Review of State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury

This review is spoiler free


YA fantasy

464 pages

Published on the 1st of March 2018


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.

This is the story of Sorrow. And it utterly broke my heart.

State of Sorrow is an intricately beautiful story. A story full of politics that twists your stomach into painful knots.


These characters are alive. They are intelligent, breathing beings in my mind, and my soul aches for them. Sorrow is one of the most relatable characters I have met in books. She is crushed by all the things that have wronged her, but she nevertheless has the desperate desire to turn everything around. Every piece of grief, passion and hurt in State of Sorrow is human and understandable.

At its core, State of Sorrow is heavily political.  I like political fantasy, but more often than not books in this genre annoy or confuse me. The political landscape is either too complex and thrown at the reader all at once, or the solution for the political issue is so simple that the reader realises it from the beginning but for some reason the characters ignore it and make bad decisions. To me, State of Sorrow was like a whole new planet of political fantasy. The world is built gradually and the issues are realistic. Everytime I came up with a solution while reading the characters would come up with the same idea right away and act on it.

One of my favourite things about this novel is that it flows. The events and scenes occur naturally, which makes the book so easy to read. I devoured most of State of Sorrow during a 24 hour readathon and I never got bored or confused. Instead, I laughed, smiled and gasped in horror. While working, I was constantly itching to get the book, build a blanket fort and disappear in there with some hot chocolate until I’m finished reading and left with a massive book hangover. In the end no forts were built but I definitely got the book hangover.

Sorrow aesthetic

Above is my book aesthetic, aka how I felt while reading State of Sorrow in images. One big aspect in the book is an old humpback bridge which strongly reminded me of old pack horse bridge in Carrbridge, the Scottish Highlands, that I have visited quite a few times (that’s the bridge in the aesthetic!).


Have you read State of Sorrow? What did you think? If not, are you planning to? Can you recommend any similar books? Chat me in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading!

– Pauliina

10 thoughts on “Review of State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s