All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Kingdom Of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

on March 6, 2020

Kingdom Of Ash (Throne Of Glass #7)
Sarah J. Maas
Bloomsbury ANZ
2018, 980p
Personally owned copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.

As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.

So I finally got around to reading this! I bought Tower Of Dawn when it came out in 2017 and then never read it because, Chaol (yawn). Then a friend picked up this for me when it came out but I didn’t read it because I hadn’t read the previous one. I figured it was finally time to finish this series before the new one comes out and I’ve also decided to try and read 20 books in 2020 that have been sitting on my shelf for more than a year and both this and Tower Of Dawn fall into that category and there’s 2 of my 20 already.

It did take me a while to realise where everyone was because it’s been well over 2 years since I read Empire Of Storms and Tower Of Dawn was about a bunch of other people in a different place. I remembered what had happened to Aelin but not really what everyone else was doing. There’s a large cast of characters in these novels – I think this one has somewhere around 15 characters that are narrators and there are countless others, particularly in the war scenes. Not going to lie, I forgot who half of them were when they showed up and I am still not sure who some of them are anyway.

This book is loooooong. Almost 1000 pages and I’m not sure the story required so many pages, to be honest. A lot of the narrative is taken up with travelling from one place to the next as characters move around the map to get to various battles and it gets a little tedious. Also the battle scenes made it hard to picture for me, it just became a mess of people slashing and burning on the page. Also why did the battles stop at sundown? That seemed kind of convenient, so that the ‘good side’ could rest and regroup when in reality they’d probably be gutted at the first midnight.

Anyway, there’s things I did like – the book kicks off in a really dramatic way, with the search for Aelin and her experiences at the hand of Maeve and her henchman and it’s pretty gruesome reading. They don’t hold back on the torture and it’s as much a mental game as it is physical, especially with what they take away from her. Aelin’s strength wavers at times but there’s always something there anchoring her and the thing with Fenrys is really amazing and I did enjoy their bond, the strength of their connection with each other and the way he was always there for her.

I’ve always been a fan of Lorcan and Elide and I remember wanting Lorcan to suffer after what happened at the end of Empire Of Storms and I think, well, he basically does. Elide doesn’t want anything to do with him and she doesn’t seem to mind letting him know about it. I’m not sure how I feel about Lorcan’s truth… seemed out of character with everything we learned about him before. But I do think that Elide did change him, reshape what things were in his mind and I’m glad she made him work for it. He didn’t deserve her sometimes but by the end of it I think he had proved himself enough to her. I always liked their dynamic, it was one of my favourite things. I get distracted by side romances a lot, I felt the same about Nesryn and Sadiq and Borte and Yeran in Tower Of Dawn. I wonder if it’s because it’s just glimpses, bits and pieces, rather than them full on running the narrative all the time.

I still don’t like Dorian and Manon. I love Manon – and I liked her story in this book apart from the bit with Dorian. But her embracing both sides of her heritage, her uniting the witches (well most of them) and just going on being a leader was really good. What happened with the Thirteen might be the most devastating part of the book for me, I was not expecting that and although I understand why it happened, I still think they were done dirty. I just don’t like Dorian and Manon together, it felt like it happened because everyone else was already paired up and they were just left over. The “princeling” and “witchling” got on my nerves as well.

The thing about her books is that I find them just…..incredibly readable when I’m actually reading them. The stories pull you in, whether it’s the main story of Aelin and her heritage/love affair with Rowan or it’s one of the side stories. People adore Chaol. He’s not for me but he kept a lot of people interested in the books. I love Elide and Lorcan, the two of them just fulfil a lot of the romance dynamics that are my favourite things. A lot of the plot is intricate and complex and unfolds in really amazing ways but other parts are just like “here’s a magic door with people that have never been mentioned before that are going to help me win this battle” which is….lazy. And sloppy. This needed a darn good edit with half the walking and talking cut out so that the end could unfold with more time and care, instead somehow, in a 1000p book, things at the end felt rushed, which is not the way it should happen. It’s the after that has been a problem for me with this book. The more I think about it, the more I think of things that I’m not sure worked or felt rushed or like there wasn’t really an answer so….”magic”.

Feels like I’ve ripped on this book a bit, I think, but it’s been a big commitment and a lot of time invested. I think I read the first book in around 2012, but I didn’t end up reading the other books in the series until much later, either 2016 or 2017. It’s a lot of pages and I think it’s okay to want something that makes you feel satisfied, even if it’s not precisely the ending you wanted or expected. I have to admit, I never really feared for too many characters because it never seems like Sarah J. Maas kills off anyone necessary or even remotely main characterish, which takes a bit of the edge off the read. I enjoyed this and felt it was a read that kept me engaged at the time but I find myself wondering about things now that I’ve finished it, particularly things that felt neat or had no real plausible explanation. The ending of this one didn’t really blow me away.


Book #32 of 2020

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