Courting Darkness Audiobook by Robin LaFevers (Review)

Posted by on Mar 5, 2019 in Reviews | 20 comments

Review of: Courting Darkess Audiobook
Robin LaFevers

Reviewed by:
On March 5, 2019
Last modified:March 2, 2019


Courting Darkness Audiobook

By: Robin LaFevers

Narrated by: Angela Goethals and Suszy Jackson

Recorded Books 02/05/2019

Courting Darkness Audiobook

4 Hearts rating image Hot Listens

17 hrs and 33 mins

Genre: YA Historical Thriller

Courting Darkness Audiobook Sample

Courting Darkness Audiobook

4.0 Hearts

It feels like such a long time ago that I picked up my first His Fair Assassin book and immersed myself in medieval Brittany (France) where political intrigue, mysterious female assassins, and romance had me riveted to the story and devouring it at every opportunity.

The author surprised her fans with a follow up duology begun shortly after the resounding conclusion of book three, Mortal Heart. Now, confession time. I’ve only read the first book of that trilogy, Grave Mercy, so I probably wasn’t as impacted by Courting Darkness as I could have been since one of the two storylines is a continuation with Sybella’s story from the second book of the His Fair Assassin trilogy. That said, I had no trouble listening to this story because the author gives the details needed for someone starting with Courting Darkness to do all right. I want to go back and finish the earlier series more than ever after meeting Sybella and Beast in this one.

So, yes, we are back in a world of dark, twisting intrigue and suspense as the Duchess of Brittany prepares to marry the King of France. All sorts of political ploys are weaving in and around this event. Two different Handmaidens of Death are working from opposite ends. Sybella and Beast are working in the Duchess’ entourage and trying to figure out what the duchess’ sister the Regent is up to, but there is a new player in the game. Genevieve has been undercover and separated from her sisters from the convent for so long that she believes she has been forgotten and must go it alone when she discovers a prisoner in the house she is in that she hopes to use for her own purposes.

I was glad to know this was a duology going in so I was ready for the story building to a point and ending with half the story still to come and leaving an ominous feeling because of what I sense that is promising things to get worse before they get better.
I got a surprise once I started getting into this one. I wasn’t prepared for it to hit the emotions so much. I figured lots of action and tension from the two powerful royal sisters and all the factions and because the sisters from the convent now moving into their new roles, but still very much trained spies and assassins. And, there was that. Lots of proof of what a lethal female spy and assassin trained at that convent could do.

But, I was not expecting to see those dynamics for Sybella in her personal life as well as her relationship with Beast to be teased out and adding additional layers to the story. There was a what comes after the happily ever after when the real work of maintaining a relationship has begun and how her past has shaped her and she must continue to reinvent herself with the new circumstances.

And, Genevieve, the second heroine, with her own separate plot thread, was an entirely new factor. She has a great deal of personal struggle of her own. Genevieve didn’t finish her training before she was integrated as a sleeper agent in France and so has no contact or idea what happened back at the convent with the others. She feels abandoned and that she has to go it alone. Her lack of understanding over the gifts she has as a daughter of death and what is happening in the world around her had her miss-stepping a lot. I confess that I could understand her situation while at the same time preferring Sybella’s story since I got frustrated with Gen a lot particularly in the beginning when she was acting for her own purposes and it wasn’t helping matters with the larger, troubling and dangerous picture.

In the end, I was totally into this story and not ready to be done until the next installment especially when the two plot threads converged.

Incidentally, it was very cool how the author did an introductory note and historical notes at the back.

So, it was a slow building, but quite exciting first part of the story and I would heartily recommend it to those who enjoy the world of assassins, intrigue, and medieval times with complex characters and a layered plot

Courting Darkness Audiobook Narration

4 Hearts

This was a dual narration with new to me narrators in Angela Goethals and Suzy Jackson. I thought they both did a great job. The storylines swapped back and forth quickly and probably would have been difficult to remember whose storyline I was in without the well done dual narration work. I enjoyed how they voiced the heroines and the broader cast of characters.

This was a huge story with lots of pace changes and tones to account for and they did great with it all. I had no trouble feeling I was back in Medieval France in the dangerous political world and the two young women working in the shadows.

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.

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Angela Goethals

Angela Bethany Goethals at the summer 2002 Television Critics Association.

Angela Goethals was born on May 20, 1977 in New York City, New York, USA as Angela Bethany Goethals. She is an actress, known for Home Alone (1990), Jerry Maguire (1996) and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006). She has been married to Russell Soder since 2005. They have one child.

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Suzy Jackson is an actress and voiceover artist whose voice has been heard on numerous audiobooks, commercials, video games, and cartoons.
An Audie Awards and SOVAS Voice Arts Awards nominee, Suzy was named one of the Best Voices by AudioFile and her books have been recognized on the American Library Association’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults list.
Suzy is the proud executive director of Opening Act, a nonprofit organization that brings free theater programs to New York City’s most underserved public high schools:

My thanks to Recorded Books for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by

Sophia Rose Signature

  • 4
    editor rating
Sophia Rose
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.


  1. These are new-to-me author and narrators. I’m glad you enjoyed the world, even if you didn’t have the full back story from the previous series. I hope you don’t have to wait too long for book two. Wonderful review.

    • Yes, it was a big gamble to jump in after having only read book one of the earlier trilogy. I could feel the gap of my knowledge, but still had little trouble with this new spinoff. Both narrators kept me listening. 🙂

  2. I had just put this one in my cart at B&N, Sophia, so I’m happy to know it’s a continuation of His Fair Assassin since I’ve yet to read that trilogy. *hangs head* (I hate that I haven’t because I was so eager to and then…) This sounds well written though and I love the historical aspects as well as the suspense. And the character development doesn’t seem to shabby either. 😉 I’m happy you were able to enjoy it despite having only read Grave Mercy. You’ve given me quite a bit of reading to do today. 😀

    • I have to hang my head with you. I only read book one of the His Fair Assassin trio. I still need to read the other two.

      Yes, the blend of elements were right up my alley. My SIL already swiped this from me because this is her jam, too. 🙂

  3. That sounds really good. New author to me but I can totally see myself liking this.

    • Oh yeah, young nun assassins, medieval court intrigue. It’s the best, Mary. 🙂 Start with the earlier books from the His Fair Assassin series if you go for it.

    • I have a feeling I’ll be going back for the two in the earlier series that I missed before the next one comes out. 🙂

  4. I just got this audiobook the other day. I am so excited to continue this series, I didn’t know it was about Sybella. Her book was my favorite of the series. You really need to go back and read it. Also happy to hear this is a duology!

    • Yes! It’s a split story between Sybella and a new nun. I think you’ll get more out of this than I did and probably love having the follow up for Syb’s story. Oh yeah, definitely need to go back and get caught up.

  5. So the handmaidens of death are assassins? For a half a minute I thought it might be paranormal and then realized. I’m glad you were able to enjoy it even though you had missed a book. I’m also glad the new to you(and me)narrators worked well for you.

    • Yes! They worship Death and are his handmaidens. It’s structured like the Catholic nunneries. There is mild mystical talent so it is historical magical realism, I guess. Very cool! I keep adding more and more narrators to the group I like listening to. 🙂

  6. I really loved this! It was so much fun being back in this world.

    • It was such a great surprise when she wrote this follow up duology. It was a great touch. 🙂

  7. OOh sort of like The Divinci Code in historical setting sounds good Thanks Sophia Rose I like the sound of these I may have to look into it 🙂

    • Yes, its quite a bit of intrigue going on. 🙂

  8. Robin loved this and the related series. I have Grave Mercy from the library and am trying to get to it. Wonderful review. I’ll get here eventually.

    • They are an intriguing blend of historical, fantasy, and suspense. I’ll look forward to seeing what you think. 🙂

  9. I enjoyed the first 2 books of His Fair Assassin, but I don’t remember the stories. I’ll read Mortal Heart to refresh my memory lol. Great review!

    • You would probably do even better than I did, Kathy, since you’ve read Sybella’s story in book two. But yeah, it would probably work even better to read Mortal Heart first. 🙂

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