Review of Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salibsbury

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.

State of Sorrow was one of my favourite books in 2018 so it’s no surprise that Song of Sorrow topped my most anticipated reads list of 2019 and deservedly so. Before I get into the story I just want to talk about the book itself. I, like many, received State of Sorrow from a Fairyloot subscription as an exclusive hardcover edition. I do like my editions to match so I was really sad that there was only a paperback release for Song, however, have you seen it?! It’s gorgeous, the Waterstones edition has a stencilled sprayed edge that’s pretty unique and it released early!

But on to the story. The conclusion of State left me reeling, honestly I felt lost after such a high came crashing down. Unsurprisingly, we find Sorrow in a bit of a pickle. But something has changed with both the tone and the feel of the writing to reflect that Sorrow’s experiences in the election have certainly changed her. Despite everything she felt like she had become a force to be reckoned with, never stopping in her plans to try and out play Vespus, even when those plans are misguided. Sorrow is such a tough character, I felt like fist pumping so many times as well as just wanting to give her a huge hug with the ways she decided to deal with what what being thrown at her. The writing felt more relaxed, where State was full of insecurities Song is full of snark and great banter I really was left feeling like I was among friends, Sorrow and her Scooby gang. All the characters are strong, their experiences during the election cementing their places both good and bad. There were no side players who felt out of place, everyone had a purpose which really helped with the great pace and flow of the story. I know that often gets overused in reviews and may sound trite but the pacing really was exceptional, chapters ended leaving me wanting more and more, every time I tried to stop I just picked right back up again. It really helped that Song takes place over a pretty short period of time, whilst State needed to be a slow burn, a mystery – it was right that Song really needed to be the flip side of that, and it gave it a real thriller race against time feel.

I’m usually pretty bad at figuring things out and I was convinced I had it pegged this time, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Wonderful misdirection woven into the pages left the twists even more jaw dropping and the story went to places I never imagined it would. Violent and terrifying at times as the true power of Starwater makes itself clear alongside the desperation of those so resistant to change. There are plenty of breath holding moments and I often had to stop myself from scanning ahead to really savour the wonderful crafting of the words in these sections. There are some wonderful and unexpected relationship dynamics running through the story as well, these are beautifully delivered across the pages with everyone being comfortable in their own skin.

I also have to admit that I’m a little bit in love with Luvian. Ridiculously hot, bookish, charming, clever and his revelation to Sorrow made me love him a little bit more. I desperately need a Luvian origin story please! I’m not one to advocate defacing books with writing but oh my, hand fans at the ready for Luvian and all that he brings us.

Song of Sorrow was everything I hoped it would be and more, and then a little extra on top. It was a phenomenal read and it’s a duology that I know I’m going to return to time and again.


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