After A Spark of White Fire won my heart so much that I have tagged it as one of my most favourite, life-changing fiction, I definitely jumped at the opportunity to read the sequel early and bring all the light, attention, and love that this series (the third book is set to release in 2021) deserves. So this book review is largely adamant on persuading everyone to give this series a chance without any spoilers because you all deserve to experience the great pain that Mandanna’s twists bring.
A House of Rage and Sorrow by Sangu Mandanna
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.
Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.
It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.
PREVIOUS: A Spark of White Fire (#1)
A House of Rage and Sorrow is a stunning sequel to a stunning YA Indian mythology inspired science fiction – fantasy, A Spark of White Fire. It continues Esmae’s story after the tragic and unexpected ending of the first instalment. From family dynamics to individual power building, and from revenge to love, this sequel brings more emotions—and consequently, more tears—to the plate. It breaks any barrier, if one even existed, between gods and mortals in the most surprising manner possible.
Representation: Indian mythology, inspiration from Hindu epics.
Ownvoices reader as: an Indian, desi.
Trigger warnings: grief, heartbreak, revengeful thoughts, mistrust, weakened relationship with biological mother, loss of a body part, sadness due to hesitation in accepting one’s sexuality.
WHEN THE SEQUEL IS AS AMAZING AS THE FIRST BOOK.
How difficult can it be to pronounce your love for a sequel without delving into the essence of the first book for it will open the doors to spoilers? Very. But that’s exactly what I’m aiming for because if there’s something I’m shamelessly scared of is anyone coming across spoilers from this book. It uses the loose strands of the first instalment to effectively torture the readers with even more intense emotions and surprise them with just as many revelations.
For someone who has read A Spark of White Fire, this will impress you even more with all the added complexity in the overall plot as well as in Esmae’s character. For those who have stumbled upon this review without reading the first book, please read my desperate review of it and pick it up now, thank you.
ESMAE’S STRENGTH TAKES ANOTHER LEAP IN THIS ONE.
Esmae continues to be a strong YA female but this sequel brings her under a spotlight that glows her powers, her strength, her stern decision to take revenge even more, and simultaneously fluctuates to show her weakness and everything else that essentially makes her a human. She remains to be the independent personality who is ready to carve her own path and while the path is never smooth, her courage and bravery will impress the readers without a doubt. Her character, despite being the main protagonist of the story, doesn’t try to appear as a flawless young person and that is certainly what makes me love her so much.
THE FAMILIAL COMPLEXITY IS EVEN MORE MULTIFACETED.
The complex family that made up all the pieces on this chessboard turns even more complex—yes, it’s possible—with the sudden rush of rage inside Esmae and those who are directly or indirectly affected by her. Esmae’s one true desire to belong with those she had always assumed to love and with those who she has come to love is dealt with in this story, and it’ll surely bring tears—of joy or sorrow, find out for yourself. If there’s someone lost, there’s someone found so I like to think of this instalment as a balanced see-saw which somehow makes you cry.
REVELATIONS & INSPIRATION THAT SURPRISE & SHOCK.
The revelations were shocking, surprising, staggering, and every other synonym of ‘they f*ck you up’. Right when you think nothing can surpass this disclosure BAM! one comes right at you with full intensity and you will have to look around and wonder what just happened. The inspiration drawn from Mahabharata is even more vivid and as a South-Asian blogger, I feel happy about it, very happy. Along with the great development of our Esmae, the side characters—including Titania—have their own individual arcs to come to life for the readers.
WANT TO RECALL ALL THE CHARACTERS YOU SHOULD KNOW?
If I list out all the characters involved in this sequel, there’ll be a huge possibility of giving away spoilers so if you wish to know about the characters frequently seen in the series, you can read my review of A Spark of White Fire .
Quick points if you’re on a time crunch.
☛ Build-up conflicts
☛ Revengeful ambitions
☛ Salty family relations
☛ Layers of deception
☛ Underlying mystery
☛ Gods meet mortals
☛ Vengeful craving
☛ Queer side characters
☛ POV of a sentient spaceship
☛ Space action sequence
☛ Chaos guided by anguish
☛ Desperation gives rise to power
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.
Website | Goodreads | Twitter
This post is written right from the heart and as part of a blog tour organised by Caffeine Book Tours in 2019 but everything stated in the post is solely my opinion and isn’t influenced by any means.
Disclaimer: Affiliate links in this post can help me earn or indulge in a benefit that would not cost anything extra to your purchase or sign-up! Considering sharing this post if you loved reading it! Wish to support this blog? You can do so by buying a quick KoFi for the blogger.