Rating: 3.5 stars
All stars must fall.
Bloody, lost, broken. We live to fight another day. But with so much stolen from us, can the fates ever twist in our favour again?
My sister and I have been torn apart by shadows and despair, and now we each stand alone. Our sorrow is spun like a web, trapping us tight, and I fear our enemies will soon come to feast upon our souls.
But if I have my way, the merciless sky will have dealt us its final fortune. It’s time for us to take back the power that’s been ripped from our grasp and turn the tide of this war.
All stars must fall, and all Phoenixes must rise. Long live the Savage Queens.
While I enjoyed this book in the Zodiac Academy series more than its predecessor Heartless Sky, it isn’t my favorite book in the series either. What Sorrow and Starlight has done correctly is pull you within its pages emotionally. With the way the previous book had ended, I knew my emotions would be all over the place at the start because most of the characters hadn’t discovered who all they lost until the beginning of this book. It especially made me emotional when we saw all of the Heirs along with Xavier mourn the loss of someone important in their lives. As someone who’s lost an important person who’s been such a big part of my life, I felt like I could relate to the characters when they were mourning their friend. So I feel like this book in the series did a good job of pulling me into reading it emotionally.
I also feel like this book did a good job of character development with the Heirs. After everything that happened in Heartless Sky to them, I feel like they all were at a point where they realized that they cared more about their relationship with the Vega twins than taking the throne. I believe losing one of their own made them realize how rough life can be and that they actually care about their friendship with the twins more so than ruling Solaria. I also enjoyed seeing Darcy continue to grow and become a stronger Fae despite the curse and seeing Orion being hurt to try and help break the curse of the Shadow Beast. Their relationship continues to be one of my favorite relationships in this series as you can see how much they both love each other and what they would do to protect who they love. I also just feel like Darcy’s character as well gets better each book because despite what happens to her here, she still doesn’t break and gives those around her a chance even when she’s been hurt by them. You see this here once the curse is broken and she decides to befriend the Shadow Beast when she realizes the beast was also being controlled by Lavinia. Seeing Darcy like that made me realize just how much I love her character in this series.
What I also enjoyed about Sorrow and Starlight was continuing to see the magic within its pages. As much as I hated Orion and Darcy being trapped, it was interesting to me to see the curse that Darcy was fighting against. I also found myself interested in learning more about the dark magic Tory was using and seeing if she’d be successful in getting Darius back. As much as I hated the circumstances both of the twins found themselves in, I continued rooting for their relationships and seeing things turn around for them for the better.
While I wasn’t particularly fond of the ending of this book for several reasons, there were some things I did enjoy about it. For starters, the majority of the endings in the Zodiac Academy series are dark. Usually they involve something bad happening with the twins and some of the other characters. However with this book in the series, I found the ending light. I think its because for once, things aren’t going terribly wrong for all of the protagonists in this series. And both Darcy and Tory are successful in getting what they want before this book in the series ends even if it doesn’t particularly all happen the way they want.
Despite these things I enjoyed about this book, I had a lot of issues with Sorrow and Starlight too. While Xavier’s chapters didn’t bother me as much as they had in Heartless Sky, I felt like there were a bunch of characters whose perspectives were completely unnecessary. While I was interested to find out what was going on at the academy, I didn’t feel like Milton’s chapters were necessary. There were also other characters who had chapters like Milton I didn’t care about, such as Mildred and Vard, who both only had one chapter in this book that didn’t really add anything to it for me. I wouldn’t have minded having more chapters from Lionel and Lavinia’s perspectives because that would’ve given me more of an idea of what they were planning as this book went on. But chapters from Milton, Mildred, Vard, and even Justin I felt like dragged the book on unnecessarily.
Another criticism I have with this book in the series I’ve had with one of the others before and that would be Tory’s character in Sorrow and Starlight. Once again, she’s practicing with dark magic but this time, she’s not consulting anyone about it. She also makes a whole lot of terrible decisions where she goes off and does dangerous things on her own without letting anyone know where she’s going or what she’s doing. As much as I usually like Tory, whenever the authors have her character acting like this, I have a hard time feeling for her and what she’s going through. And in this book, that happened a whole lot for me because she practically acted like she didn’t care what was going on in the world anymore until she was able to get Darius back and save her sister Darcy. While I understand how much grief/pain she was dealing with, I just feel like the way she acted in this book didn’t feel right/fit her character. I feel like we’ve seen so much growth with her, but then we see her character regress in the series anytime I feel like we’ve seen her learn her lesson from a past experience.
I also continue to feel like Seth and Caleb’s relationship now continues to drag on. Even more so in this book than the last because even other Fae notice how they act around each other but yet they both act hard headed/stubborn and refuse to express to each other how they feel. And in this book, it annoyed me more than the last because you can feel the chemistry between both of them but neither one of them seems to want to voice what’s happening. I really feel like they’d make a great couple, but I’m at the point where I’ve given up on that as this book quashed any possibility of that happening to me. I know we still have one more book in this series to go so I know things could easily change, but right now I’m just not seeing it.
Like Heartless Sky, I felt like this book missed the plot entirely. There were three main plot points in this book from what I read, but I felt like in this book the authors kept trying to add things into the story that didn’t belong. Elements to the plot that made this book longer than it needed to be but also introduced us to more advisories than the protagonists need. The next book in this series is supposed to be the last one, but I’m having a difficult time seeing how they’ll end this series with the amount of content I felt included in this book alone. My thoughts on that are they more than likely will find a quick way to close up certain plots in the story so that the focus will be on defeating Lionel, Lavinia and the new antagonist that’s included at the end of this book. But with how much was in the story here, I’m trying to imagine how that’ll happen.
I also both liked/hated the ending of this book in the series. I’ve already mentioned earlier what I enjoyed about it, so now let me explain why I hated the ending of Sorrow and Starlight. For one, I feel like things still aren’t close to being done with this series. I feel like at the end of this book, Darcy and Tory both made a terrible decision that changed how things were going for them when things seemed like they were going much better. While I don’t completely blame either of them for the decision they made as they wanted to make the promise that had been cursing their family for generations come to fruition so that their odds against Lionel were better, I also feel like the choice brought on a whole lot more problems for them too. It introduced us to another antagonist everyone is going to have to put up with along with Lionel and Lavinia and everything else that happened in this book. And I just don’t see how the last book in the series is going to be able to end with all of the loose ends that still need to be tied up because of what happened in this one.
Overall, I did enjoy reading Sorrow and Starlight more than its predecessor. The beginning of the book pulled me in emotionally, the character development with some of the characters continued in a way I liked, and I enjoyed seeing the magic that was in this book in the series. My issues with this book were seeing too many chapters for characters that aren’t relevant to the story, seeing Tory’s character regress once again, seeing Seth and Caleb’s relationship continue to spiral, and too much being included in the plot that’s not needed. While I’m sad to have finished the main books in the Zodiac Academy series, I’ve decided to read the novellas that take place in between books in this series as I wait for the release of the ninth/final book as I still feel like I haven’t gotten enough of this world and its characters despite this series’ flaws.