Hey everyone! So, after recovering from the heartbreak of reading A House of Rage and Sorrow, I figured I would bring a review since it’s finally hit the shelves!
If you haven’t read the first book in this, The Celestial Trilogy, I’ve provided a review of that for you as well.
If you’ve read it already and don’t want to hear me fangirl scream about it, well, then, keep scrolling down past it to hear me fangirl about the second book.
This is also my first time using my affiliate links, so please note that they are used in this post, but they run no cost to you, simply makes me a happy caffeine riddled reader if you purchase a book using my link.
Also, Kal is completely to blame for me reading these, her amazing review of A Spark of White Fire made me buy the book and then I just had to read book 2, A House of Rage and Sorrow, once more because of her.
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.
Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.
This book is a siren among books, it drags you in the moment you read the first chapter, and that is it, you’re hooked. Your life? It’s over.
Seriously, I remained enthralled and entranced by Mandanna’s style and worldbuilding.
Do you like worldbuilding?
Then trust me when I say she’s a pro at it. She does it while never overwhelming you with details or deterring from the plot, or the characters.
It’s a world of gods, spaceships, and kingdoms.
The characters are great, you love every single one of the cinnamon rolls, and even those that are hard to love, I at least appreciated the work that went into them. Mandanna fleshes out her characters so that those who are ‘stars’ feel intimate to a reader.
Right away I was a huge fan of Esmae, but unfortunately, Rama stole her thunder for me. They have the type of best friend relationship that I at least aspire to keep up with, and not to mention that it is one built most importantly on mutual trust. Rama is a true friend.
And if I start talking about Titania now, I won’t stop until book three is released but she is a brilliant character in her own right if not the actual best character.
There’s so many complex familial relationships and it’s what sets it apart from other Space Operas in my opinion [That and I’ve never read one inspired by the Mahabharata]. It feels real because of the relationships between characters and the romance though present, doesn’t steal the spotlight from what Mandanna wants to convey to us.
And the inkling of foreshadowing about certain things is so well done, I see what you did there, Mandanna, with a certain scene with a certain ‘no longer relevant’ name.
I want to be more thorough but at this point my notes just say, and I quote, ‘AHH NO! *Spoiler which I won’t include* I cannot believe it! Just let me sob here int he corner’
If this doesn’t inspire you to read it, I don’t know what will.
I was able to finally take this off my tbr thanks to Kal having done her #Sparkalong
Honestly, it was perfection to read, and I don’t know how I managed to wait at all for the sequel.
Speaking of which, now for the main attraction of today
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.
Do you want to know how you know a book is an excellent read? When you call the author a breeder of heartache.
She has no shame, look at her, liking all the heartache she’s caused me lol.
This book picks up shortly after where we left off, anything that happened between the end of the first book and the start of the second is run over, and she doesn’t give you a huge time gap either so all in all it’s a really tidy start to the road of broken hearts.
The complex amazing familial relationships only get more complex, though, I mean I hold a torch for Bear, who I just want to sign up for baking classes and let him be happy.
Esmae’s ties to her immediate family are strained, Alexi has destroyed his golden child image, yet she feels as if she’s the only one who cares that he’s proven himself unhonourable. She’s been put on a path of revenge and not even Max or Titania can stop her.
Realizing that revenge has tainted her in a way, she pulls away from relationships both friendly or otherwise and it hurts so much to watch her do that.
Watching her try to comprehend what’s happened and what she’s become is enough to make your eyes a tad leaky, and Amba proves to be just like … words can’t describe it without spoiling it, so I won’t. But my eyes are leaking again.
Kyra can go fly a kite. I hated her in book one, the hate DOES NOT lessen in this book. *Looks at Kyra* YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID.
We find out so much more about Max, and even about Esmae’s family. There are enough shocking points in this book that I wrote ‘holy shit’ more than once. A couple of things were verified but they were so tiny in the grand scheme of at least one or two plot twists.
Also, there’s more Titania which, let’s face it, who doesn’t need more Titania in your life. And her character development is done so well. SO WELL.
The war loomed in the background in the previous book but it pushes its way forward, though some have hoped that it wouldn’t come to it, there was no other way.
Esmae will take drastic measures, she will stop at nothing to achieve what she thinks should be done. She goes so much further than I ever thought possible. Again, having to be vague to avoid spoilers.
This ending is EPIC and it will RUIN YOU. DO YOU HEAR ME?! RUIN YOU!
I’m not sure what I’m meant to do with myself until book 3, but here we have it, I’m shattered and this book was amazing.
I probably sound like some overlyhyped junkie trying to push some drugs, but, guys, this was perfection and I loved it.
**Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for an eARC of this in exchange for my honest opinion.**
About the Author
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.