Book Review: A House of Rage and Sorrow

Sangu Mandanna

Rating: 5 out of 5.

published: 3rd September 2019
spoilers? not in the review, but if you haven’t read book 1, do not read the synopsis


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.

Galley provided by publisher

After the end of A Spark of White Fire, I thought that I was prepared for whatever this book would throw at me. More fool me, because I could not have been less ready.

A House of Rage and Sorrow picks up a few months after A Spark of White Fire finished. And that’s about all I can say about the plot (or almost anything about this book, as I am finding out) without spoiling both this book and the first, if I’m honest. What I will say is that it’s a ride. It starts intense and just gets more so. If you thought the end of the first book made you breathless, well. This is something else.

Central to what made book one so amazing were the characters and the relationships they shared. The same and even more is true of book two. It centres on a family at war, after [redacted] [redacted] [redacted] by [redacted] [redacted]. (I told you this was going to be hard to write without spoilers.) So basically, it’s all angst. That particular brand of family/sibling related angst that is just so good.

What got me really hooked on this series (not that I wasn’t hooked before but, you know) was the twist at the end of book one. Well, book two tops that with an ending that will leave you left stunned (and also wondering when the book finished and why isn’t there more). Like, you’ll need a few minutes to catch your breath after it all (and after all the revelations).

Which ties into what I love about this book (and series). You know me and attention span (i.e. it’s non-existent), but this series keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. There’s no let-up to how intense and action-packed it is (sometimes I have a general horror of YA sff just because it seems to be boring up until the two-thirds/three-quarters mark instead of spacing out the action more evenly, but that is distinctly not the case here).

This is probably about all I can say about the book without spoilers, so all that’s left is for me to beg you to read this series. Please.

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