Genre: Fantasy (Political) Age Range: YA Star Rating: 5/5 stars Series: Yes - book 2 of duology
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for STATE OF SORROW*
Sorrow Ventaxis has won the election, and in the process lost everything…
Governing under the sinister control of Vespus Corrigan, and isolated from her friends, Sorrow must to find a way to free herself from his web and save her people.
But Vespus has no plans to let her go, and he isn’t the only enemy Sorrow faces as the curse of her name threatens to destroy her and everything she’s fought for.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
STATE was one of my favourite books of 2018, and SONG one of my most anticipated new releases this year. By happy accident, I received my copy three weeks early (this book releases March 7th) and devoured it in one night.
I loved returning to this world, another brilliant YA political fantasy. There’s less obvious politics (after all, she’s won the election), but it’s still there. The writing is as lush as ever, the world intricate and such a blast to be in.
Sorrow has to make some hard choices, and they track the changes her character goes through. Now the election’s over, she needs to step out from her father’s dark shadow but Vespus’ knowledge that she isn’t the true Sorrow is a hard chain to break. Her love for her country and her desire to serve it, while idealistic, was inspiring. I love the choice she ultimately made.
The supporting cast was brilliant as ever. Irris is the best friend we all want, Arran the brother we’d love and Charron a great father-like figure. Mael broke my heart more than once as did Rasmus.
If you weren’t already in love with Luvian Fen, you will be. He made his book collection into a library, complete with a borrowing system. If a reader doesn’t fall for that, I don’t know what will. He’s so funny – and his arrogance (while still there) is peeled back by the presence of his family. They were great fun, with a dynamic that wrong-footed me a few times. Salisbury knows exactly how to confuse your thoughts about characters, demonstrated all to well by Arkady.
Vespus is as terrifying as ever, more so with Taasa at his side. Her power is horrifying and I’m impressed I slept. By chapter five, you utterly hate him – his casual disregard for human life and the lengths he’s willing to go to for power.
SONG explores the Rhyllian powers further, taking the ones we’ve already met and exploring their limits. The climax uses their abilities to their full potential to make it a fast paced, tense ending.
As the plot progressed, certain things happened. I kept thinking ‘this can’t be it – this can’t be the end of the story line’. They weren’t, and the climax was brilliant, pulling the various antagonists together so that Sorrow and her friends had to split their focus. It also wound up the various story lines and threats facing Sorrow, not just Vespus.
Often I find myself screaming at YA books for the main character to just talk to someone rather than lying and making it a whole lot worse. At first, Sorrow does hides her situation from everyone, even her closest friends. However, by about the one-third mark, she does reveal (most of) her secrets. While it doesn’t solve her problems, it means her friends can help her plan. I was so relieved she did this because it both dodged the dramatic reveal near the end cliche and gives a far more positive message to readers about trusting others and letting them help.
Read my reviews of other books by Melinda Salisbury:
Sorrow (this series):
- STATE OF SORROW (#1)
The Sin Eater’s Daughter:
- THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER (#1)
- THE SLEEPING PRINCE (#2)
- THE SCARECROW QUEEN (#3)
- THE HEART COLLECTOR AND OTHER STORIES (Short stories)