Friday, 11 September 2015

Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)
Author: Sarah J. Maas

Release date: September 1st 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: eBook
Pages: 565

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.

I'll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but no promises! This book was long as hell but I loved it so much that I wanted more as soon as I finished the last page. Queen of Shadows has so much in it - character development, action, mystery, suspense, heartbreak, and yes, romance.

It was hard to get used to thinking of Celaena as Aelin in the beginning, but what helped is that she's quite different now. In fact, we see both versions of her - Celaena and Aelin - in this book, and the difference is quite stark. Aelin is kinder, I guess. And she is fully focused on saving her friends and getting back her kingdom. Oh, and of course getting revenge on certain people. I liked seeing this side of her, and I think Aelin will make a great queen.

Aelin has returned to Adarlan, for Dorian and her cousin Aedion. She feels the absence of Rowan quite deep, but she soon gets into the thick of things. Chaol is now a hundred percent with the rebels after what happened in Heir of Fire. He leads them, and still hasn't given up on Dorian. Oh, Dorian. My heart broke for him so much in this book. I don't want to say much about what happens with him, so I'll just skip over that.

There are some characters in this that I totally didn't expect to love, but did. Aedion is one. It's sweet seeing how much he cares for Aelin and how he'll do anything to see her safely on the throne. He's jaded in ways after his imprisonment by the king, but he has a good sense of humour that comes out at the right times. Though he and Aelin don't always agree on everything, they're family and have known each other since childhood, and will always be comfortable with each other.

The other character is Lysandra. I'm sure you remember her from previous books. Celaena hated her, and vice-versa. But in this book, Lysandra reveals a lot about herself and her character, and it's definitely not as shallow as we'd thought. She and Aelin even become friends. Lysandra is courageous and kind and selfless, and we get a few other surprises from her as well. I can't wait to see more of her in the next book.

I know quite a few people were disappointed with things that happened in this book, and I kind of understand. But that didn't take away from my enjoyment of the story. I didn't like what happened to Chaol's character, and how he and Aelin are now constantly arguing and fighting. They used to be together, they used to be in love! How can they just forget about all the time they spent loving each other? My heart broke for the lost relationship and friendship between those two, and I really hope they patch everything up soon. Chaol's an amazing guy, and I want to see him be that guy again.

And now to Rowan, who is hands down my favourite character of the series so far. I adored him in Heir of Fire, and I was hoping we'd see a lot of him in this book. Well, we sure do! After spending a few weeks away from Aelin, Rowan finds her in Adarlan. He's without magic, of course, and that's weird for him. But he's there for Aelin like a sturdy immovable rock. Rowan has a prickly side, but he's kind and thoughtful and cares so much for Aelin. Moreover, he needs Aelin as much as she needs him, and they're evenly matched in many different ways. I'm just really happy the two of them had each other in this book.

I've rambled way too much about the characters and not much about the plot, which I guess tells you that Queen of Shadows is a bit more character-oriented. But the plot progresses so much, so fast. There isn't a dull moment in this book at all. Well, I didn't really love some of the Manon chapters, but they finally tied into the actual story at some point so that was interesting.

All in all, an incredible installment in the Throne of Glass series. I really don't want to wait another year to read more of these amazing characters! This book will make you laugh, cry, shiver, and shake with excitement. I already want to reread it! Sarah Maas, you've done a great job with this book and I'm super eager for the next.

Rating: 5/5

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