Monday, 19 August 2019

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Review: A House of Rage and Sorrow by Sangu Mandanna

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A House of Rage and Sorrow by Sangu Mandanna

A House of Rage and Sorrow by Sangu Mandanna

Published: 3rd September 2019 | Publisher: Sky Pony Press | Cover Designer: Kate Gartner | Source: Publisher/Caffeine Book Tours via Edelweiss
Sangu Mandanna's Website

One kingdom. One crown. One family.

"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.
From Goodreads.

Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery | Goodreads

My other reviews of The Celestial Trilogy:
A Spark of White Fire (Book 1)

I received this eProof for free from Sky Pony Press in conjunction with Caffeine Book Tours for the purposes of providing an honest review, as part of a blog tour.

WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoilt for you.


I really enjoyed A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna, so I was super excited to be approved to take part in the blog tour for the sequel, A House of Rage and Sorrow, hosted by Caffeine Book Tours. And oh my god, this book is absolutely bloody incredible!

After the tragic and devastating ending of A Spark of White Fire - where goddess Amba has Esmae's best friend, Rama, take her place in a duel with her brother Alexi, and is murdered by her brother -Esmae is all grief and anger. As the title suggests, she is raging, and her anger boils in her blood. There is an everlasting scream in her head, that she refuses to let out, that just builds and builds. There is no way Esmae can forgive her brother for murdering Rama, and she will not stop until she has destroyed him. But it's complicated, because while she is all grief and anger, there is still the longing for her family, her mother, for the love that she has been denied her whole life. As much as she longs for Bear and her mother to be part of her life, with her dedication to bringing about the end of Alexi, and the war that has begun, it looks impossible now that the rift will ever be healed.

As I said in my review of A Spark of White Fire, although technically sci-fi as it's a space opera, ithis trilogy feels very much like a high fantasy. And A House of Rage and Sorrow had everything that I love about high fantasy! A character driven plot. Politics and intrigue. Battles and strategy. Like a highly emotional game of chess with real people. This book was simply a complete joy to read from page one! I was completely captivated by Esmae's story, and I couldn't put it down. And the small issues I had with the first book - that major events happen and are moved on from quite quickly, making it feel like, overall, not a huge amount happened - are completely absent from this book. Quite a lot happens, and each major event is followed by an even bigger event. The tension just builds and builds, and it was just so epic!

I also adored the development of the various relationships. Esmae and Max are just so adorable, it hurts. Esmae's friendship with spiky Sybilla, and how Sybilla is so loyal she would literally lay down her life for those she loves. The relationship between Esmae and Radha, Rama's sister, who comes to Kali to help in anyway she can in order to bring about the demise of the one who murdered her brother. Radha is complicated, and has so many layers, and I just loved seeing them unfold and getting to know her. And Amba. She may not have the largest presence in this book, but I love and adore her, and it really is no wonder that she is a goddess.

I also have to talk about how incredibly diverse this story is. Being a retelling of the Indian myth the Mahabharata, and written by an Indian author, it's no surprise that all the major characters are people of colour. Then there's King Elvar, who is blind, and General Khay, who has a prophetic, mechanical arm. And then there is the inclusion of multiple LGBTQ* characters in this world. At an celebratory feast, we see General Khay's two fathers, and Laika - a Rashka demon Esmae trains with, with General Khay - has brought her two children, a boy and a girl, who are both wearing identical dresses. When Esmae looks through the the portraits in the Gallery of her ancestors, she mentions genderfluid Shiv, who chose to wear a dress. At one point we meet Vahana, a garuda - a creature that is part human and part bird - who uses they/them pronouns. And then there's the obvious and undeniable same sex attraction between two side characters.

But now we have to talk about the twists. My god, they were just incredible! The first one I felt so smug about, because I had a theory about it when reading the first book, and my theory just grew stronger as I was reading A House of Rage and Sorrow. When it was confirmed, I was just so bloody happy to have got it right, but also amazed in regards to what it would mean for the story overall. The second twist, though, I absolutely did not see coming at all, and it had my jaw drop. It is monumetal, and it's going to have unimaginable consequences, and I am just absolutely devastated for Esmae. And that ending. Oh my god, oh my god! It was explosive, and I dread to think where it will lead in the third and final book of the series, but I absolutely cannot wait to read it! It is going to be agony waiting for book three, but it is going to be well worth the wait! This book was unbelievable! If you loved the first book, you absolutely need to read A House of Rage and Sorrow!

Thank you to Sky Pony Press and Caffeine Book Tours via Edelweiss for the eProof.

Sangu Mandanna
Sangu Mandanna

Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. Sangu now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids. Find Sangu on her website, on Goodreads, and on Twitter.

Giveaway:

There is a Twitter giveaway hosted by Caffeine Book Tours, where the winner gets to name one of the characters in book 3 of The Celestial Trilogy! The giveaway is open internationally, so head over to @CaffeineTours for details on how to enter.

Check out the other stops in the blog tour:

A House of Rage and Sorrow by Sangu Mandanna Blog Tour Banner

You might also like:

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

Over to you graphic
What's been the most shocking YA you've read in regards to twists? What non-western stories would you like to see retold? What books have you read that just overflow with diverse characters? Will you be reading A House of Rage and Sorrow? Let me know in the comments!

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