Queen of Shadows Series: Throne of Glass #5
by Sarah J. Maas Published by Bloomsbury ANZ
on 1st September 2015 Pages:
645 Format: Paperback Source: Publisher
, Finished Review Copy Boffins
, Booktopia Goodreads
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.
Let me begin by saying that attempting to review this book is just plain insane. Even now, six months later, I’m not done with Queen of Shadows and the way it makes me feel. To review and have that review give this book justice is just plain crazy, and so much has already been said that I feel I’m just adding noise to the crowd. But because Bloomsbury Publishing ANZ are amazing, wonderful people, I’m going to attempt to. I don’t my review does any justice to the level of thought running through my brain right now, so if you’d like to discuss what I’ve said (and I’m sure there’s lots I haven’t said, you are more than welcome to talk to me – which means, please do, because I’m at a total loss!)
Now for the obligatory warning: this will more than likely, at some point, contain spoilers from previous novels. If you don’t want to be spoiled, run away! Leave now! At the end of my review, there’ll be a spoilers for sections about some pretty heavy thoughts I have on certain things that happen in Queen of Shadows. It’ll be a lot of rambling, but I’m still unable to process thought coherently.
There is no doubt that Sarah J Maas has earned herself the title of Queen of YA Fantasy. If there isn’t a title, then I’ll dump the crown on her head myself. Or steal it from someone. You guys, if there was a Writer’s Got Talent show, Maas would win it, hands down. The thing I love about Sarah is that she has this amazing way with words that I can’t even begin to describe. It’s purely magic. Her words jump off the page, and I’m so usually immersed that I forget everything. Like being in a library and not to yell out in public at certain events.
“She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph.”
Sarah J Maas is also the only person who can make me like third person, multiple point of view storylines. In Heir of Fire, this bothered me a lot, but in Queen of Shadows, I loved it. I loved reading all the different point of views and anticipating how they were going to intertwine with each other.
Which brings me to the secondary characters. You guys, if Queen of Shadows can be anything, it’s awesomely badass. The female characters absolutely MADE this book. There was so much other stuff going on that was breaking my heart so much, but with Manon, Elide and Lysandra being absolutely buttkick awesome, I was able to piece myself back together (sort of). Let’s talk Manon. Her character annoyed me in Heir of Fire, but that changed in Queen of Shadows. She was so awesome! Have you ever heard Tom Hiddleston talk about villains and Loki? It’s exactly how I feel about Manon. Of course now that I want the quote, I can’t find it. Even Kaltain, who I had forgotten even existed, makes an appearance and turns Queen of Shadows into a Beyonce song.
Aelin, no longer going by Celaena, is still someone I’m trying to figure out. In parts of the novel, I loved her, but she’s not the same person she was in the other books. Of course, that’s to be expected, but at the same time, I don’t think the change was for the better. Sure, she was sharp and cunning, but her vengeance also made her vindictive and unlikeable. Aside from the female characters, the way she treats people (okay let’s face it, the way she treats Chaol, Dorian and Aedion) was completely awful. In some ways I lost a lot of respect for the girl she’s become, and I’m hoping that the next two books can change that.
Now all I can say is this: bring it, Maas. This isn’t endgame, not by a long shot. I’m on to you. The inconsistency throughout this book just doesn’t add up to me, and I’m not satisfied. And if you are about to embark on the journey that is this book, be prepared, because the feels factory is working over time.
Did you hear me say spoilers? If you want hear my darkest, rambling thoughts about a few things, mainly the elephant in the room, just click on the view spoiler button.
View Spoiler »Now that my review is out the way with, be prepared for the rambling. I’m not happy with the way a lot of this book went. Yes, I’m a diehard Chaol shipper, and I will be until my dying days. I don’t think anything can change that, and I’m so angry at the way he has been shoved aside and portrayed in Queen of Shadows.
The Chaol in QoS was not the Chaol we met in three previous books. I’ve read a lot of reviews about how change is inevitable, about how horrible he was, and all I’ve wanted to do is go “Hold it right there.” Chaol Westfall, the only main character who is mortal, gave up everything the day he met Celaena. Yes, he was always Dorian’s champion, and that steadfast bromance never changed (the one thing that didn’t). But Celaena changed his life around. He gave everything to her and Dorian, and they treated him like absolute dirt. A lot of people have mentioned that it was Chaol’s disgust at magic that stopped him from being with Aelin, but I’m not inclined to agree. What everyone forgets is that all his life, Chaol’s been trained to believe that magic was the epitome of evil. He’s been trained to fear it and abhor it. I’m actually surprised that the King never put a black ring on him in the first place, considering his loyalty to his country. Aelin and even Dorian (in Heir of Fire, because poor baby was practically non existent in Queen of Shadows) blindly refused to see this, which made me so upset.
It was so one sided, the way they expected him to just bow over and be okay with it from the get go, rather than learn to accept it slowly. And even then, Chaol still gave everything. He sacrificed everything. From telling Celaena to “get up” in Throne of Glass and stabbing Cain. To admitting his feelings in Crown of Midnight. To his misguided judgement of keeping Celaena safe over the Nehemia issue. To fighting for Aelin in Heir of Fire. He chose her, every step of the way, and Queen of Shadows was such a slap in the face it doesn’t actually surprise me the way he acted. Because he acted in the way he knew Aelin wanted him to. To get over it, even if it broke him. He was still giving her what she wanted, even until the very end. And that relief? It was only because he knew that Rowan would be able to take of Aelin (ha! We’ll get to that in my theories later).
And Dorian – his love for Dorian. I was so mad at Dorian in Heir of Fire for his tantrums about Chaol. And even after the Valg Prince took over Dorian, Chaol was the one defending him, until the very end when he made the decision that if anyone was going to end Dorian’s life, if he was beyond saving, it would be him alone. I can’t accept Chaolaena as over. For me, it makes no sense that Aelin would return from Wendlyn so utterly changed that she had no feelings for Chaol from the moment she stepped back in Rifthold. And this is where I think I’d be more accepting of the way things turned out with Rowan. If Maas had actually given them a chance to try and fail, to recognise that there was nothing there anymore, over time, then I’d be a bit more accepting of it. As it is, everything was done so terribly that I can just can’t wrap my head around it. I feel like she wanted to kill Chaol off but the publishers said “lol no that’s how WW3 starts” so she’s just shunted him to the sidelines so she can write badly done fanfic over her love for a character. As for Rowan, don’t get me wrong, I do like him, but I don’t like him for Aelin. What I liked about Chaolaena was that Chaol grounded Celaena, and I think he could have done that with her as Aelin as well. He reminded her so much of her humanity, something Aelin is sorely lacking (no thanks to Rowan).
That and I’m also mad that this girl can’t have a freaking normal female/male friendship with anyone. I loved the bond of friendship in Heir of Fire, but I think crossing that platonic boundary was a wrong move. It just makes Aelin lose all moral integrity and makes her look completely fickle. I’m all for the idea that you don’t have the one epic love in your life, and I like that Maas is exploring this when in so many young adult novels you don’t see it. But the execution, as I mentioned above, was all wrong. It didn’t fit. I also hated the way that Aelin treated Aedion. There was a lot of coddling from both him and Rowan that got on my nerves a bit, but I detested the way Aelin treated Aedion over the blood oath.
Even as Celaena, she would have known her cousin was alive in the north as the General, and even if she had have believed that he was “gone”, the way she dismissed his anger over her doing the oath with Rowan was completely unacceptable, not when she was fully aware of how much it meant to him. I wished that there was more with Arobynn too. I think Maas deviated way too much from the original storyline, because there was so little of Arobynn when there needed to be more. His death should have been drawn out longer, that’s for sure. So what’s next? I really don’t know, but all I can say is that my body is ready, and Maas better bring it on. I’m going to just hide now under my rock of thoughts about how Rowan is actually working for Maeve and Aelin knows this (keep thy enemy closer) – especially seeing as how she’s always one step ahead of everything (well, mostly everything).
Someone’s got to die (pls, Rowan, take one for the team), and I don’t believe that Rowaelin is end game. In fact, I’ll lay my cards out now and say she’s going to abdicate and run off to Prythian (yes, I’m going there!) with Chaol and be Celaena again, with Aedion taking the throne with Lysandra as his Queen. Manon and Dorian – yes please! I just want to know how all the iron doesn’t get in the way of, you know *wiggles eyebrows suggestively* No idea where Dorian and his kingdom is concerned though. We do have to get through the Valg King and Maeve, so Lord knows what’s going to happen next.
But I am ready. Oh boy am I so ready. « Hide Spoiler