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State of Sorrow Paperback – 1 Mar 2018
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About the Author
Melinda Salisbury lives by the sea somewhere in the south of England. She likes to travel and have adventures. She is the author of the compelling Sin Eater's Daughter series.
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One of my favourite things about Mel’s books is that they are about girls who aren’t necessarily physically powerful or strong, but who forge their own paths with their intelligence and words. Sorrow is a new heroine to treasure alongside Twylla and Errin – a young woman who is steeped in responsibilities that shouldn’t be hers, who will always have to compete with the memory of a perfect brother who died before she was born.
It’s a very political novel, which I think is remarkably timely, and is largely concerned with an election that has the potential to change everything – not just the kingdom, but Sorrow’s life too. Secrets soon begin tumbling out of the woodwork and force her to re-evaluate everything she thinks she knows.
I don’t want to give away TOO much of the plot, as I think it works best going in fairly blind – Mel is excellent at the kind of twists that initially shock you but then make you realise that they were inevitable, and these are obviously best when not spoiled! But if you love complex, layered, character-driven fantasy with careful, detailed worldbuilding, STATE OF SORROW should be a must-read for you.
This book is based in a world of two previously warring nations, in the prologue we witness a peace treaty being signed at the top of 100 foot bridge, but as the treaty is signed an accident occurs and the son of the governor is knocked over the bridge and presumed dead. Later that day Sorrow is born to the governor's wife, the wife dies shortly after. 'She will be named Sorrow, for that is all she brings us'.
The rest of the story focusses on the events that start on Sorrow's 18th birthday. Her father is still the governor of the land but is a drug addict and has declared the entire nation to be in a permanent state of mourning. Sorrow is forced to try to keep her father's country running from behind the scenes but as there is about to be a public announcement of her intention to take over something happens that changes everything...
This book is very politically focussed and is slow to start off with. I would have liked to have seen more of the fantasy elements of the book come to life but these seemed to take a backseat to the politics. Many of the characters are unlikable but the book is well written and slowly comes to life. By the end of the book I found it very engaging and found myself eager to read the sequel to see where it is leading and what Sorrow will do to try to help her nation. Well worth persevering with but not for a ready who wants an easy fantasy YA book.
Melinda Salisbury is one of my favourite authors, and I think her writing style is absolutely gorgeous! Like The Sin Eater's Daughter (which you should definitely read if you haven't already), State of Sorrow is full of sensory descriptions that suck you into the world. Every setting is richly described and immersive. The writing has a dark fairy tale quality that I absolutely love.
The plot of this book is also gripping and well-paced. The political intrigue kept me hooked and it was great fun trying to work out whether the boy is really Sorrow's brother, and who would end up in power.
The characters in this book were brilliant too. Sorrow was my favourite because her responses to this situation were so authentic, and I felt like I understood her motivations. I also thought Luvian was a brilliant character, who had a very interesting arc and provided many opportunities for humour! There was also a romance arc that I was a huge fan of - it was incredibly passionate and moving, without overpowering the plot.
This is a beautifully written, exciting story with brilliant characters. How am I supposed to wait for the next book?