Book Review: The Crown’s Sorrow by Kelly Blanchard and Matthew Dale

The Crown’s Sorrow is the third book in the Hand of Sorrow series by Kelly Blanchard and Matthew Dale, and we are now getting into the heart and soul of the story. Not to say that the first two books weren’t significant or full stories in of themselves, but this book is where certain details get tied together and events really start to move.

1. Thoughts on the plot

This book follows Ensula as she tries to protect her kingdom from being harried by neighbouring kingdoms that still follow the Fane of Tenillith. In doing so, she hires the Five Houses of assassins to effectively reduce the royal families of the various kingdoms, inadvertently hiring Adrik, former Inquisitor and friend. 

There is a great deal of drama in this book on both sides of the story, following Adrik and Ensula. I can’t reveal a lot of it because it would spoil a great many things, but events in this book were a lot more involved and even a touch darker than the previous two books. It felt like the plot was intensifying in very vibrant ways, giving the characters a great deal more to fight for, and consequently more to lose.

2. Thoughts on the characters

In conjunction with the plot moving in new, unexpected ways, the characters too felt far more intense, far more involved and deep. This was a very good thing for the main characters, because it means that us readers get to see more of them and learn more about them, as well as watch them evolve over the course of the story. However, some of the side characters by comparison felt like looking at shadow after staring at the sun; a little lost in the afterglow. While this is fairly common in stories with large casts of characters, this is the first time i’ve noticed such a phenomenon in this particular series. However, it’s not really that big of an issue since the story is about the main characters more than any others.

3. Favourite part

Ensula got very, very dark there for a while. I liked it a lot, because it showed how far she was willing to go, but it was also a bit frightening. Very well done.

4. Critique

There’s a particular character in this book who starts out very well and who ends up not so well. I can’t reveal his name for spoilers, but he’s an idiot. A really big idiot.

Overall, I would say that this third book is a great expansion on the series and I am most curious to see where the rest of the story is going, because now I am well and truly invested in these characters’ lives.