Well hello, my friends! It’s been almost two months since I have updated my blog and I am terribly sorry. Thank you all for sticking with me! I went on vacation, started my senior year of high school, and have been very busy keeping up with life. However, a book was recently released that I finished and LOVED and will be reviewing it today… Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Mass!
Queen of Shadows
By: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA Fantasy
Personal Age Rating: 15+
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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.
“She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save for the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph”
Queen of Shadows is the highly anticipated fourth installment to the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. This novel combines the expected amount of thrilling action and adventure that readers of the Throne of Glass series have come to love as well as introducing an exciting cast of characters to add to the already incredible and diverse group that fans of the series have come to adore. If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I adore this series. Which is why you’re probably thinking: Why didn’t she give this book five stars?? Don’t get me wrong, I feel as if the book was definitely the most exciting and action-packed of the series, but I also feel that it is heavily lacking in the character development department.
Also, this is a side note, but I wanted to leave it out of the spoiler section. I would HIGHLY recommend reading The Assassin’s Blade novellas before reading Queen of Shadows. A lot of the content in this book references and pertains to the novellas and it will definitely enhance your QoS reading experience if you have those stories under your belt.
Do not read on if you have not yet read Queen of Shadows. There WILL be spoilers ahead, and I do NOT want to spoil you. Beyond this point is more of a spoilery discussion than a true “review”. Please, please go read this series, and then come back so we can talk about it! Because this book certainly left me with a lot to say.
Where to begin? I suppose I will start where we left off… Heir of Fire. Although I did not do a full review for Heir of Fire, I did a mini-Goodreads review that you can check out here. But basically, to summarize: I found Heir of Fire slow but informative, I loved Rowan and Celaena’s friendship, hated Manon’s chapters, and was completely astounded by Celaena’s character development. I was also convinced Sarah J. Maas could do no wrong. Unfortunately, I cannot say I feel the same way after Queen of Shadows.
I have a tendency to dwell on the few things I dislike about a book even if there are a billion things I enjoy, so I am going to start with the positive things about Queen of Shadows, because there are definitely a lot.
Things I Liked:
Going into this book, I wanted to see Arobynn assassinated, Dorian freed, and at least one Wyrdkey acquired. Needless to say, I was extremely pleased to see all of these events take place in QoS. However, this book went way further than I was expecting it to. I was not expecting the King of Adarlan to be killed in this book because I was thinking that would not happen until the end of the series. But the more I got to thinking about it, killing the King at the end of QoS was the only logical plot decision. The Valg are still in Erilea with thousands of witch minions, magic is not completely freed, and there is still Maeve to deal with. The King needed to be taken down so Aelin could start addressing those issues instead of dealing with the King. Now that Dorian is King, he and Aelin will be able to work together as the rulers of their own kingdoms to overcome the evil and bring back magic and it’s going to be AWESOME.
There were so many amazingly BA action scenes in this book that I absolutely adored. One of my favorite parts of the entire book was the scene when Celaena got her revenge on Arobynn. The way that scene was executed was pure brilliance. Arobynn was so repulsive and I have passionately hated him ever since I read The Assassin’s Blade. Needless to say, I’m glad he got was was coming for him and Celaena was able to avenge Sam’s death while allowing Lysandra to avenge Wesley’s death. Although I really wanted Celaena to be the one to kill Arobynn, I am glad she let Lysandra actually kill him. And speaking of Lysandra…
There were so many fantastic new characters introduced in this book, but Lysandra was my favorite. I loved being able to experience her redemption throughout QoS and see her friendship with Aelin grow. I think it is good for Celaena to have another female friend after losing Nehemia and I think that Lysandra is the perfect friend for her. I cannot wait to see how their relationship grows in the future books. Also Lysandra is AWESOME. She kicks serious butt.
I also enjoyed Elide in this book. Her story is just getting started, but watching her humanize Manon was SO refreshing. Manon really bothered me in HoF, but I liked her in this book and found the witch story arc a lot more interesting. I am looking forward to seeing Manon join Team Terrasen (because we all know that is obviously happening) and seeing how the romance with Dorian progresses (because we all know that is obviously happening, too). But I’ll get back to that later.
The last thing I really loved about this book was the ending. The last 100 pages were just so stunning. A lot of the issues I had with the book (which we will get to in a minute) were resolved, and seeing everyone working together for a common goal was everything I ever wanted. My very favorite part of the ending was when Aelin used her magic to free Dorian of the Valg prince after having to endure that Dorain heartbreak for the ENTIRE BOOK, and when Dorian and Aelin worked together to overthrow the King.
“They joined hands. So the world ended. And the next one began.”
Perfection, much?? That whole page was beautifully written. I think we all knew that Aelin and Dorain would be unstoppable if they put their magic together, but seeing just how powerful was breathtaking.
Things I Didn’t Like/Things That Should Have Been Improved:
This book had all the potential to be the very best in the series, but was hindered by one thing: the character digression.
Something that I loved so very much about the novellas and first three books in the series was the gradual but steady character development of all the characters, especially Celaena. So much of what Sarah had done to her character in the first three books was completely wiped out by her behavior in QoS.
Celaena/Aelin was very inconsistent in this book. By the end of Heir of Fire, Celaena had really matured as a character. She was no longer the broken assassin, Celaena Sardothien, who had lost everything, but was instead a confident but sensitive young lady ready to put peace to her past and claim her throne as Aelin Ashryver Galathynius. All of this was very firmly established in Heir of Fire. What happened?? In Queen of Shadows, Aelin was arrogant, entitled, and rude to anyone who questioned her authority. She seemed to be stripped of any sensitivity, loyalty, or goodness with the exception of a few VERY rare occasions (such as her goodness toward Lysandra and her choice to save Manon) when those qualities were evident. Also, it had to be established AT LEAST 20 times that Celaena Sardothien is dead and Aelin has taken her place. WE GET IT. I don’t need to be reminded twenty times. But Celanea and Aelin should still be recognizable as each other. Aelin/Celaena seemed out of character for most of the book, and I am really hoping that in the fifth book she gets knocked down to earth and stops acting so entitled. Obviously I love that Celaena is strong and capable, but there need to be a balance between strength and vulnerability.
Speaking of out-of-character, poor Chaol was completely ruined in this book. The Chaol I know wouldn’t blame Celeana for leaving and ruining everything when HE sent her away to protect her and knows it’s not her fault. The Chaol I know wouldn’t be loyal to everyone except Aelin and try to blame the problems of an entire kingdom on her. Everything about Chaol was just so off in this book and it made me sad. He and Celaena’s “breakup” was handled so immaturely and even though I knew from the start they would never end up together, I never imagined their relationship would end the way it did. I really, truly thought Chaol would die in this book and I am so glad he didn’t because Sarah has some MAJOR work to do on fixing his character. Some problems were resolved toward the end between him and Celaena, but it’s still not enough. I am honestly so upset. It is okay for character’s to make “bad decisions” as long as they stay in-character, but Chaol was so out of character that it was almost ridiculous. Also, I’m feeling bad for the Chaolena shippers because your ship just sunk to the bottom of the ocean and is never coming back. I’m sorry. It’s terrible; I agree.
And lastly, what annoyed me most about Sarah completely ruining Chaol’s character was that it was just to make Rowan look better.
Honestly, I really, really like Rowan. I thought he and Aelin had a fantastic friendship in Heir of Fire and was hoping that friendship would be maintained throughout the rest of the series, but NO, we needed another romantic relationship to throw into the mix. I would be fine with Rowan and Aelin together IF their relationship didn’t go from 0 to 100 in just a few weeks. I am all about relationships progressing slowly and naturally, and this one just seems so forced. It was too much too fast, and the potential for a really great romantic relationship was, in my opinion, ruined by rushing into it.
That said, I do still like reading all the Rowan and Aelin scenes. The are either funny, powerful, or hot, but would have been so much better if their relationship slowly built over the next couple of books.
That said, I’m still holding out for Dorian and Aelin. It took me until after this book to FINALLY realize what team I am on. After reading this book, I just feel that if they combined kingdoms with their magic, they could have the most wonderful and powerful empire EVER. Plus, Dorian has loved Celaena from the beginning, when she was broken, and he has that great quote in HoF about not picking and choosing what parts of her to love. Celorian for life.
Thank you for reading my review! Let me know what YOU thought of Queen of Shadows in the comments and if we agree/disagree on anything. I plan on making a separate post in the coming days about things I expect to see happen in the last two books of the series!