Sea of Sorrows by Michelle West. ★★★1/2
Sea of Sorrows is the fourth book in Michelle West’s Sun Sword series, and you absolutely need to start from the beginning. If you aren’t familiar with the series, it’s a traditional epic fantasy series with plenty of female characters and begins with The Broken Crown.
Like all other installments in the series, Sea of Sorrows is long, numbering some 800 odd pages. My experience with this series has been that the beginnings might feel like they’re dragging, but by the half way mark things speed up. Unfortunately that wasn’t my experience with Sea of Sorrows. There were large sections that I felt like I was slogging through.
The focus of Sea of Sorrows is on the Voyani, their allies, and their journey into the desert to find the lost Cities of Men. To be honest, I didn’t really understand the point of the journey, and I felt like even when they reached the cities there was still a lot of exposition. For a book that’s 800 pages long, I’m not sure how much happened that was actually plot relevant.
However, West excels at creating emotionally resonant scenes. I especially loved the bond that formed between Margret and Diora and how Margret was eventually able to see beyond Diora’s pretty face. Diora is hands down my favorite character in the series, and I love how her strength is portrayed as feminine. The other good news about Sea of Sorrows is that there was less of Avandar than in the last book. I really hate Avandar. If he winds up in a romantic relationship with Jewel, you will see some ranting in my reviews.
I found Sea of Sorrows to be the weakest installment in the Sun Sword series. However, I am most certainly planning on continuing the series. I look forward to what the next two books will bring.