Source: purchased (paperback).
Genre: high fantasy.
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.
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.
This review is for the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series. You can read my reviews for the first three books here and here – and I’m warning you right now that THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ALL FOUR BOOKS. There. I just assume that anybody reading a review for the fourth book without reading the first three is asking to be spoiled (I avoided all reviews for this reason) but I’d also like to discuss some spoilery stuff in this part, so you’ve been warned.
First of all, you may have noticed (probably not but still) that I classified this as “high fantasy” without the “YA”. I don’t think Queen of Shadows is a young adult book. Heir of Fire wasn’t, either, but I didn’t really focus on that in my review. But I think it’s worth mentioning now because Aelin’s story is no longer the story of a girl but the story of a woman, a young queen. If you think about it, this whole series is classifiable as YA only because Celaena is 17 at the beginning of the first book – her problems are huge and her responsibilities even bigger, even then. I’m not saying young readers shouldn’t read this series (I read “adult” books almost exclusively when I was in high school) but it begs the question as to why it’s being marketed as YA if it’s not, really. It’s not like adult books can’t feature teenage protagonists.
And then … I have to say that I liked the book but didn’t love it like I did with Heir of Fire. I was a wreck when I finished that one – but now, though I flew through the 600-page monstrosity in two days, I still feel like it could have gone better.
First of all, the first 200 pages dragged. I stopped counting the times Aelin just slaughtered the Valg-infested guards and kept plotting stuff that nobody else knew about. I disliked how Chaol interacted with her. I loved Chaol as a character and I think that this change to a bitter, foul-mouthed rebel is just too jarring to be believable. Yes, I know he was disenchanted and all but hey, he was a really good guy so I have trouble believing he’d act like that. Also, while I’m glad Aedion got more spotlight, I can’t really say his character brought anything new to the table. Another large, muscled
male man who feels the need to piss circles around his favourite cousin (her words, not mine). I’m hoping both of them will get a chance to liven up a bit in the last two books of the series.
Then there’s Aelin herself. I really liked how she changed in Heir of Fire, she really grew into her potential (I like to see character development over the arc of a series). And now she fell back into her routine of secrets and killing and snark that did nothing to disguise the fact that she didn’t really trust anyone. Eh. By the way, did anyone notice the body count she (and the others) managed to rack up? I know those soldiers were all infested by demons and the humans “begged to be killed” but does that diminish the fact that they destroyed hundreds of the King’s guard?
And then there’s Rowan. Okay so I think he’s pretty majestic (still liked him better in Heir of Fire!) and I liked seeing his composure crumble, but what is it with 300-year-old men and 20-year-old women?! I keep complaining about this and I know everyone thinks it’s terribly romantic but hell, I can’t help but be creeped out by it, especially if one of the pair is immortal and the other “merely” human.
Also – and this is going to sound weird, but I think you can handle my weird, can’t you? – there is no way Rowan and Aelin would have been able to keep their hands off each other in real life. NO WAY. I’d buy it up until that first kiss. Possibly. Because they had their misgivings and they knew everything would change, yadda yadda. (But also not – sleeping in the same bed, hugging each other, almost naked, with that attraction between them? Nope.) I’m not saying people – human or Fae – are just animals, unable to contain their instincts. But I felt like Maas was just dragging this thing along to make their final connection in a later book. Ugh. I don’t know. I just felt like the whole “I don’t want an audience when I make you moan” thing was a bit silly. They’re fantastic warriors and they can’t figure out how to be alone together for a night? Right.
That said, I really enjoyed the friendship part(s) of this book. Both Aelin and Lysandra and Manon and Asterin made me feel all warm-hearted and happy. I did have my doubts about the A&L friendship at first (too sudden?) but hey, I won’t complain, they’re pretty great. Lysandra is a really cool character and I liked how she put an end to her tormentor. I liked that Aelin let go of the past so her friend could put her own demons to rest.
And the Ironteeth witches in general are awesome. They’re brutal and gruesome but also not the worst monsters that exist in this weird world. And their wyverns? So cool. I hope the Thirteen end up on the “right” side of the war in the end because I’d hate for Manon and Aelin NOT to be allies – they’d really be amazing together on the battlefield, don’t you think? I’m also curious about the rest of Rowan’s cadre, the other Fae warriors that served with him in the Fae Queen’s army. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of them soon.
Whew, this is longer that I expected. Anyway, I liked this book but not as much as Heir of Fire. I really hope the other two books will get even better because I’d hate for the third book to be the climax of the series. I’m impatiently waiting for the announcement of the title for the fifth book and hoping it comes in 2016! (Probably not, but still.)
Have you read Queen of Shadows? What did you think?
Which part of the series is the most important for you – the beginning, the middle or the end?
I’d love to hear from you! :)