Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Released: September 1st 2015
My Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Find it on 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, agonising crescendo that might just shatter her world. (from Goodreads)
NOTE: This review contains spoilers. LOTS of spoilers, for this book, and the other books in the series. You have been warned.
Okay, I have been trying to figure out how to write this review for a few days now, and I’ve just accepted that I can’t do a proper one. So, prepare for a long and incoherent mess of thoughts and feelings and questions, because sadly, I still have a book hangover and a proper review is just not going to happen.
Aelin has grown so much throughout this series. In this book, she was so changed from the girl she was in Throne of Glass. She was, as she put it, her own champion, and she was willing to do what was necessary for her court and her kingdom. She wasn’t hiding anymore, or afraid of who she was. She was Aelin, and the persona of Celaena Sardothien, which had for so long been her shield, was gone. I just…I loved reading about her. She had struggled so much, but finally things were coming together. She knew what she had to do. And I was proud of her! For being herself, for accepting the things she had done in the past, for looking forward.
Chaol at the beginning of this book was being a complete idiot. Like seriously, wtf, Chaol. He was so judgmental and bleurgh, what the hell was his problem. Also, I really liked Nesryn as a character, she was super awesome, but I didn’t really care about the Chaol/Nesryn romance. Chaol definitely got less idiotic as the book went on and I wish him all the best in future books, but yeah. Sorry Chaol. It’s not you, it’s me? (It’s actually you, though. But thanks for being heroic and stuff at the end. I tip my hat to you.)
At the start, I still wasn’t a massive fan of Manon’s POV, but she actually really grew on me in this book, and I especially loved the scenes between her and Elide (it took me a while to remember who Elide was, but omg, so awesome. Definitely interesting to learn about her past/bloodline, and I liked that Manon cared about her; even if it was teeniest slither of care, she did care. I really want Elide to meet Aelin in book five, which considering what happened, is a possibility, so yaaay). I also LOVED the part where Manon and Aelin met. That entire scene, where Aelin saved her life, was exactly what I wanted! And Manon giving them the warning afterwards! I want them to be friends. Or at least work together in some way. Manon and Aelin would make the best fighting team ever, I can see it now. Please, book five, please. Give us Manon and Aelin scenes. Also, more Dorian and Manon scenes, because while I didn’t see it coming at all, I am totally behind this ship. I liked Sorscha and everything, but Dorian and Manon would be fantastic.
Speaking of Dorian, he spent most of his time in this book being possessed by a Valg - until Manon came along. And he managed to finally talk with his own voice. Manon was the reason he was freed, why Aelin tried to save him instead of kill him. Manon warned them that Dorian was still inside and oh, Dorian. He was so sad at the end of this book. His dad was dead (the scene with the KING, WTF WTF HOW DID I NOT PREDICT THAT) and Sorscha was gone and he had to take over as King and magic was free and he was really powerful (why was Dorian so extraordinarily powerful though? Hope that’s explored in book five) and he just had so much to deal with. I’m glad he and Aelin still got along, though. He needed her help right then, and for her to be his friend.
Can we talk about Lysandra? Because I adored her. I was so happy that Aelin got to have another female friend, and Lysandra was just freaking amazing (Nesryn was great too, but Aelin wasn’t as close to her as Lysandra, though maybe that will change in book five). She was so funny! And she didn’t put up with crap, and she didn’t sugar coat stuff and she was so strong for staying with Arobynn and plotting against him all that time, after what he did. She risked her life to help Aelin, and I am so, so glad she got to be the one to kill Arobynn in the end (she deserved to be the one to do it, after all she had suffered). And erm, she was Fae too? The ghost leopard scene. Perfection. All in all, she was an awesome friend and I love how close she and Aelin became in the end. I so want her to be happy and be free to raise Evangeline and finally do what she wants for a change.
Aedion grew on me in this book as well. I liked him in Heir of Fire, don’t get me wrong, but it was so fun to see him actually interact with Aelin. The familial bond between them was so great to read about. And initially Aedion was really upset that Rowan had taken the blood oath, but in the end, he accepted it. He grew close to Rowan, looked up to him, and they became friends who protected Aelin, but who also protected each other - which I loved. Also, his dad was Gavriel?! THE CONNECTIONS. EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED. Gavriel and Aedion need to meet. I need to see that. I HAVE TO SEE THAT HAPPEN.
And at last, we get to Rowan. Rowan. He cut his hair! I liked the long hair, but I liked the shorter hair too. And the cuteness. The Rowaelin scenes. THE NIGHTGOWN SCENE. I died. The actual grin on my face, you should have seen it. And Rowan not fitting into Sam’s old clothes and not wanting to ruin the top so he didn’t even try wearing it and just gave it back to Aelin and omg. And his hatred of Arobynn and his determination to get rid of Lorcan (was the eff was Lorcan really up to?) and the fact that he turned up when Aelin needed him and that whole reunion scene was the best thing ever and ugh. And their little conversations in their heads - at Arobynn’s when they were just grinning at each other like lovestruck idiots, and oh my heart couldn’t even take it because it was so adorable, and the way they joked with each other and protected each other and teased each other and omg I am so behind this ship it’s ridiculous, I don’t think I’ve ever shipped anyone this much. And going to Sam’s grave together and it was so sad but then the gold nightgown and the dragon dress and Aelin wearing Rowan’s shirts to sleep and Rowan trying to ignore his thoughts and Rowan’s LINES. “I don’t want an audience…” HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO REACT TO THAT, SARAH? WHY DON’T I HAVE BOOK FIVE IN MY HANDS RIGHT NOW? And the bit where they finally, FINALLY kissed and Aedion walked in to say something and Rowan just used magic to slam the door in his face and it was brilliant and hilarious because Aedion was shipping it too, you could totally tell. And everything Lysandra (and Nesryn. And even Chaol) ever said about Rowan because it was all so funny and just Rowan. And Aelin. Together. And the bit at the very end, where they were going back to Terrasen - Aelin was finally going home. Ahh. I want the next book. I want to see Aelin with her court, being Queen, making decisions and working with Dorian to take down Maeve (I knew that ring wasn’t just for sentimental value) and whoever else needs to be taken down. I want more Aelin and Rowan (“to whatever end”) and more Aedion and Lysandra and Dorian and Nesryn and Chaol and everyone else. I WANT BOOK FIVE.
The only, I mean ONLY, reason this isn’t five stars is the same reason Heir of Fire wasn’t - I have real trouble with multiple POVs. I tend to always prefer one over the others, and a lot of the time, I was waiting to get back to Aelin (or Rowan). Also, I have super high standards when it comes to this series. I think if I DIDN’T love it so much, I’d give it five stars. Which I know probably makes no sense but it does in my head. I ummed and ahhed so much over the rating. I reread Heir of Fire before this and contemplated changing my rating to five stars, and making this five stars too. I do love the characters and plot so much, more than in other books I have actually rated five stars. But there’s something stopping me! Who knows, in the future, maybe I will do it.
Ahem. Yeah. Thanks for reading this mess. If you haven’t read this book, I don’t really understand why you’re reading this spoilerific review, but hey, I don’t judge. I like spoilers a lot of the time too. But read this book. And if you haven’t started this series, START IT NOW. And if you HAVE started it but have only read Throne of Glass, pick up the series again, because I do understand. ToG is in my opinion the weakest book of the series. I think Heir of Fire is still my favourite but Queen of Shadows was so good as well that I’m torn. They’re on par, definitely. And QoS had so much going on. And Lysandra, and Rowaelin. But HoF was the start of Rowan and Aelin. Their first meeting. And their training. And their friendship. AND OMG IT’S SO HARD TO DECIDE, these books are so good. Please just read them.