Review: Queen Of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Queen Of Shadows Sarah J Maas

Title: Queen Of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas 
Series: Queen Of Shadows #4 
Genre:  Fantasy, YA 
Publication date: September 1, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★ 

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.


Let’s go rattle the stars.


Wow. This book has 600+ pages and it is still far too short. I wish I hadn’t finished yet – I actually tried to slow myself down a little - because the wait for book five will be excruciating. It’s hard to imagine this series originally started out with Throne Of Glass. It was so different. Everyone is different now. This series is extraordinary. I feel like screaming and crying and punching people and hugging people and laughing and swooning, but overall I’m so in love. It may not be rational at all. 

Truth, truth, truth - but not the whole truth.

The plot unfolds further in Queen Of Shadows and it deepens, gets more complex and layered and really, really tense. It’s impossible to stop reading. I literally fell asleep at night on top of my book because I wanted to keep going, despite my exhaustion. It’s all I ever hoped it would be. There is time for development and exploring. Nothing is rushed, not a single storyline gets forgotten or downplayed. And the most amazing part is everything coming together. Celaena and Aelin collide. Her past catches up with her present and it makes the best story so far. Arobynn, Lysandra, Rowan, Chaoll, Dorian, Aedion… they’re all there! Even Sam - who I still miss desperately. I feel like this is the first book that really does him credit, The Assassin’s Blade aside. Aelin finally mourns him, finally seeks justice for his murder. It’s the first time I really felt he was still in her heart and always would be.

There were two men in this city responsible for destroying her life and the people she’d loved. She would not leave Rifthold until she’d buried them both.

This book is clouded in darkness. The cover alone points that out. And I reveled in it. Everything was so messed up, especially in the first half of the book. At a given point I didn’t know which character I wanted to strangle first. Chaol, Aelin, Arobynn? But honestly, that’s another thing to love about Sarah J. Maas. She doesn’t care if her characters appear unsympathetic. She writes them as she feels they should be. And at that point it totally made sense. They weren’t nice, but these were sinister times. And I still loved them all to pieces.

She was her own champion now.

None of the characters were the same in Queen Of Shadows. Talk about character development - honestly. Celaena became Aelin and it’s extraordinary how much of a difference that made. She is still the same person I cared so deeply for, but she is undeniably different. Still lethal, still independent, still strong, still brave, still compassionate, still caring, but a lot more mature and powerful. I loved Celaena, I like Aelin even more. She truly is a queen.

My favourite Fae Prince Rowan is more human than ever, yet still completely irresistible. He may have changed the least of all, now that I come to think of it. Aedion on the other hand grew on me after a while and all at once I even found Lysandra terribly interesting. Didn’t see that one coming, but that’s just another example of Maas’ genius. The same goes for Dorian. I thoroughly disliked him in the first book, but I have to admit that my opinion of him has changed along with his character. I think quite highly of him now.

And then there’s Manon Blackbeak. I’ve always admired her, but somehow I could never get as invested in her story as I was in the main story. Until now. Finally her part gets connected to ‘the bigger picture’ and it makes all the difference in the world. She also changed a lot. For the first time she starts finding her own way instead of just blindly following orders. She might actually be just as interesting as Aelin. Yes, she’s deadly and powerful and everything, but there’s so much more to her. And to her thirteen. There’s sort of a love interest developing for her, but if that doesn’t work out, I’m all for Manon x Asterin. They would conquer the world.

There are also some new characters. It’s extraordinary how many of my favorite characters weren’t even in book 1. One of them is Nesryn Fariq and she is absolutely amazing. You’ll love her, promise.

It’s just with the Chaoll Westfall part that I have some issues. I’ve always loved him and I will always love him, but… I felt like he was a bit invisible for a huge part of the book. He changed, but that was to be expected after he left the captain of the guard behind. He wasn’t the most sympathetic either, but like I said, I don’t care too much as long as there’s a profound reason. I just missed him, I guess.

And with Rowan, Aedion and Chaoll constantly in the picture, there’s a huge dose of testosterone and power in the book. They are strong to the point of unbeatable, warriors to the core. And yet it’s the women that steal the show and are still SO DAMN BADASS. They have nothing on them. Aelin, Manon, Lysandra, Nesryn, Elide, Kaltain… They fight like professionals, they plot, throw daggers, shoot arrows... Imagine what it must feel like to be them. It is actually pretty unrealistic that every single one of these characters (both male and female) is this powerful, but honestly, it makes for a phenomenal story. I would lay my life in each of their hands. All I could ever think was: HELL YEAH. (Although maybe Maas should go a bit easy on the badass descriptions. Use too many and even those get old…)

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.

I’m a bit reluctant, but I feel like I can’t avoid talking romance and ships. Obviously I’m not going to say how things go in QOS or who Aelin is with at the end of the book, but I just want to say that I don’t really care who is endgame. I love her for who she is and every single one of the male (and god help me, even the female) characters is worthy to be at her side. Some ship her with Chaol, others with Rowan or her cousin Aedion. Hell, some are still playing for team Dorian. I think the one she's with now, will be endgame. And as long as he makes her happy (which I strongly believe he will), I’m happy. Honestly, I think the bromances are actually more important. They definitely gave me as much joy and delight. Everyone who gave this book a bad rating because of a sorry ship can go to hell.

“Tell me that we’ll get through tomorrow. Tell me that we’ll survive the war. Tell me—” She swallowed hard. “Tell me that even if I lead us all to ruin, we’ll burn in hell together.”

In many ways Queen of Shadows has the happiest ending so far, which only makes me incredibly scared for the future. But right now, I’m truly happy and satisfied. I’ll enjoy this bliss as long as it lasts.

“What if we go on,' he said, 'only to more pain and despair? What if we go on, only to find a horrible friend waiting for us?' Aelin looked northward, as if she could see all the way to Terrasen. 'Then it is not the end.”

There are so many things I still want to talk about and so many I can’t talk about because of spoilers. If you’ve read it, please contact me and TALK TO ME. I need to get out all my feelings and thoughts and opinions without having to be wary of ruining the experience for anyone.

Note: You should really read The Assassin’s Blade before you start this one. If not, a lot of the dynamics between certain characters will be lost on you.

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