor to the rather serious story. And of course there are some wonderful scenes with Duval and Ismae. Their appearance in the story made me very happy and I loved getting a glimpse of their relationship.The story is a bit slow in the beginning. This time around the story is very political and there isn't always a ton of action. It's not a book that you can just plow through but it's worth a slow read. There is a lot going on and if you try to read the book too fast you just might miss something very important. There is also quite a bit of foreshadowing as to what might be coming for the third book. It will definitely leave readers eager to finish the trilogy.Overall, Dark Triumph is a very strong followup to Grave Mercy. Fans of the first book will not be disappointed. Sybella is just as kick-ass as anyone could have hoped and I may actually love Beast more than Duval now. You'll see why as you read.