All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Queen Of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

on July 14, 2017

Queen Of Shadows (Throne Of Glass #4)
Sarah J. Maas
Bloomsbury ANZ
2015, 645p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

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.

***Be warned, general SPOILERS for the previous books***

For me, the previous books were like, building books. And then this one and the next, are like Books Where Shit Actually Happens.

Calaena (now Aelin I suppose?) has left Rowan behind and returned to Adarlan with some plans. It’s time to get revenge on someone, time to rescue someone (or two someones really), time to destroy someone. After the holy wow ending of the third book, Dorien remains trapped inside himself, struggling against what is essentially a demon being. Aelin’s cousin is in the dungeons, to be publicly executed as a way of drawing her out. It’s time to put some plans into motion and for a while she’s going to have to wear her assassin’s face until the time is right.

It’s now been a while since I’ve read this book so some of the finer details will probably escape me or blur into one with my memories of other books but this one was definitely one of my favourites of the series. It’s the one where Celaena finally kind of stops talking about things and starts actually doing things and it’s where you get to see some of her carefully constructed plans actually come to fruition. There’s quite a lot going on with quite a few narrators as well, some of whom have very different agendas.

I’ve no doubt that pretty much everyone who read this series waited for the day that Calaena would get her revenge on Arobynn Hamel, the ‘King of the Assassins’ as it were who found her as a child on a riverbank and turned her into a ruthless killing machine by way of training and ‘lessons’. I know I certainly was waiting for it. The downfall of Arobynn and the King were probably two of the things I looked forward to in this series from the first book. As much of a shit as I thought Arobynn was before this book, it was honestly nothing compared to what he attempts to do (believes he has done) to Celaena in this book. So I was super invested in what was going to happen to Arobynn.

And to be honest, it’s pretty much one of the only things in this entire series that has disappointed me. It felt so lacklustre, after such a massive build up. Like why did I even read all about this guy’s heinous deeds to people for the last four books? It’s one of the few complaints that I’ve had in a series that doesn’t mind a confrontation, a gruesome execution, a fight, etc that this felt so boring and shunted aside like the author thought eh, I’ve written myself into a corner in that this guy has to die but I sort of like him because he’s got hidden depths and he really cares about Celaena so we’ll palm it off and have it happen in the most boring way possible. I have not read the Assassin short stories so it was also palmed off to a character I had only met in this book. I found the whole thing pretty meh.

But luckily for me, that was the only thing I found meh because the rest of this book is freaking awesome. I’m not a big fan of the way characters get split up in books (generally right as they come to some sort of realisation about their feelings) so I was pleased when Rowan appeared maybe a third of the way in to this book with a message for Celaena that someone wanted her dead. He arrives to watch her back, knowing the threat all too well and it’s an opportunity for their bond to grow, both of them allowing an intimacy with each other that they don’t with anyone else.

The little group feels like it has almost insurmountable odds….there’s really only Celaena, Rowan, Aedion, Chaol (sort of reluctantly, he has some issues with Celaena and definitely some issues with her feelings for what poor Dorien is now) and Nesryn, a city guard Chaol trusts as well as Lysandra. The downfall of the King has been a long time coming too and there was some really interesting stuff revealed in this book centering around the King and what he had done over the years. Sometimes there are bits and pieces in these novels that seem like a throwaway line, something that doesn’t really mean much but then it crops back up in the story later on and gets expanded upon until it forms something really important. It’s sort of the same for characters – lesser ones slink into the narrative in ways where you don’t really notice them too much until all of a sudden it’s like they’ve always been there.

The layers continue in this novel, woven in are plans and plans and more plans among the action as all of the different threads look like they are moving towards the same location. I am so admiring of the way everything is building in this story. It’s quite complex and the further I get into it the more impressed I am. This book is pretty damn close to being the most perfect of reads.


Book #113 of 2017

One response to “Review: Queen Of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

  1. I’ve seen Sarah’s name a whole bunch over the years. And if you gave this book a 9/10, then she must be a pretty good author. Maybe one of these days I’ll give her a try.

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