Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "The queen has returned.
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 has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight. She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. 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.
The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series contrinues Celaena's epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world."
***There are no spoilers for this book below, but there are spoilers for the previous books in the series. Be ye warned.***
Review: Sarah J. Maas makes it very difficult for me to form coherent thoughts.
I love this series more and more with each installment. This, the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, was released mere days after my son was born, but I decided to read it anyway. This was a very bad decision, since it meant I stayed up way too late to finish the novel and my sleep levels went from dangerously low to dysfunctionally low. BUT IT WAS WORTH IT.
Why was it worth it? I will give you five reasons why:
1) Celaena. This is the most hardcore protagonist I've read about in a long time. She is fierce and wild and wicked and unpredictable and has a really scary violent streak. But she's also somehow vulnerable and caring and loyal, and I want so badly for her to succeed against the impossible odds stacked against her. Her horrible past has hardened her considerably, but I feel like in these last few books she's learned how to let people in again, and is slowly coming back into her humanity. She still has not learned the value of forgiveness, but I hope that comes. Vengeance only takes you so far, but vengeance still seems to be her only goal. I'm not saying you always have to forgive and forget in every situation (and hers is a pretty extreme situation) but I would like some balance between revenge and redemption. But there are two more books still, and her character has already grown so much. So we'll see what happens. Regardless, I'm 100% invested in Celaena's story.
2) All the other characters. This series boasts a large cast list, but I know everyone. I love Aedion, Rowan, and Dorian. I adore Manon and Lysandra and Nesryn. (Hello, hard core women falling from the skies in this book!) And Kaltain... wow. What a character arc. I even liked Arobynn, even though he's a slimy git. I feel like this series could be written from Arobynn's POV and we would get a completely different story. (And, knowing Maas, I would probably even ship him and Celaena by the end.) So many great characters, all with their own stories and backgrounds and contributions to this story. Love them all.
3) The battles. No joke, my heart was beating out of my chest during a few of the fight scenes. My house could have caught on fire and I wouldn't have noticed, that's how immersed in the book I was. (I do feel like I should caution others, though, about the level of violence in these novels. It's intense. Like, really intense. Like, were this story made into a film, I'm not sure my stomach would be able to handle it. But I've always been much better with mature content in print than in film, so I'm okay with it here. But I would wait until young teens were older before handing them this series. Just my $0.02 on that topic.)
4) The feels. There are multiple pairings along this series. When Celaena was with Chaol I was totally feeling it. And then it looked like Celaena might end up with Dorian, and the way Maas wrote it, I was totally feeling it. And then we were introduced to Rowan, and while the relationship is platonic in Heir of Fire, I was still totally feeling it. So I knew that no matter what direction this novel took, Maas would convince me. And she did. I won't say where things fall in Queen of Shadows, because HELLO that would be the meanest spoiler ever, but I will say that it was the choice I was hoping for. (Even though I would have been okay with anyone.) Another relationship develops in this novel (not involving Celaena) and I felt like it was the better choice for that character as well, so I was happy with where things landed here. But I'm SO STRESSED because there are two more books coming, and considering the rate at which things change in this series, I'm afraid for all my beloved characters and their fragile hearts.
5) The twists. I love that Maas always keeps her readers on their toes. Just when I think I've got everything figured out, a wrench gets thrown in, or a revelation is made, that completely changes everything. The twist/revelation in the end of this novel made my jaw drop, and I want to go back to the beginning of the series and reread everything, now that I know the secrets and motivations behind certain characters. It just makes this story so much fun to read knowing that no matter what comes in the future books, I'm destined to be surprised.
So, in conclusion, I am very tired, but so, so happy with this novel. GIVE ME MORE MAAS.
Review in a GIF:
Bottom Line: This book is practically perfect. I love this series so much, and am DYING because I have to wait what feels like a million years for the next books in this series.