Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

queen of shadows

Title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Date: 1st September 2015

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Before I started reading the fourth instalment of this series, I had heard that the series started to go downhill, and after loving the first three I was a bit hesitant at first. Turns out I had nothing to worry about because this book was incredible! So much happened in the 600+ pages (that’s a lot of words) and I was living for it. Especially after the ending, which has made me more excited to get around to the next two books before the final one comes out this year. Fair warning, there will be spoilers as we are well into this series now (if anything I am a bit behind).

Aelin, formerly Celaena Sardothien, has returned to Rifthold to take back what is rightfully hers, to destroy the men responsible for ruining her life, and to save the people she loves. After learning that her cousin has been taken and Dorian is under the control of a Valg Prince, she devises a plan to rescue Aedion with the help of Chaol and her former master, Arobynn. But everything comes at a price and the price of Arobynn’s help is the deliverance of a Valg to his doorstep. Soon enough help arrives in the form of Rowan, the Fae who helped her back in Wendlyn, and they all work together to help Aelin take back her Kingdom and face her foes (because there are plenty).

All the while, back in Morath the Blackbeak witches are under the rule of the King and Duke Perrington. Manon has been told by her grandmother to do as they are told and to not question anything. But when the witches are taken to be used for breeding with the Valg demons, Manon knows that something is wrong. Something dark is brewing within the walls and they soon realise that things must change.

So much happens in this book that it is hard to know where to start. The writing, as always, was incredible and captivating. When it comes to world building, Maas is one of the best and I can always visualise what is written in front of me. I am loving that we still get to read about the witches in Morath because Manon is one of my favourite characters, and it was interesting to finally read scenes with Arobynn in them (isn’t he an evil bastard?). The plot twists just keep coming with this series and the biggest one was saved for the end, which completely shocked me to my core. I don’t understand how that can still happen with a series, but it is keeping me hooked.

Something I adore about the Throne of Glass series now is that there are still the multiple perspectives, which allow us to see so much more. Again, there is so much to talk about, but I guess I will try to sum it up as much as I can. Of course we have Aelin, the badass Queen, who is still one of my favourite protagonists. She is sassy and sarcastic, as well as brutal, even when she sometimes shouldn’t be. I really enjoyed her romantic development with Rowan in this story. While I was firmly team Chaol I have been swayed, because they are the best and have some of my favourite scenes in the book. Rowan has really grown on me and I find myself always smiling when I read his snarky comments and swooning when he looks out for Aelin.

There was the introduction of a new character for me, which was Lysandra, someone who Aelin grew up with, and who was used by Arobynn as well. Throughout the story their friendship grew and after what happened with Nehemia, it was great to see that happen. Not to mention the fact that Lysandra was such a strong female character that fought for those she loved. Later on in the story some truths are revealed which makes her a better character and one that I look forward to reading about in the future.

I’m going to speak about some of the darker characters in the story now and for a time it was Dorian. His chapters were heartbreaking after everything he has gone through and now he is possessed by a Valg demon. But I liked how Chaol was always rooting for him, wanting to save him, even when others didn’t think he could be saved (looking at you Aelin). Then we have Manon. I love her. She isn’t the nicest of people, I will admit that, but she is ferocious and brutal, and her chapters are my favourites. She is such a diverse character and she really gets quite the arc in this story considering what happens at the end with Dorian.

I would say that the second half of the book is better because that is when most of the action takes place and there is so much going on. Secrets unfold, lots of people die and in the end, I would say that there was a happy ending of sorts. But you can definitely tell that something dark and sinister is lurking on the horizon and I can’t wait to find out what happens to our characters next.

Overall, Queen of Shadows was my favourite book in the series so far and I can only hope that it will continue this way. A solid five stars from me!

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Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Heir of Fire

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Date: 11th September 2014

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s

This series is incredible and it has gotten better with every book I have read. It’s been a while since I loved a series as much as this and I am so passionate about the characters and their world. I just can’t get enough! Heir of Fire is the best so far because it was tense, fast paced and I was hooked. As this is the third book in the series there will be some spoilers below so if you haven’t read the others, don’t read anymore.

Heir of Fire picks up with Celaena arriving in Wendlyn to carry out the task the King had set her, to steal military plans from the Kingdom. Going against his orders, she hides out until she meets the mysterious Fae Prince, Rowan Whitethorn, who takes her to see Queen Maeve, who can give her the answers that she seeks. But first, she must master her gifts with the help of Rowan. Together they travel to Mistborn, where the Demi-Fae live and they begin a gruelling training regime. All the while a darkness is growing in the mountains where the Ironteeth witches are gathering to help the King of Adarlan. Back in Rifthold Chaol is working with the rebels to come up with ways to help Dorian control his magic and how they can restore it to the land.

There is so much that goes on in this book that it’s hard to know where to start (and it isn’t exactly a small book either). I’m going to start off by saying that I loved the multiple POVs in this book and it was so easy to keep track of everyone’s story. My favourite, by far, was learning about Manon Blackbeak and the wyverns that had been created. I can’t even begin to explain how incredible it was to learn of their history (especially after being introduced to the Yellowlegs clan in Crown of Midnight) and Manon was one of the most badass characters I’ve seen in a while. There is definitely more than meets the eye with her and I’m excited to see where her story leads her (also, Abraxos is amazing and I got Toothless vibes).

The character growth, especially for Celaena, was amazing and learning about her past helped us to understand why she acted the way she did. I was almost crying at some parts because it was so emotional and I think it all comes down to the fact that Maas has created a character that we can all connect with in some way. The shock of finding out that she was Aelin, heir to the throne of Terrasen, stuck with me at the beginning of the novel and it was fascinating to read her interactions at Mistward and the struggles she faced regaining her power.

We were introduced to so many new characters in this novel and they all had their own voice that was distinct and unique. While Rowan seemed to be a bit of an arse in the beginning (he was just a little bit harsh to Celaena), we later grew to understand him and in the end I could feel him becoming one of my favourites. We also met Aedion, the General of one of the King’s armies, who was helping Chaol uncover the secrets of how the magic in Adarlan disappeared and how they could indeed get it back. He, too, was a bit of an arse, but in the end it all made sense and I was rooting for him, for them all really.

Dorian managed to meet someone, a healer named Sorscha, who made him happy and I couldn’t help but smile when I read his POV, although that ending had me gasping because I did not expect a thing! It was heart breaking and left me wanting to know what would happen to all my favourite characters. The last few chapters sent me spiralling and I just know that Queen of Shadows is going to start with a bang. Also, I really, really want the King to die because he’s so evil and it’s infuriating. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this strongly about an antagonist and once again, it’s all down to Maas’ writing ability.

I could go on and on about how amazing this book is and it wouldn’t do it justice. The writing is incredible as always and the world building was fantastic. We learned so much more and I could vividly picture it all. There was action, darkness, drama, romance and heartache. This book made me feel everything and I just love it. How could I not give it 5 stars?

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Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass

Title: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Date: August 2nd 2012

Publisher: Bloomsbury

After turning the last page of this book I asked myself one question…Why on earth had I not read this book before now? It has been sat on my shelf for years, gathering dust since I bought it in 2013. For some reason I had put off reading it and then I went through a period of not picking up books at all. Finally I noticed it and made myself promise to read it and I am so glad I did. Fantasy is quickly becoming one of my favourite genres and I’m afraid I’m going to have to buy the rest of the series very soon (apologies to my bank account).

Throne of Glass follows Celaena Sardothien, a deadly assassin who has been locked up in Endovier serving a life sentence, until suddenly she is offered a deal by the Captain of the Guard. If she represents the Crown Prince in a competition to become the King’s Champion, she can have her freedom back. But first she has to win the competition and that will not be an easy feat. All in all there are twenty three contestants, all of whom have been offered the same deal and who would kill for the chance to be free again. Celaena is thrust into a world where politics rule and things are not what they always seem. All she knows is that she has to win, no matter what.

After reading so many amazing reviews of this book, I am happy to say that, for me, it lived up to the hype. I didn’t want to stop reading once I had started. There were so many elements that I loved, the first of which is the world that Maas created. Her writing style made me believe that this Erilea could exist and her descriptions of the castle and the landscapes helped me picture it so vividly. This book was so addictive and I can only imagine that the rest of the series will get better with each book. It took me on an adventure that I didn’t want to end.

I can’t even begin to describe how much I love the character of Celaena. She is everything I want in a female protagonist. She is strong, witty, she knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go for it. I saw myself in her at times, making her all the more relatable and more than once I found myself smiling while reading. She may seem hard and cold on the outside, the killer assassin, but she is also kind and charming, more vulnerable than the other characters realise. I was rooting for her the whole way through and I am left wanting to know more.

Celaena wasn’t the only character that I loved. The Captain of the Guard, Chaol, grew to also be one of my favourites, even though he can be a tough nut to crack, you can see that he is caring to the people around him, especially his friend, the Crown Prince, Dorian. I can’t figure out who I prefer, Chaol or Dorian. The latter is definitely not what I expected and isn’t a shallow Prince by any means. He is complicated, not nearly as complicated as Celaena though, and I couldn’t help but love their encounters. All the friendships and relationships in the book seemed genuine and realistic, there was nothing forced about it.

I could go on and on about this book! I have a feeling that more of the world Maas has created will be explored and I am looking forward to seeing where Celaena’s story takes us. An incredible novel that I only wish I had read sooner. It gripped me from the beginning and was simply magical. And with no glaring faults, I think that this is going to be my first 5 star review on this blog!