Rating: 5 out of 5
Synopsis: Sarah J. Maas’s New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.
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.
Review: This review contains no spoilers for Queen of Shadows. It does however contain spoilers for previous books in the Throne of Glass series.
Sarah J. Maas brings us another epic instalment in this phenomenal series! Filled with intricate world building, complex characters and a unique blend of danger and wonder, Queen of Shadows is storytelling at its very best!
Before claiming her crown as the Queen of Terrasen, Celaena must return to Rifthold. And returning brings Celaena closer to those she once loved and despised the most – her previous trainer and lover Chaol, her previous master Arobynn, the King of Adarlan who threatens everything she cares for, and of course, the memory of first love, Sam.
As Celaena slips into her role of assassin, she finds that while she will do what she must to save what she loves, she is no longer a puppet of the king or the man who raised her, she in indeed Aelin – she is the heir of fire, the queen of shadows – and she is out for vengeance! And while Celaena is determined to find justice, Chaol is fighting to save Rifthold and his beloved Prince Dorian, Dorian is slowing losing himself and Manon finds herself questioning what being a great Blackbeak leader really means. Old alliances are cautiously rekindled, and new ones are being forged, but will it be enough to defeat a dark and ruthless king who will go to any length to fulfil his dark and terrible plans, or is it all too late?
I am not going to tell you too much about the storyline of Queen of Shadows – sadly there has been too much information about that already… but I will say, you will love this book! The weaving plotlines, the short and powerful chapters, the twists and turns, the action, heartbreak, decisions and sacrifices – it is filled with action, intensity and OMG-ALLTHEFEELS! Oh the feels – why do you do this to us Sarah??? WHYYYY DOES IT HURT SO GOOD? (I was broken by page 42… so, best of luck everyone ;)
Queen of Shadows brings little pieces of the storyline together – with old friends and foe coming back with more stories to tell. We travel this astoundingly crafted story through the POV of a variety of our favourite characters, who are all on vastly different journeys and are facing their own challenges. And along with reuniting with some of our old favourites, we get to meet some amazing new ones, as well as some previous “secondary characters” coming sharply into focus – as well as some previous events. That is one thing I love about this series – nothing is inconsequential. Everything has a reason or point, and even those long forgotten threads that were pulled in previous stories come to unravel later on.
Since I am not going to tell you too much about the story – let’s talk about the characters! The females – this series has some of the best female characters ever! All of them are bad-ass, even those that don’t seem to be exceptional – they each have their different strengths and a role to play – and I love it. Never underestimate a woman’s power – even the powerless. Celaena is her usual fiery and powerful self, determined to save those she loves and seek revenge on those who have hurt those closest to her. She has to make some really tough decisions, but in true Celaena style, she is smart, sassy and a master of deception. As her old and new life collide, she must take risks that could have disastrous consequences – and she unapologetic about what it is she needs to do. She is certainly becoming a true Queen, but although she has some powerful allies she is by no means a girl to sit back and let others get their hands dirty for her.
And speaking of fierce – we also get to dive back into the witch covens. Manon returns to prove that she is one witch not to be messed with, along with her thirteen, some of which we get to know a little better as well. Manon is tough and loyal, a true leader – but even leaders have tough journeys. There were moments throughout the story where I questioned Manon, going from liking her to finding her frustrating, but ultimately she is a complex character and my swinging emotions about her just proves this. And interestingly, Manon’s journey crosses paths with some other characters I would not have yet expected – and this could have some very interesting results!
And now the boys – oh, how I love the boys in this series!!! I am not going to talk about the romance in Queen of Shadows, except to say that you get a much clearer idea of which way this is likely to go. It seems that Celaena knows what she wants – but, we all know that in this world things can change at any moment – so I am not going to trust my eyes, or my heart, too much just yet :). But… back to the boys. I was actually quite surprised in this book to find that I felt the most for Dorian – his POV is intense and heartbreaking – and they hit you right where it hurts!. That is not to say he has taken over as my favourite male – Chaol and Rowan still have a larger piece of my heart but in Queen of Shadows I felt we got to feel more for Dorian – after the events at the end of Heir of Fire I did not think we would get to understand Dorian’s journey all too well, but WOW! Once again, Sarah J. Maas outdid herself and did it perfectly! But ultimately Chaol still holds my heart – with his honour and loyalty, and his unyielding desire to save Dorain. Although Rowan continues to try to battle for Chaol’s place in my heart, but he still hasn’t quite reached it… although this powerful and beautiful Fae warrior is definitely a worthy contender. And Aedion – I love him – he has just the right amount to snark to go along with his fierceness. All of these men bring so much more than being the “eye candy” (mind you, wow, Maas knows how to write attractive men). They are complex, interesting, breathtaking and capable men – and each in their own way are equals to the fierce Queen they all love (to some degree).
Besides the incredible world-building, the characters are what I adore about this wonderful series. I just love the interactions between the characters of this series – filled with fierce loyalty, distrust, love, wariness, deceit and game-playing. The connections between characters are so finely interweaved that that each event could bring about new alliances, love, enemies or saviours. It is utterly impressive how an old enemy can become an ally or those you trust the most can your biggest opponent… and the rest, well they can fall anywhere between friend and enemy. And everyone has their role to play in this amazingly intricate storyline.
There are a lot of heart-stopping and gasp-worthy moments in Queen of Shadows, and all the while your heart will be shattered and put back together multiple times. The writing is nothing short of superb – flawless in fact! Once again I am astounded by Sarah J. Maas’ ability to create a truly interesting and complex world. Queen of Shadows moves the story along with some amazing development and lots of twists. Every layer creates a new complexity to the storyline, and you will get totally lost in this world that is filled with tension, power, pain, honour, fierceness, magic, conflict, lies, danger, loyalty, vengeance, secrets, turmoil, betrayal, truth and hope. I cannot wait for the next book in this series!! Sarah J. Maas has without a doubt proven herself to be a master storyteller and creator of feels! Queen of Shadows will leave you shattered and begging for more.