Review of State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury

Sorrow – for that is all she brings us.
A people laid low by grief and darkness.
A cut-throat race for power and victory.
A girl with everything and nothing to lose…
By day, Sorrow governs the Court of Tears, covering for her grief-maddened father, who has turned their once celebrated land into a living monument for the brother who died before she was born.
By night, she seeks solace in the arms of the boy she’s loved since childhood. But one ghost won’t stop haunting her, and when enemies old and new close ranks against her, Sorrow must decide how far she’s willing to go to win…

Every so often there will be a book on your shelf that has been there, untouched, for months.  Then when you read it, you kick yourself that you didn’t start it the day that you got it.  This is exactly how I felt with State of Sorrow. I had not read anything by Melinda Salisbury before to guide me and I have to say that I honestly didn’t find the cover all that inspiring – just proving again that a book is not to be judged by its cover – so I was both surprised and very happy that I was almost immediately absorbed into world of Rhannon.

Sorrow is actually a formidable character, she has had to cover for her fathers ineptitude and inabilities brought on by his self imposed state of grief, and watch as her home and homelands become nothing but a tomb.  The people forced to live their lives around a calendar of ghoulish memorials. Sorrow for me, bucked a whole world of YA fantasy tropes for female MC’s and her normalcy, her hopes, fears and dreams made her a character that was easy to relate to and build a rapport with.

The land of Rhannon reads almost dystopian, a crumbling land that is shadow of its former self. A dull, colourless and miserable land of constant mourning where colours and laughter even smiles are to be discouraged.  But then other genres come to light.  State of Sorrow at times feels like a thriller and even a mystery.  The blurb for the book is pretty vague and it needs to be because there is much that can easily be spoiled, which is why I am finding this a difficult review to write as I have to tread carefully.

In short then, I found State of Sorrow to be nothing short of brilliant.  I was reading this constantly, reading it whilst walking round the house, letting the kids watch an extra bit of TV because each chapter left me wanting to go straight onto the next. The writing style was intelligent and engaging and the characters were so well developed I felt like I actually knew them. The story was so gripping, it’s a world full of political intrigue, secrets, lies, plays for power and manipulation but never once did I feel that it was becoming confusing or overly bogged down.  It didn’t shy away from bigger issues either, whilst grief does loom large it also deals quite heavily with addiction and the fallout from it.

Having thought about it, I would actually go as far to say that this is one of my favourite reads of the year, I just hope that the next in the series is just around the corner and the months that it spent on my shelf actually helped in some way as would have at least reduced that wait!

5 amazing stars

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