Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows
(Throne of Glass #4)
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Hardcover, 656 pages, Bloomsbury
Genres: YA, Fantasy

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.

My Review

I’m going to warn you that you may be spoiled for some earlier books in the series if you read this review. I’m going to try my hardest not to give anything away, but I’m sure something will accidentally slip out, so just remember that I warned you that there might be SPOILERS! POTENTIAL SPOILERS LIE AHEAD!

Celaena Sardothien is no more. Instead, Aelin has come back from the past and she’s ready to take back what’s hers and get a little vengeance along the way.

Book four in this action-packed fantasy series starts out pretty much right where book three left off, but some small changes have still come about that will keep readers on their toes. Because, as I’m sure you are aware, Sarah J. Maas books are notorious for bad things happening to good people. She’s almost like a young adult version of George R.R. Martin. (Don’t kill them, Sarah! They don’t deserve to die!) But that’s what, unfortunately, makes her books so great.

First thing first, I have to address the giant elephant in the room—the name change. It was super weird. I had gotten used to three books of Celaena, only to have to jump to an entirely different name. Very strange. But I did get used to it about a fifth of the way through the book, it just took some time.

Now I want to talk about the characters. People may think I’m totally insane/stupid/ridiculous to think this, but I can’t help how I feel. I just didn’t like Aelin in this book. I think I didn’t really like her in Heir of Fire either, but I didn’t notice it as much until I was reading this one. Celaena/Aelin just seems so selfish and kind of bratty. While I love how strong and independent she is, some of the decisions she made had me wanting to mentally slap her (if I actually slapped her, she’d kill me). I understand that characters are flawed and it’s great to have character development, but every time Aelin made a rash action without consulting anyone I wanted to say “Really? You’re really not going to tell your friends/lover/whatever that you’re going out to do something dangerous when you’re the lost queen whom everyone is pinning all their hopes and dreams on?!” Like I said, this wasn’t really an issue in books one and two, but as Aelin gets older, she needs to make wiser decisions and trust the people who have sworn to protect her.

The other characters were great additions to the story. I like Aedion and his wit, but I thought he had a weird dynamic with Aelin, considering their relationship and all. And Rowan is hot and possessive and all the things I love in a book boy, but… just but. I think Chaol had more of a real part in this book than he did in Heir of Fire, which I’m thankful for, but a little miffed at at the same time. I do really like Lysandra and Nesryn’s characters. I think they added a nice touch to the story. Their characters, plus Manon and her Thirteen, make a great statement that despite Aelin being all bada$$ female, there are still other bada$$ females running around who are just as cool.

As for the plot, it’s a little all over the place. There are so many little things happening that take so long to actually happen and the huge problem and climax is a tad short. I think the book could have easily been one hundred pages shorter if a few of these encounters hadn’t been added. However, I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy any of these little adventures. While there were some I was like “Ugh. Just kill him already,” there were others where I was all “More. Give. Me. More.” I do have to say, though, that the ending felt strange to me. It just seemed like everything had kind of wrapped up, almost like the ending book in a series, but I know it’s not the actual end.

All in all, Queen of Shadows is another good addition to the Throne of Glass world and I’m sure everyone will enjoy it. Just don’t hurt your wrist while you’re reading! That sucker’s huge!

*Note: I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

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