I received a copy of this book from Skyhorse Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.
I recently read A Spark of White Fire (Book 1 of the Celestial Trilogy) and I’ve become obsessed with the story and characters ever since. I’m so glad I got to read the sequel too, no matter how scared I was to read it. No really, this was me going into the book.
Read on to find out what I thought of the book.
“Maybe it’s time the great House of Rey came to an end. After all, what are we now? Just a house of rage and sorrow.”
Esmae once wanted nothing more than to help her golden brother win the crown of Kali but that dream died with her best friend. Alexi broke her heart, and she vowed to destroy him for it. And with her sentient warship Titania beside her, how can she possibly fail?
As gods, beasts, and kingdoms choose sides, Alexi seeks out a weapon more devastating than even Titania. Past lives threaten the present. Old enemies claim their due. And Esmae cannot outrun the ghosts and the questions that haunt her. What really happened to her father? What was the third boon her mother asked of Amba? For in the shadows, lurking in wait, are secrets that will swallow her whole.
The House of Rey is at war. And the entire galaxy will bleed before the end.
I’ve always dreaded reading sequels because of Second Book Syndrome. And considering how much I loved A Spark of White Fire, I was especially scared of what could happen to my beloved mortals and Gods from the book. But I’m happy to report that the book not only doesn’t suffer from the syndrome, but is even better than book 1!
A House of Rage and Sorrow picks up three months after the shocking ending of the first book, with Esmae becoming a being of rage and sorrow herself. Betrayed and hurt, Esmae sets out on a journey of destruction, anything to outrun the ghosts in her head. War seems inevitable and kingdoms (and gods themselves) start choosing sides. Will Esmae ever be able to let go of the ghosts that haunt her? Will the battle tip towards any one side? And what was the third boon her mother asked of Amba?
While A Spark of White Fire was a slow buildup to a brilliant, heartbreaking ending, A House of Rage and Sorrow is an out-and-out page-turner. And it wasn’t just because you already know and love all the characters in it (well, almost all of them). It’s just as plot-driven as the previous book, but also shines bright because of how real and powerful Esmae’s sorrow is.
This book perfectly captures how someone would react when pushed to their limits, especially when they aren’t even a complete adult yet. Esmae’s devastated by her family and beloved God’s deceptions, she’s heartbroken by her friend’s passing, and like having a bruised heart is not enough, she has to face the consequences of Kirrin taking away her blueflower jewel too.
A House of Rage and Sorrow shows us a bruised, devastated teenager faced with so many problems, lies, and jealousy even people twice her age wouldn’t have experienced. It answers pressing questions from book 1 but creates new ones we’ll have to wait a whole year before getting answered.
The Mahabharata and mythology parallels do exist in the sequel too, but not as much as in the first one. Here, there’s space for the story to expand beyond Indian myths, and expand it does! We also get to hear everyone’s favorite sentient warship Titania’s POV and her droll narration had me smiling throughout. But as much as I love Titania, it’s Amba who’s my favorite character in this series. And her actions in this book only made me love her more. What a strong, maternal goddess!
My only complaint about this book–and it’s completely my own fault–is that my suspense-cracking ass correctly guessed the truth about one of the characters, something that’s a big reveal in the last 25% of the book. Me cracking it meant that the reveal, something that should have ideally made me throw the book across the room, mostly just felt anticlimactic. You can’t fault the book for the foreshadowing, though, so I can’t actually complain.
A House of Rage and Sorrow is a riveting read with more lies, more secrets, and more of the past affecting the present. It’s a brilliant sequel to an equally brilliant novel and I can’t wait to see what Mandanna whips up in Book 3.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5