Genre: YA high fantasy.
Consumed by guilt and rage, Celaena can’t bring herself to spill blood for the King of Adarlan. She must fight back… The Immortal Queen will help her destroy the king – for a price. But as Celaena battles with her darkest memories and her heart breaks for a love that could never last, can she fulfil the bargain and head the almighty court of Terrasen? And who will stand with her? (Goodreads)
My rating: 5/5.
Warning: this is the review for the third instalment in the series, so there are sure to be some spoilers for books 1 and 2. You can read my review of those here.
I have a problem when it comes to popular books – first of all, I’m afraid the hype is over-done and that I’ll be disappointed when I’ll read the book. But that’s a matter of taste, so I can’t really help it.
The other problem, however, is that I’m not sure I’m allowed to love popular books, because it’s so un-academic and plebeian. This is what a University education does to you, people. It makes you a book snob. I loved my studies and I’m extremely glad I studied English and French lit because it made me one hell of a reader and honed my critical mind (yep, that sounds just as douchy on screen as it did in my head), but it also made me ashamed of some of my tastes. I’ve been trying to rid myself of this sense of guilt, especially since I started blogging, but it’s a work in progress, as illustrated below:
While I hope Smeagol-me will always win, it’s hard sometimes, especially because none of my friends here share my reading tastes. This is why I’m extremely glad I stumbled onto this wonderful community of book bloggers. *group hug*
Err… Now let’s get to the actual review.
I loved Heir of Fire. The first two books in the series were OK, just good enough for me to buy the third instalment, but nothing extraordinary. But this third part was amazing. Sarah J. Maas made some serious magic here and it caught me completely unprepared. It isn’t often that the series gets better with time – usually you get a strong beginning and then the whole thing just fizzles out like a wet firework (is that an idiom? I can’t remember…).
Celaena’s journey as Adarlan’s assassin has been dangerous, mostly because she’s not actually killing the people she’s supposed to kill. Now she’s sent on a mission to assassinate the rulers of a far-off country, only to find herself unable to do so yet again, because these noblemen are actually good to their people. Before she can decide what to do, however, she’s picked up by Rowan, a frightening fae warrior, who takes her to see her immortal fae aunt, Queen Maeve. She will help Celaena fight the King of Adarlan if she proves herself worthy.
I expected that the subsequent magical training that Celaena goes through with Rowan would be a repeat of her gruelling workout from book 1, but it’s actually an intense journey that forces her to come to terms with her past. It also made me realize I didn’t, in fact, like Celaena before this book. Now that I got to read her story, I understood what she was about and I grew really fond of her.
Another great part of the story was that we get to meet new characters: Rowan, a fae prince, torn between sworn duty and moral standards; Aedion, a guilt-wracked general in the enemy’s army; Manon, an ironteeth witch that has been taught she has no heart (She might be my new favourite. Also, I want a wyvern! They’d be even better for getting around the town than dragons.). They make for an excellent addition to the old favourites, Chaol, Dorian, and Celaena, of course.
So if you’re unsure whether or not you should read this book/series, listen to the words of this skeptic: the hype surrounding this book is well deserved. If you’re up for a fast-paced, gorgeous fantasy story with fascinating characters, and if you’re ok with all of it punching you in the gut from time to time, go for it!
Join us on March 2 when we will ooh and aah over the work of Sarah J. Maas – she’s the chosen author for next month’s Author Addiction!
Have you read Heir of Fire? Or maybe just the first book or two in this series?
Do you struggle with bookish shame?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! :)