Hello Humans! Today I’m reviewing one of my most anticipated reads of 2019 – it’s the second book in Melinda Salisbury’s State of Sorrow duology, Song of Sorrow.
If you’ve been around for a while you’ll know that I am the biggest nerd when it comes to this series. I even wrote a song inspired by State of Sorrow so it should come as no surprise that I was excited to read this.
The copy I read actually came from the launch event, held at Waterstones Piccadilly hosted by Samantha Shannon. It was a great time and it was nice to be there with friends and also to say hi to some other people – if I missed you I’m sorry.
So the next day I devoured this book in the space of about two hours I was so excited – and I’m delighted to share my thoughts with you!
This review will be spoiler free for Song of Sorrow but will certainly have 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.
I loved it. I think it’s just wonderful and it does a lot of things that I didn’t expect it to. I think Melinda Salisbury walks that line of dark and challenging without feeling gratuitous. There isn’t that sense of an author thinking ‘ah yes this will really make my readers upset’ – though there are certainly upsetting and uncomfortable moments – the whole thing feels very natural and it doesn’t feel like tragedy for the sake of tragedy.
I still adore Sorrow as a character. Very rarely (because I am contrary) do I like the main character more than any other characters. I find myself drawn to side characters and best friends and the protagonist is more of a necessity to tell the story rather than a character I actually care about. In this case, I was fully here for Sorrow. There’s something so compelling about how much she genuinely cares about her friends and about her people. I loved that Vespus’ hold over her isn’t through her own secrets or her desire to hold onto power – but through her love for her friends and what it would do to them if her secrets got out. That’s not to say Sorrow is perfection incarnate, but she’s certainly a great character, particularly within this plot which is all about the right to hold power and the responsibility those in power have to put the people first.
It was great to be able to read the book after hearing Mel talk about some of her reasoning behind various aspects of the story if you get the opportunity to go to them, author events can really enhance your experience of the book. In particular, I liked what was said about the romance in the book, the idea that a first relationship doesn’t have to be the one magic relationship, but nor does that first partner have to be demonised for a second relationship to flourish. This book recognises that sometimes people are toxic when in a relationship – but can still be friends. That’s something I can absolutely get on board with.
I honestly can’t recommend this duology highly enough. It has moments that get pretty dark, and it will put you through the wringer, but ultimately it’s just a very strong story with amazing characters. I can’t spoil the ending for you but let me just say that I found it wonderful and that this will certainly be added to my ‘read when I need some catharsis’ pile because that’s what this book was for me.
I’m so excited to continue being a Salisbury superfan!
My rating: 5/5 stars
I bought this book myself, all opinions are my own.
Song of Sorrow is out now!
What say you? Have you read this duology? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!