Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass (book #4)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Format: Paperback (645 pages)
My Goodreads rating: 5/5 stars
Book Depository: Queen of Shadows
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .
She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.
Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world. (Goodreads)
Hi there! Happy Easter! It’s been a while since my last post, because exams are looming and I’ve been thrown head-first into study. It’ll be quiet from me for the next few weeks, but I’ll put out what I can, starting with this!
What a book! I have kind of a love-hate relationship with this series, and this is purely due to the direction the plot took. It’s the first thing that comes out of my mouth when I discuss this series. How different the plot ended up to what we first got to read in Throne of Glass. I don’t think I’ll ever fully get over it, how the world of Celaena the assassin has turned into the Fae-filled, magical world of Queen Aelin. That being said, I’ve decided to finally just roll with it and accept the change, and read Queen of Shadows in a new, purely objective light. And holy crap, what a read it was!
There are so many things about this book that I loved. There are also some flaws that I picked up which left me a little disconcerted, but clearly not enough to revoke my 5-star rating. Warning: there may be potential spoilers ahead. So if you haven’t read this book yet, just know that it is an incredibly fast-paced, exciting continuation from Heir of Fire, with more of the world explored and some truly dark and exciting moments.
Ok! On to the discussion. First of all, Maas’s writing and storytelling is fantastic, and continues to grow. She throws you into the story and the lives of the characters with great skill, and leaves you hooked. The characters are one of the best parts of the book. Rowan as a character has really grown on me. I actually loved him in this book, which is a huge change from my thoughts in Heir of Fire, Manon is another character that really surprised me. I wasn’t that interested in her in the previous book, mostly because I couldn’t care less about the war games, but the role of her and her coven in this book is important and far more interesting to read. She’s a total badass.
The fate of Dorian is heartbreaking to read, but I loved how gritty and frankly terrifying it is. The entire story of the Valg is terrifying! And the events in Morath are amazingly scary to read about. I was properly freaked out, so fair play to Maas. She holds nothing back, The introduction of Elide was an interesting plot point that I welcomed fully, because she is such a fascinating character; I simply couldn’t wait to see how she fit into the grand scheme of things.
The action scenes are fast-paced and extremely well-written. I really hold Maas in high regard when it comes to describing the minute details of action and fighting scenes, because she does it so well. From the events in the mountain, to Aelin’s actions in the city, everything is well-paced and exciting to read.
She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph.
I just LOVE how smart Aelin is. Although still the hotheaded, arrogant girl we know and love, I adore how she is always one step ahead of her enemies, how she is allowed to make mistakes but still be a strong, extremely intelligent female protagonist. I honestly applaud Maas for making Aelin so ahead of the game, without making her seem completely invincible.
Behind them, across the hall, the dancers shattered their roses on the floor, and Aedion grinned at his queen as the entire world went to hell.
And apart from the great character arcs, the action scenes and the pure grittiness of the novel, two things I couldn’t get over are Lysandra’s and Kaltain’s roles in this. Lysandra is exactly what I’ve always wanted to see in a novel: a proper, strong FEMALE companion for our protagonist, who is complex and has her own flaws but is ultimately there for Celaena. I see it a lot, where a female protagonist can’t have female friends who aren’t either traitors, superficial people, or both. So that was fantastic to see, as well as Lysandra’s kickass powers! And Kaltain. Kaltain’s role in this book is breathtaking, horrifying and seriously cool. Her actions and sacrifice made me want to give this book a million stars alone.
Now, for the few things I didn’t like (just two): I wish Rowan and Aelin remained platonic. I know, I know, it’s nice to have a ship. But their relationship came out of nowhere to me. I think they would have made an awesome team of two as friends, who bicker (like they did in Heir of Fire) but ultimately have each other’s back. Just my thoughts. Also, Chaol. What happened to his character? I don’t really know when I started to dislike him, but Maas really eradicated the Chaol I know and love as the series progressed. I know people change, and war does things to people, but still. The intense dislike Chaol has for Aelin? Cool it, dude. Chill.
Overall, I couldn’t get over how much of an impact the book had on me. Maas is such a great writer; so despite the struggles I’ve had with this series, I’m glad I read on. I recommend it, especially if you still have hopes for the series.
And that’s it! The reason I came out of my study cloud to post this, despite plans to take a hiatus until early May (exams, y’all), is because I read this book and the following, Empire of Storms, within a few days of each other. And you do not know how much Empire of Storms DESTROYED ME. I simply had to review both the book above and the fifth in the series, which I’ll post shortly. Look out for it, and thanks for reading!