The Queen of Sorrow by Beth Durst (the Queens of Renthia Book 3) by Sarah Beth Durst

Queen Daleina has yearned to bring peace and prosperity to her beloved forest home—a hope that seemed doomed when neighboring forces invaded Aratay. Now, with the powerful Queen Naelin ruling by her side, Daleina believes that her dream of ushering in a new era can be realized, even in a land plagued by malevolent nature spirits who thirst for the end of human life.
And then Naelin’s children are kidnapped by spirits.
Nothing is more important to her than her family, and Naelin would rather watch the world burn than see her children harmed. Blaming the defeated Queen Merecot of Semo for the kidnapping, Naelin is ready to start a war—and has the power to do it.
But Merecot has grander plans than a bloody battle with her southern neighbors. Taking the children is merely one step in a plot to change the future of all Renthia, either by ending the threat of spirits once and for all . . . or plunging the world into chaos.(taken from Amazon)

This is book three in the Queens of Renthia trilogy. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, but there will (inevitably) be a couple from the first two books. You can find my review for book one, The Queen of Blood, here. You can find my review of The Reluctant Queen here. The entire series is available for purchase now.

I’m really annoyed about something: the Queens of Renthia series is over. That is cause for frustration, because it was so stinking good. I loved pretty much everything about it from moment one. Let me tell you, though; it ended with a bang.

The Queen of Sorrow focuses on Naelin, a queen who really doesn’t love the idea of being queen. She is only willing to take on the task as a way to protect her children. She’s more powerful than the other queen, Daleina, by leaps and bounds. That power has saved Renthia (and Naelin’s kids) more than once. So when the queen of the neighboring kingdom of Senmo decides to kidnap Naelin’s children, it quickly becomes obvious that she has made a mistake of catastrophic proportions. Naelin, Queen of Sorrow, goes to war.

It took me longer to read this book than the rest of the books in the trilogy because author Sarah Beth Durst evoked the terror and anger of finding your children in danger incredibly well and, as a mom who would move hell and high water for her kids, I had a hard time reading that and had to take frequent breaks. There were no graphic or violent scenes involving the kids, thankfully, or I would have had to give up on the book. That being said, it made an excellent catalyst for everything that came after.

As for the characters, they were all fantastic, as usual. Daleina was in this book far less than in the others, but she played a key role. Ven, the queen’s champion, was interesting to read because of how much his role evolved from book one to book three. He went from being kind of a ranger who trained future queens, to being Naelin’s boyfriend and pseudo-father for her kids. I loved, loved, loved his character progression! He grew in leaps and bounds and matured in different and unexpected ways.

Then there’s Naelin herself. She was the main focus in this book. Her character didn’t develop quite as much in The Queen of Sorrow because she was busy being a force of nature. Her interactions with the Merecot, the queen of Senmo, were interesting, to say the least.

Finally, we get to finally see a little bit of what makes Merecot tick. I loved how Sarah Beth Durst wrote her character. Instead of being a one-dimensional villain, it turns out she’s made a desperate gamble in an attempt to do what she thinks is right. It makes for one heck of a final showdown.

As always, the world was captivating. I was blown away by the sheer creativity of it. The way the spirits (think unique versions of dryads and other nature-related critters) were included in everything was nothing short of brilliant. They played a really cool role, especially in the battle scenes. And the way things wrapped up! I wouldn’t have expected it in a million years.

Basically, this is my really long-winded way of saying that everyone should read this series. It sucked me in from start to finish. I was sad to see the trilogy end, but The Queen of Sorrow was the perfect conclusion.

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