November 25, 2019 by Zoë
A House of Rage and Sorrow by Sangu Mandanna picks up where the previous installment left off: Esmae hates her brother for taking her best friend from her and will stop at nothing to destroy him and his kingdom. With the best war ship every created and a kingdom willing to rally around her, Esmae is a force to be reckoned with, willing to wreak havoc in the galaxy in order to get what she wants. As gods and other forces gather about her, only tragedy will follow.
This is a Mahabharata retelling and so I should be really into it, but I’m just…not. I understand the conflict, for the most part, and I like Esmae as an anti-hero, but I just don’t connect to the story on any sort of emotional level. I see the tragedy, I see the desperation, but I don’t feel any of it. I like the characters’ backstories, but when the interact with each other, I don’t feel anything. People fall ill, people fight, people die, I don’t care.
There was one interesting twist right at the end of the book, which I appreciated since it could mean more interesting emotional journeys for the characters in the coming novel, but overall nothing really interested or excited me. I just kept reading to recognize more characters acting out the Mahabharata in space. But even all the way to the end, I didn’t care about any of them.