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Sorrow #1

State of Sorrow

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Sorrow - for that is all she brings us.

A people laid low by grief and darkness.
A cut-throat race for power and victory.
A girl with everything and nothing to lose…

By day, Sorrow governs the Court of Tears, covering for her grief-maddened father, who has turned their once celebrated land into a living monument for the brother who died before she was born.

By night, she seeks solace in the arms of the boy she's loved since childhood. But one ghost won't stop haunting her, and when enemies old and new close ranks against her, Sorrow must decide how far she's willing to go to win...

Be swept away by the dark and dangerous new world from Melinda Salisbury, bestselling author of The Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy

464 pages, Paperback

First published March 1, 2018

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About the author

Melinda Salisbury

19 books1,327 followers
Melinda Salisbury lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England. As a child she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography, in part helped by her grandfather often mistakenly calling her Matilda, and the local library having a pretty cavalier attitude to the books she borrowed. Sadly she never manifested telekinetic powers. She likes to travel, and have adventures. She also likes medieval castles, non-medieval aquariums, Richard III, and all things Scandinavian The Sin Eater's Daughter is her first novel. She can be found on Twitter at @MESalisbury, though be warned, she tweets often.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 361 reviews
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
696 reviews1,074 followers
May 30, 2021
I don’t hand out 5 stars ⭐️ lightly. Usually only for books that shock me or are unlike anything I have ever read.

However, having just finished this YA fantasy- I honestly cannot think of a single thing I didn’t like.

So screw it 5 stars from me!

“Sorrow, for that is all she brings us.”

Sorrow Ventaxis is the daughter of the Chancellor of Rhanna, an empire who have had a tempestuous relationship with their neighbour Rhylla for many years.

On the day of Sorrow’s birth, a peace treaty was arranged between the two empires on a slippery and unstable bridge where the two borders meet. There Sorrow’s brother Mael fell off and was killed, her mother then died giving birth to her.

Rhanna was never the same since. Her father fell into a drug induced grief, never to truly surface. Leaving his 18 year old daughter and advisors to run their country.

But when a shock return throws everything into question, Sorrow realises her enemies are everywhere. Even in plain sight.

This book had everything I need, political intrigue, fantastic world building (including a map - I love me a book with a map!), a bit of romance but not so much that it takes away from the plot, characters to love and hate.

Overall I loved this story and I need to get my hands on book 2 immediately!
Profile Image for Sophie "Beware Of The Reader".
1,292 reviews341 followers
April 8, 2018
4 stars


State of Sorrow was a book I had never heard of before getting it in my March Fairyloot box. I had never read anything by Melinda Salisbury before even if I had drooled countless times on her book covers.

In our Fairyloot box was Melinda’s interview where she says: “I’m all about aesthetic and making things look beautiful.” An that she “prefers decorating cakes to making them.” It truly shows in her covers! Honestly State of Sorrows is one of the most lovely covers that I own and deserves a 6 stars minimum.


I went in this book totally blind.

What would I find? I had never read any review about it…

State of Sorrow is bathed in a haze.

That’s how I experienced it. The whole country of Rhannon is muted. Buried under the weight of grief. From a Chancellor whose pride killed his infant son and his wife. He is grieving and bearing a guilt for eighteen years. If he had to grieve the whole country would. No laughter not even smiles were permitted. Drawn curtains. Black clothes. No art, no music. Nothing.

Can you imagine living in a country where experiencing even a hint of joy is forbidden?


Born the day after her brother’s death Sorrow is the Chancellor’s daughter.
“She was born a month too soon. And she was born a girl. (…) As she lay there, the stink of death in the air, the Dowager First Lady asked her what she would name the baby. “Sorrow”, she’ said. “For that is all she brings us.”

She has been ignored by her father her whole life. Her absent brother is the one getting all the love and attention.

Yet she is seventeen years old and try to hide her father’s weakness. To saty strong for her people.


Sorrow is a nearly eighteen year old with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She just wanted to live, be free but will be forced to lead a country. She wanted to love whomever she desired yet strict laws forbid relationship between Rhannish and Rhyllian people.

She feels like an imposter. She does not believe she is experienced enough to lead yet there is no other choice.

Just when Sorrow begrudgingly accepts her destiny a twist of fate will change everything.


I really hurt for Sorrow. She did all she could to help, to care, to lead and was ignored at every turn. Brushed under the rug by her father and by many men who only saw a girl. Someone unfit to lead because not of her youth but of her gender. Only a few friends and advisors believed in Sorrow.
“That’s it? Was that her thanks? She wondered. After eighteen years of neglect, of living under the cloud he created, of growing up in a country that was a living graveyard? This was her thanks? For keeping the country going, and covering for him, this was all she deserved?”


What would you do?

Well Sorrow has not said her last word!


Now you should read State of Sorrow if you love:

- books with flawed characters. Not all-powerful heroes but rather ones questioning their ability to fulfill the task at hand. Characters making mistakes. Characters constantly battling with opposite feelings and wishes. Sorrow thought it would be easier if her father was dead just to chastise her mind and feel guilty right after. She was convinced she was not enough and did not want to rule just to change her mind when the opportunity to lead was threatened;

-star crossed lover stories. With one of the lovers clearly being more in love than the other. With one of them making mistakes and hurting the other just to regret it;

-plot with twists. I had not only one or two but at least four twists in the story. You will go from revelation to revelation. Saying not everyone is who you think is the understatement of the year;

-stories happening in imaginary world. One bright, colorful, joyful and filled with magic. The other dull and battered needing to breathe again.

Stars summary

Cover: ****** (G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S)

Female MC: ****/2 (I loved flawed Sorrow. I loved how she made mistakes. I loved how she beared the brunt of her destiny)

Male MC: ? (there is not a real main Male MC several side male MC some more important than others)

Writing: ****/2 (Melinda Salisbury has a lovely writing. It flows effortlessly and fits the universe and the story)

Plot: ****/2 (secrets and surprise moves)

Pace: **** (somewhat slow in the beginning. This is not a fast paced story packed with action. It’s just the right pace for the story and the characters).

Triggers: …. Grief? Addiction?

Romance: *** (There is some romance but it’s not taking the center piece. Sorrow not opening up fully to Rasmus prevented to have a real passionate romance…so far).

Heat: * (it is YA!)

Have you read this book or any of Melinda Salisbury's books?
Thanks for reading!

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Profile Image for Yoda.
569 reviews110 followers
March 15, 2018
Oh. My. God.
Why didn´t I know about Melinda Salisbury before? Her world building is absolutely outstanding. I only bought this copy because it was signed and the cover was nice, but now I need to buy everything I can find of her.
The positive:
It´s written in 3rd person.
Her descriptions of surroundings, landscape, cloths was amazing.
Characters were deeper than just pretty face and weren´t overwritten, there is still some mystery about them. Some characters you cannot NOT hate and thats the best part.
I loved that there was no unnecessary love plot.

The negative:
Some of the plot was easy to guess but I still enjoyed it.
About 50-100pages before ending I realized everything couldn´t be solved in that time and this is a first in the series. I hate waiting for series but I probably wouldn´t have read it yet if I knew, so no regrets!

Profile Image for Umairah (Sereadipity).
212 reviews108 followers
January 19, 2019
Plot: 4/5 Characters: 4/5 Writing: 3/5. 

State of Sorrow was a captivating fantasy and was full of political intrigue and mystery.

Sorrow was the daughter of the Chancellor of Rhannon. Her father had been distant ever since his first son was killed in an accident and his wife died whilst giving birth to Sorrow- he had a low key resentment towards her because of that- and became addicted to drugs. He then threw the entire country into a state of mourning for years and years where no one was allowed to laugh, smile, sing or even open a window. Sorrow spent her life sequestered in the palace and being raised by her grandma until everything changed and she learnt that she must fight to make her country what it once was.

The world building was pretty good I liked how we slowly found out little facts about the political systems, fashions, customs and features of the various countries instead of a confusing info-dump at the start.

Some ideas were really cliché like the Rhyllian people with pointed ears and magical abilities  (aka boring copies of elves). And when Sorrow goes to visit the miners she meets a person called 'Wood' and another called 'Salt'. Seriously?! Those are the most terrible names I have ever seen in a fantasy novel.

The plot was very slow to unravel but it was still interesting. I enjoyed reading about the politics and their search to find out who Mael actually is. It was so funny how the big bad villain of the book was just a evil magical farmer lord who wants to grow his evil magical trees to take over the world.

 Sorrow and Rasmus were so boring and predictable and insta- at one point I wanted to throw the book at the wall because of them. I was actually happy when they broke up and I don't know why but I ship Sorrow and Luvian much more. I just felt sorry for Mael. Everything seemed out of his control and he was just the puppet of the evil magical farmer lord. There was a part where I just wanted to dive into the book and give him a hug because he seemed so sad but I do want to know who he really is. Sorrow was pretty good and she did grow in character by the end of the book. She had her moments though, like when she was being attacked in her room and she tried defending herself with a bar of soap.

Overall, the writing was pretty good but there was this phrase that was over used and really got on my nerves:
Sorrow choked on thin air 

That doesn't even make sense?!?! You can't choke on thin air! Why is the air thin? Is Sorrow at a high altitude? Is she climbing a mountain or something???

Anyway, this book wasn't perfect but I'm going with my gut because for some reason I still liked it so it's getting 4 stars.

I'll leave you with the randomest moment in the entire book.
Luvian crawled out from under the bed, "Behold my redemption arc," he said 

TW: Drug addiction

This review and others can be found at Sereadipity.
Profile Image for Luca.
79 reviews56 followers
March 30, 2018
State of Sorrow was a book that gave me a lot of different emotions. At first I almost hated it and was so close to putting it away. Suddenly, it got better and things became more interesting. Still I was not sure whether I would want to read the book’s sequel once I had finished it. After reading the quite sensational ending of this book, I am now fully convinced that I need the next book as soon as possible!

The book’s main character, Sorrow Ventaxis is the daughter of Harun Ventaxis, chancellor of Rhannon. Only it is Sorrow rather than her father concerned with governing Rhannon, as Harun is heartbroken grieving for his son and wife whom both died eighteen years ago. During these eighteen years Rhannon has been in state of mourning and all things cheerful have been strictly forbidden. From here on Sorrow is forced to make some difficult decisions and events start to unfold rapidly.

The reason I was not enjoying this book at the beginning is because it introduced a lot of characters with confusing names and funny titles at once. Besides distinguishing the various characters it is also important for the reader to make sense of Rhannon’s political system, and what its relations with the neighboring state of Rhylla are. For me it took at least fifty pages before this all started to make sense, and personally I think that is a bit long.

Luckily things got very interesting from here on. Sorrow is quite a well-written character, and whether you like her or not you really start to feel for her. The political aspects in this book where really interesting and created a refreshing plot. Furthermore, Salisbury has an amazing way of making her world come to life (especially through the way she described Rhyllian foods in this book!).

The only thing I was really bothered by is that, according to my opinion, it was overly repeated how Sorrow completely lost her appetite / did not eat for an entire day at stressful moments. To me, it seems like it was used as an easy metaphor to emphasis how much stress she was feeling, but also not something to be considered as normal.

In the end, I would rate it with 3,5 out of 5 stars, but I have a feeling that I will enjoy the sequel even more and I am very excited how events are going to unfold in the next book.
Profile Image for Lauren.
828 reviews931 followers
February 15, 2019
4.5 stars

State of Sorrow is the first novel I have read by Melinda Salisbury and I shall certainly be reading more! This book is beautifully written, incredibly descriptive and packs a political punch. We follow the life of Sorrow Ventaxis (the daughter of the Chancellor of Rhannon) as she comes of age and due to her drug-addicted father, is prompted by the Jedenvat (group of Chancellor's advisors) to depose him and take the position herself.

But things are far from easy. Nineteen years ago, her brother, Mael drowned attempting to cross the bridge which connects the two kingdoms (Rhannon and Rhylla) and her father has allowed their state to go to ruin. Since Sorrow's mother died shortly after giving birth to her, her father only has Sorrow but hardly ever interacts with her and acts as though he has no family left.

I don't want to say much more about the plot but it is a book with a wonderful cast of characters (I particularly like Luvian Fen) who all have their own secrets they don't want getting out. There are quite a few twists too (one of them I saw coming from near the beginning), and a hell of a lot of plotting and conspiring which made State of Sorrow such an intriguing read. It addresses themes such as loyalty, identity, family, friendships and honesty.

I'm really looking forward to the sequel and to where the next instalment will take us. I feel there are many more obstacles for Sorrow to overcome and many more people she needs to meet in her journey, and I definitely want to be there when the action unfolds!
Profile Image for Samantha Shannon.
Author 26 books19.7k followers
January 26, 2019
A gorgeous new fantasy from Melinda Salisbury, which explores imposter syndrome, self-doubt, and the meaning of family.

Driven by a protagonist with a burning desire to shake her country out of its stagnation, State of Sorrow is a timely celebration of young people stepping into the political sphere and a rare look at how an election campaign might play out in a secondary world – a breath of fresh air in a genre dominated by monarchies.

Twists, secrets and threats abound, and you can expect the same meticulous worldbuilding that made The Sin Eater’s Daughter so memorable. There's also a sassy political advisor, and I challenge you not to fall in love with him.
Profile Image for Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction).
453 reviews6,973 followers
May 22, 2018
Originally posted on A Frolic Through Fiction

*Rated 4.5 stars

A grief-stricken world void of colour and laughter. Stories that seem legendary, but were real eighteen years ago. A girl taking the chance she never realised she wanted. All of this – and more – you’ll find in State of Sorrow, and I guarantee you it’s worth the read.

Set in a dismal world of permanent grief as the chancellor mourns over a tragedy eighteen years ago, we follow the chancellor’s daughter, Sorrow, as she stands up for election and fights to take over her father’s chancellorship. As you can imagine from such a synopsis, the family dynamics are rocky to begin with, but the family elements feature so much more prominently in this book than I was expecting. The temptation to off all family relations the second drama begins in a book out of convenience is so often followed, but instead Melinda Salisbury incorporated them into the story and made them a dominant part of it, surrounding our main protagonist with a whole host of people and varying, conflicting opinions. A point I think is especially important when the story itself is politically based.

Who says politics is boring?! I loved seeing a teenage girl navigate her way through the politics of her world, seeking advice and forming her own stance on how things should be run. I loved seeing how intense things can get, but how it’s entirely worth it. I loved how in today’s society especially, reading this story – even in a fantasy setting – came off as empowering and motivational. Because this is what I’d love to see more of in YA. When so many people look down on teenagers and everything they do, let books like this empower those teens and dare people to look down on them again. PLEASE.

As for the story itself, there was not one moment where I wasn’t gripped. Which is saying a lot, considering I had to take extended breaks from reading to focus on uni work. But nope – every single time I picked up this book, I was instantly drawn back into the world. I found myself repeating “just one more chapter” numerous times when considering putting it down, only to end up reading another hundred pages purely by accident. It was fascinating learning about the world and its history, even more so when the smaller details of its effects began to unravel. Reading about a world tamed into showing no signs of happiness was enthralling to me, because how can such a thing work?

If there’s one thing I was particularly impressed by, it had to be how Melinda Salisbury writes grief. So many times, I’ve read books featuring elements of grief that never quite seem…whole. They get the sadness, the distraught feelings, the standard things you think of. But this book captures how that one event can affect everyone, even those not directly involved. The elephant-in-the-room feeling around people who don’t quite know how to navigate the topic. The heavy atmosphere that instantly hits the second the subject is brought up. The way grief can become an obsession experience for a lot of people. It made for a darker read at times, and yet seeing the contrast between this and the tiny glimmers of happiness in the story helped lift my heart in a way. Seeing Sorrow’s amazement at the thought of colour, at people’s smiles, at anything that indicates something close to happiness was amazing to read, and I feel like the emotions were described perfectly.

I just feel like there’s so much going for this book. The plot was intense, the world rich, the characters all full of personality. And did I mention – one of the main characters has a wheelchair. Their hindrances are acknowledged without becoming weaknesses, it was simply something to be adapted to and that was fine. I’ve not see many YA fantasy books featuring prominent characters with disabilities, but the representation definitely needs to be a recurring thing.

With tensions pulling between darker atmospheres and lighter moments, politics and family drama, this book had me hooked from every word. I can’t wait for the second one to come out, because I just KNOW it’s going to be a good ‘n!

*Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book. This in no way affects my opinion.
Profile Image for Jessica {Litnoob}.
1,190 reviews88 followers
April 17, 2022
This book was an unexpected joy, and one that I cannot believe I might have overlooked. Because it was everything. It ticked off my every box for politically focused books and damn! I loved it, and I loved how real Sorrow felt to me, how she dealt with the world and all that. All the stars, I’d recommend to anyone who likes intrigue in their books.
Profile Image for ☾.
225 reviews1 follower
May 19, 2022
i appreciated the unique conflicts and critical thinking that actually occurred within the characters, but wow. so. slow.
Profile Image for Filipa.
594 reviews1 follower
March 22, 2019

I feel as mesmerized by this book at the second time around.

There's just something about Sorrow that really resonates with me.
It's her doubts, her weaknesses, her flaws, her heart and her determination all combined.
I root for her non-stop as she goes from sad to confused, to focused to sad-confused-focused over and over again. But I see such strength in this girl who was so poorly loved and still is making the best she can for a better world.
She is understanding, and she falls, stumbles and makes mistakes when she doesn't have all the information, but then she gathers herself, self-reassured and determined to see her tasks through.
I have a tender spot in my heart for her, and for Rasmus and Luvian and Irris and all their messy situations and relations.

If you're reading this, you can probably tell how much I adore these characters and appreciate this story.

It's refreshing in so many ways, for starters, we have a DEMOCRACY - now, let me ask you, when have you EVER seen a democracy in a fantasy novel! Cuz I surely never did and that WAS refreshing.

I love how Sorrow and Irris are best friends but still give each other some space and that's okay and right and they do not fight because of that and do understand each other at a deepest level.

I love how Sorrow realizes her feelings toward Rasmus, hard as that can be. I like how brutal honest they end up being, it felt like gathering up loose ends - very satisfying.

I love how Luvian cares and how it matters to Sorrow that he does - all the feelings, all the reactions, all feels RIGHT.

And Mael, oh gosh. Again , the raw honest conclusions Sorrow comes up to - it broke my heart.

And I'm at the edge of my seat to see more, to know more , to navigate this world and discover where all of these characters are going to end.

I feel such tenderness towards this book.



What a lovely surprise! I love how books keep surprising me lately and the best thing is that I've been able to get to some books I've never really considered reading before, but then just crossed my way somehow, and I, for some or other reason, picked it up.
Alright, tbh YALC is the one to blame for my new massive tbr - one of books i wouldn't probably ever read if not for YALC.

This is very bitter sweet! See, for once I'm super happy I met Melinda at YALC, however I very much wish I'd read her book by then because I LOVED it so much.

World building is intricate and you keep unfolding things throughout the entire novel which is so much fun because there's always some kind of novelty. I loved the idea of having a place frozen in grief. It was awful, of course, but so intriguing to navigate through as a reader.

I got easily attached to several characters. Sorrow, Rasmus, Luvien, Mael. I wanted them all to win somehow and i could never get enough of some more glimpse of them.

Plotwise, it kept me at the edge of my seat. And the writing is so fluid and nice that you just want to keep on reading.

I seriously read this so fast (even tho i wanted it to last some more) and it felt so great.
Profile Image for Lau.
189 reviews21 followers
March 28, 2018
Where do I begin?

I started this book as a buddy read with my 2 besties as we received it in our March FairyLoot boxes. It has the most stunning cover, but that’s all it has going for it I’m afraid...

The only good thing about this book was that it was a fast read, meaning it was over faster.

While I admit I couldn’t put the book down because I wanted to find out what happened next (the only reason for 1 star is because I couldn’t put it down, otherwise I wouldn’t of rated it), I just couldn’t wait for it to end...

The beginning was confusing with all the place names being similar and so many character names being introduced at the same time.
The story was boring and based around politics.
The characters were boring and I felt no connection at all to them.
The writing was just dull and I found a few grammatical errors which made some sentences not even make sense.
It was predictable and boring and confusing.

If anyone can find a way for me to get back the 2 days I wasted reading this, please let me know.
Profile Image for Bee.
430 reviews854 followers
July 13, 2018
I anticipated a lot of the plot in the first half, but then got tricked by misdirection multiple times later on! Despite being a slow build, there is so much left of this world to explore, and so many more conflicts to uncover that I'll probably be reading the sequel!
Profile Image for Eleanor.
558 reviews112 followers
April 25, 2018
I was surprised by how much I loved this book! Honestly, I am reading so many awesome books recently! But anyway, I read The Sin Eater's Daughter last year, and I remember thinking it was okayyy, so I was a little bit nervous about picking this one up. It arrived in the March Fairyloot box (which was awesome by the way) and my first thought was "wow that cover mate". But there is so to love inside as well as out - and I personally think this one is a lot better than Melinda Salisbury's first books.


- I really loved how different this was! It felt so unique and a completely new take on fantasy. There is none of the stock fantasy kingdom here - there was a whole new interesting monarchy-esque thing going on, where the country is ruled by chancellors but they run an election (except only one family can run for election so.... (:). But I thought it was a really interesting and just different idea! I loved it!
- I love the characters as well. Sorrow is awesome, just the right blend of strength and vulnerability. I love how she struggles with her decisions and what she wants - so relatable! I feel so sorry for her half the time, but I think she is a really great protagonist. I also liked her friend Irris. I loved how she wanted to go to university and study rather than be part of the court. But I think the show was stolen by my darling Luvain Fen. I read his name as Lucien the whole time so I know I love him. But he is so funny and full of himself and I adore him!
- The writing was also pretty great too! I think it had a really nice flow. I mean, there was nothing beautiful or exceptional about it, but I think it was really great for the story here. It kept me involved and it is my favourite style - third person, past tense. I feel like so many books coming out now are in 1st person, and it is always nice to find a difference.
- The story itself was really different from how I imagined. It climaxed really quickly and I had a bit of a "oh what is gonna happen for the rest of the book" but it was not about what I really thought it would be! It is very political and includes Sorrow running for election and trying to uncover secrets and basically just being an awesome potato. I approve heartily.
- Plus the world building is super amazing! The main country is Rhannon, but there is also Rhylla. I did kind of get their names mixed up at first but after a while it was fine. they were so well built and their culture was really interesting to read about. I'm excited to find out more about Rhyllians and their abilities in the next instalment!

I really loved this one! I think more people need to be reading it. It is a change from the generic fantasy and I think it had really amazing world building, characters, and was just super unique! Honestly, if you like fantasy, PLEASE go check this one out! It is so worth it. I loved it, it surprised me, and I cannot wait for the next book!
Profile Image for Pauliina (The Bookaholic Dreamer) .
431 reviews43 followers
August 17, 2018
My heart is broken. I have no idea how to write a review.

Sorrow's father is shattered by grief for Mael, Sorrow's brother who died before she was born. In his grief, Sorrow's father, the chancellor of Rhannon, has pulled the once glorious place into darkness. The chancellor doesn't allow for music, arts or colours, not even opened windows. Sorrow struggles to deal with her father who is desperately addicted to an awful drug and thus incapacitates himself while using it to deal with his grief. In addition to this, Sorrow has to fight against the legacy her mother left her on the day she was born while naming her, Sorrow - for that is all she brings us.

These characters are alive. They are intelligent, breathing beings in my mind, and my soul aches for them. State of Sorrow is an intricately beautiful story. A story full of politics that twist your stomach into painful knots. Overall, State of Sorrow flows , the events and scenes occur naturally and every piece of grief, passion and hurt is human and understandable.

Profile Image for Patricia Crowther.
479 reviews44 followers
February 12, 2018
4.5*? One or two of the plot points were a little predictable but there were many that were not. I thoroughly enjoyed its almost fairytale style and take on power and politics. Looking forward to the next instalment for sure!
Profile Image for Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen.
1,683 reviews597 followers
October 14, 2019
4.25 Stars

I really enjoyed this book and couldn't wait to start the second book in the series....come to find out that it is now unavailable through Kindle. What am I going to do? I was so looking forward to find out what happens to Sorrow and the rest of the characters.
Profile Image for Luna.
69 reviews
March 14, 2018
DNF at pg 47

Given how positive most of the reviews for this book are, I feel like the black sheep because it wasn’t for me. The beginning is so infodumpy and so many characters are introduced so fast that it’s impossible to become invested in them. Plus, logical fallacies in the world building almost from pg 1. If the bridge is the ONLY thing connecting two countries, and armies refuse to cross it, how has there been a 50 year war? I just didn’t get it at all.

Maybe it gets better? Idk, but 50pgs is about all I’m willing to give a book I am finding so boring.
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews802 followers
April 16, 2018
5 Words: Family, power, manipulation, intrigue, lies.

Honestly? Read it.

It is phenomenal.

The world is just... There are so many details that bring it to life. And the characters are truly part of the world. It's exceptional.

Full review to come.
Profile Image for Amybibliophile.
149 reviews48 followers
July 22, 2019
I received this book in a past Fairyloot box and have put off reading it for quite some time now without really knowing why. The first thing to catch my eye was the cover, it looks 3 dimensional and very suitable to the story inside.

Sorrow Ventaxis has lived her life, along with all of Rhannon, in mourning for a brother she never got to meet and a mother that died 2 days later during her birth.
Her Father makes sure that none of his people can forget his life's biggest mistake when he accidentally drops his only son and heir into the plunging waters below. A drop that is certain death.
No celebrations are permitted, smiling is against the law and the world has lost all of its colour and joy.
17 years later Sorrow is having to take charge of a country in despair and a Chancellor that lives every day in deep depression and addicted to Lamentia, a drug which keeps him in a constant state of suffering after his son.
Sorrow doesn't relish the thought of leadership but understands it will be necessary to over throw her father before word spreads to the surrounding lands about her fathers addiction. Especially neighboring Rhylla when an old enemy of the Ventaxis' throw an absolute jaw-dropping plot twist into the situation that changes everything...

I found myself immediately immersed into the world of Laethea. Sorrow was very mature for a 17 year old girl, I like how there was a romance involved but the story wasn't written around that.
This book is heavy in plot-twists, just as I thought I knew which direction the story was going in and then by the end of the chapter I've completely been spun around and have no idea in which way we are going again... particularly when it comes to a certain characters identity.

Sorrows character arc is strong willed but not over powering and shes like-able. I know that sounds so simple but honestly I find MC's with attitude issues or overbearing as a real deal breaker in books. I didn't agree with the way she treated her lover, Rasmus. I felt he deserved better and he genuinely cared for Sorrow when she is surrounded by so much uncertainty.

I love a villain and State of Sorrow has a brilliant one. Hes suspicious enough that you don't know his next steps and selfish enough that you can feel the revulsion bubbling up inside you & his ulterior motives are slippery to say the least.

This book was a really great read! I've read some mixed reviews in the past but I am really happy I chose to pick it up and think the fact its a Duology makes it even more special as it flows at just the right place. I'm going to pick up the next book at YALC and hopefully get to meet Melinda Salisbury too!
Profile Image for mylibraryofdreams.
556 reviews133 followers
April 23, 2018
Einen Tag nachdem ihr Bruder bei einem tragischen Unfall ums Leben kommt, wird Sorrow geboren und verliert dabei auch ihre Mutter. Ihr Vater kommt mit dem Verlust nicht klar und verbietet fortan alle Fröhlichkeit aus dem Reich Rhannon. Lachen, singen, tanzen und bunte Kleider sind per sofort verboten.
18 Jahre später leidet das Volk immer noch unter dem Tod von Mael und nur Sorrow könnte dem ein Ende bereiten. Sie muss sich entscheiden, für das Volk oder für die Freiheit, auch wenn diese bedeutet, dass das Reich dem Feind in die Hände fällt.

Ich liebe Melinda Salisburys Schreibstil! Er ist so märchenhaft, leicht lyrisch, ein bisschen altmodisch. Von ihr würde ich Blind ein Buch kaufen, nur weil es von ihr ist (huch, genau das habe ich bei State of Sorrow auch gemacht
Es ist aus der Sicht von Sorrow in der dritten Person geschrieben.

Persönliche Meinung
Mal wieder wusste ich nicht genau, um was es in diesem Buch gehen sollte, aber ich wurde nicht enttäuscht! Die Geschichte ist eher slow paced, aktion gibt es hier nicht so viel, aber trotzdem war es superspannend. Einfach wegen all diesen Intrigen, den Plottwists, den Überraschungen, Wendungen und den Charakteren, denen man einfach allen nicht trauen konnte. Zumindest ging es mir so.

«She was born a month too soon. And she was born a girl»

Ich kann leider gar nicht allzu genau auf die Story eingehen, da schon ziemlich früh etwas passiert, was für den weiteren Verlauf wichtig ist, für euch aber ein Spoiler wäre.

«The fact that no one was crying spoke volums to Sorrow. The fact that no one expected her to cry said the same thing.»

Sorrow war als Hauptperson ziemlich sympathisch. Man kann total nachvollziehen wieso sie sich eingeengt fühlt und unter der der, das Königreich Rhannon einmal zu leiten, leidet. Ihr Leben lang wurde sie auf diese Rolle vorbereitet, doch sie würde lieber frei sein, reisen, die Welt sehen. Als ihr dann aber diese Rolle doch aus den Händen zu fallen droht, gefällt ihr das auch nicht. Diese Reaktion fand ich so authentisch und nachvollziehbar, wenn auch ein bisschen nervig. Ihre Beziehung zu Irris konnte ich nicht ganz so fühlen. Laut Aussagen sind sie beste Freundinnen, aber dieses Band habe ich leider nicht soo gespürt. Da war die Verbindung zu Rasmus schon intensiver. (Rasmus steht übrigens auf Platz 1 meiner Lieblingscharakteren =p ) Auch Luvian und Charon standen ihr meiner Meinung nach näher und wurden besser beleuchtet.

«As though he sensed her gaze, Rasmus turned, looking directly at her, and Sorrow ducked back, pressing herself against the wall. Luvian chose that moment to appear in the dorway. „coffee?“ he began, then frowned. „What are you doing?“
„Nothing.“ Her voice was high.
„Right… just casually standing pressed against the wall?“»

Schon nach dem Prolog war ich im Bann dieser magischen Welt und konnte kaum aufhören. Die Spannung war für mich fast unerträglich, weil ich einfach soo unbedingt wissen wollte, ob es echt war, oder nicht. (ja was denn genau? Haha, lest selber!)

Das Buch ist nicht unbedingt ein Jahreshighlight, aber es hat mir sehr gut gefallen und ich freue mich jetzt schon wahnsinnig auf die Fortsetzung!

Fazit: Intrigen, Verrat, und Plottwists gepaart mit einem wunderschönen, märchenhaften Schreibstil
Profile Image for Marochka.
845 reviews
February 5, 2019
С одной стороны, персонажи довольно типичны для фэнтези, но с другой — не совсем. Хоть персонажи и подростки, они весьма... взрослые. Модно нынче в YA-фэнтези вставлять описания секса (не слишком, конечно, подробные, но все же).
А вообще персонажи мне понравились, интересные и не раздражающие.
Если честно, я искренне удивлена, что мне так понравилось. Книга во многом о политике, пусть и фэнтезийной, а от политики я весьма далека. Тем не менее, все эти интриги и повороты сюжета мне понравились. Прочитала, не отрываясь, хоть книга и немаленькая. С удовольствием бы прочитала вторую часть.
Profile Image for Laura .
91 reviews22 followers
April 22, 2019
4.5 stars.

I've read this book twice now and I came to appreciate it even more the second time around. It's one of the most unconventional books I've ever read, starting with the fact that it doesn't have a clear genre. It definitely features fantasy elements and magic, and is set in an original world, but said world doesn't reproduce the typical high fantasy tropes. For example, it features a political system built on election campaigns instead of the traditional monarchy. The political aspects take up a lot of space in the story, too, and I absolutely loved that, because it's both interesting and educational to see Sorrow actually prepare for her role as the future ruler; usually, you just have the "rightful heir to the throne"-trope where the protagonist doens't really know anything about politics at all.

The second aspect I love are the characters and their dynamics, for they too are very unconventional and diverse and don't match any stereotypes. Also I have to mention the fact that there is no romance in this book. Hallelujah! (Well, technically there is, but it's handled in a way I've never seen done before and it's honestly one of the best and most authentic relationships I've ever read. On the one hand, it's only a romantic subplot and it doesn't affect Sorrow's decisions or storyline at all, which makes her the strong independent woman she is. On the other hand, and I love absolutely everything about it. It just feels so... real, like it could actually happen in the real world, unlike most fictional romances.)

Last but not least I love the plot, for it is very original as well and has many different layers, which leaves room for excellent, mind-wrecking twists. And even though none of these twists completely shocked me, it's less about the "oh my god"-effect for the reader and more about the psychological consequences for the characters themselves. Sorrow is a fantastic protagonist and Melinda Salisbury captures her inner struggles perfectly. I am seriously in awe with this book and can't wait to read the sequel.
Profile Image for Maria von Riva.
144 reviews21 followers
June 18, 2018
Auch auf die Gefahr hin, dass das jetzt ziemlich dramatisch klingt, aber: Wie zur Hölle soll ich die nächsten 9 Monate überleben ohne eine Fortsetzung (vorausgesetzt der nächste Teil erscheint im März nächsten Jahres). Ich kann doch unmöglich so lange warte.. !

Einem Genre könnte ich dem Buch gar nicht so klar zuteilen. Es ist natürlich Fanatsy. Wir haben hier eine fiktive Welt mit fiktiven Staten. Die Geschichte hat aber auch viel Krimi und Mystery in sich, wenn nicht sogar ein wenig Thriller-Elemente. Eine Liebesgeschichte gibt es auch. Und sie gefällt mir sehr, weil sie nicht im Vordergrund steht und keine dieser typischen Liebesgeschichten ist. Der Fokus liegt er auf Lügen, Verrat und Intrigen. Wie das eben so ist in der Politik.

Beim Lesen erinnerte ich mich an den Verlauf von Game of Thrones. Es beginnt in Winterfell, die Starks alle lebendig und wohlauf. Dann fällt Bran vom Turm und man denkt sich, "Oh Gott das ist so schlimm, was ist mit der Geschichte los?!" Und in den folgenden Staffeln/Bücher wird alles immer schlimmer und schlimmer und man wünscht sich die Zeit zurück, in der Bran "nur" vom Turm stürzte. So - wenn auch nicht ganz so extrem, da weniger Content - ging es mir mit STATE OF SORROW. Man beginnt das Buch und denkt vielleicht, "Achja, noch eine Geschichte einer royalen Familie, die ein wenig tragisch verläuft". Und dann passiert dieses und jenes und alles gerät aus den Fugen und plötzlich ist das Buch zu Ende obwohl es ja gerade erst begonnen hat. Ich wollte mich durch Isabella (nochmehrbuecher) nicht hypen lassen und habe das Buch skeptisch aber mit Vorfreude in die Hand genommen. Die Skepsis hielt vielleicht 40-50 Seiten, dann war es um mich geschehen. Ich war total in der Geschichte und bei Sorrow und bin hin und weg und fix und fertig.

Für mich das beste Buch was ich dieses Jahr bisher gelesen habe.
Profile Image for Nikki.
952 reviews49 followers
February 16, 2019
Gah, this book. It’s so hard to accurately portray my feelings.

It is a little slow in the beginning, though I don’t think in a bad way. There are also a lot of characters introduced early on, along with the political set up, that made it a little hard to follow or connect with. But only at first! As it winds on, the politics is so intriguing, and the characters are complex and interesting.

I particularly like that Sorrow deals with so much - she has self doubt, suffers from her world views changing, betrayals, casual romance, family issues and it rang a bell from me on imposter syndrome. I really enjoyed all of that being so beautifully portrayed. A lot of the other characters are shown to have similar complex things happening to them, or talk about them. And for me, this is Salisbury’s gift. A rich, complex, beautifully crafted world full of people going through real things.

I also have to mention the amazing twists in the book, I did not see any of them happening! Every time I thought I knew something, the book twisted away from me and opened up new and amazing storylines.

Finally, the bleak society set up really got to me too. The way it was described, what Sorrow and more especially the people on Rhannon felt and suffered through. I loved it. It’s quite different. Still down trodden, but not just in an “evil king” or poor vs rich way, but more complicated and rich.

I give State of Sorrow 4.5 stars, and only lacking the half for the beginning really. With every page turned, it just got better and better.
Profile Image for Breanna.
503 reviews175 followers
April 26, 2018
THIS REVIEW & MORE → Paws and Paperbacks

“Sorrow, for that is all she brings."

I had never heard of State of Sorrow until it showed up in the FairyLoot box for March. I’m so thankful it was included, otherwise I might have missed out on this marvelous, magical story.

The storytelling and worldbuilding were absolutely stunning. This is my first book by Melinda Salisbury, but it will not be my last. The story was full of breathtaking descriptions, dynamic characters, and political intrigue. Sorrow was a wonderful protagonist and I love that she doesn’t fall into the typical ‘strong, female heroine’ trope of other Young Adult Fantasies. She’s certainly not flawless, but she is clever and possesses a quieter type of strength. I love how willing she was to stand up for her people and how badly she wanted to end their suffering. In addition to a great heroine, there was also an outstanding cast of side characters, and I enjoyed each of their relationships and interactions with Sorrow. I don’t want to give too much away about the plot, but there were definitely a couple of twists that I did not see coming.

I highly recommend State of Sorrow, especially for those who enjoying reading books with complex characters, descriptive settings, and intriguing storylines. I had such fun reading this and I’m really looking forward to the sequel!
Profile Image for lucy✨.
285 reviews655 followers
April 10, 2018
State of Sorrow- 5 stars-
This is definitely going to be one of my favourite YA fantasy books. I didn’t have any expectations going into this novel, since I hadn’t heard any reviews or opinions concerning it, but I absolutely loved it.
The novel wasn’t packed with action, and some may have found it slow, but I found the pacing perfect. It wasn’t packed with action, but it was full of politics. The struggle for power was intriguing and interesting without needing to have action-packed fights or events, although there were still some intense scenes! I have been loving political novels at the moment, and this definitely satisfied me!
The world was well developed and intriguing. At the beginning I was confused by the many different names and characters introduced, but I eventually familiarised myself with them and was able to understand everything easier.
The characters were all distinctive and developed. Sorrow was a believable, three-dimensional character. She made mistakes, but she also had noble virtues that made her likeable.
The novel always kept me interested, with multiple plot twists and turns.
I absolutely loved this novel and cannot wait for the sequel (if I can wait that long)!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 361 reviews

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