Friday, October 26, 2018

Book Review: A Sorrow Fierce and Falling

Title: A Sorrow Fierce and Falling (Kingdom on Fire #3)
Author:  Jessica Cluess
Genre: Young Adult | Magic | Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Random HouseB FYR
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
Source: Publisher
Format: eAudio


It’s time for war.
After suffering terrible losses, Henrietta and Lord Blackwood have led their warriors to Sorrow-Fell, a vast estate where only those invited by a Blackwood may enter–and the ideal place to plan a final assault against the Ancients.
It’s time for a wedding.
Henrietta nervously awaits her marriage to Blackwood, but when the ritual to become his bride reveals a dark secret, she realizes that Sorrow-Fell is not a safe haven; it’s a trap. Convincing the sorcerers of this, however, is not easy. So with Maria, the true chosen one, and Magnus, the young man who once stole her heart, at her side, Henrietta plots a dangerous journey straight into the enemy’s lair. Some will live. Some will die. All will be tested.
In this stunning conclusion to the Kingdom on Fire series, Henrietta must choose between the love from her past, the love from her present, and a love that could define her future. While battles rage, the fate of the kingdom rests on her decision: Will she fall or rise up to become the woman who saves the realm?
It’s time for Henrietta to make her stand (goodreads).


I'm far too emotional to write a review. 
Plot: A Poison Dark and Drowning dropped some major revelations and set A Sorrow Fierce and Falling up for an epic showdown between man and monster. Going into this, I was afraid that there would be too much to cover and the pacing would suffer from it. A Sorrow Fierce and Falling was the perfect ending for this series; for a decidedly somber book, Cluess still managed to include the charm and humor that set both A Shadow Bright and Burning and A Poison Dark and Drowning a part from other YA fantasy novels. This series ended on such a perfect note that Jessica Cluess is now an auto-buy author for me. 

Characters: What surprised me the most about this book was how emotional it was. There were pages where I laughed out loud, and then there were pages where I silently cried to myself. Cluess was not afraid to put her characters through the wringer and their growth was evident from the hardships they suffered. I'm a character-driven reader which is what made the Kingdom on Fire series so addictive. The characters we saw in A Sorrow Fierce and Falling were not the same characters that were first introduced in A Shadow Bright and Burning which made the journey resonate with me even more. 

The romance was an interesting journey on its own and I laughed when characters in A Sorrow Fierce and Falling poked fun at Henrietta's love square debacle. For someone who hates love shapes, I was really happy with how it was handled and appreciated the message tied to it. 

Worldbuilding: Cluess' twist on Queen Victoria's England was a treat, and I was astounded by how  easy it was to add magicians, sorcerers, witches, and the fae to it. The politics of magical London were interesting and I loved the little we got to glimpse into the fae world. I've been a bit in a YA fantasy slump and this world reminded me why it was my favorite genre. I think non fantasy readers can appreciate the research and thought that went into building this world. 

Narration Performance: Fiona Hardingham is an impressive performer; she brought this story to life and made it art. Her male voices were fun as were her fae voices. What made her performance such a treat was that she understand the nuances in tone and created the perfect atmosphere. I highly recommend the audio book version, especially if you're new to the audio book realm and enjoy YA Fantasy. 

Short N Sweet: A Sorrow Fierce and Falling was one of the best endings to a fantasy series and I can't wait to share it with everyone. 


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