Review: Queen of Shadows (SPOILERS)

Title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) 18006496

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: September 1st, 2015

Summary: 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.

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This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, if not my most anticipated. The Throne of Glass series is one of my favorite series and one that I’ve amazingly never really had any sort of issue with, which is really saying something since I can be a huge nitpicker. When I got this book in the mail, I knew that it would be another successful read, an amazing continuation of this equally amazing series.

Queen of Shadows starts off with Aelin back in her city, scheming and planning against her old master, Arobynn, King of Assassins, to get back the Amulet of Orynth and the Wyrdkey inside of it. She finds out that the king has her cousin, Aedion, held prisoner and is planning on executing him on Dorian’s birthday. Oh, speaking of Dorian, he’s just withering away as the Valg prince takes over his mind and slowly destroys him. Oh and Chaol is leading part of the rebellion and decided to be a sulking, grumpy ball of misery. Things aren’t looking very good, to say the least.

One of the biggest things I heard about this book was that people decided to not continue the series and bad talk Sarah J. Maas for her decisions surrounding Chaol. I’m a huge Chaol and Aelin shipper so I was really disappointed to find that their reunion wasn’t all I had hoped and dreamed about. In fact, they basically went for each other’s throats, blaming each other for everything that had happened and destroying whatever relationship they had. After a while, it became apparent that they would never be rekindling their romantic relationship, and while I found that immensely disappointing, I also understood. I think that what a lot of people are missing is that Aelin and Chaol aren’t the people they were during ToG and CoM. They have gone through so many struggles and have had to change who they are to survive. Chaol was the man that Celaena needed when she was an assassin, but now she is Aelin, a queen and ruler, and she left that other girl behind. By the end of the book, Aelin and Chaol seem to be mending their friendship, but I think we can all agree that romance is out of the question, which I actually found myself supporting, simply because it wouldn’t make sense for the people they are now. I think everyone should give the book a chance and realize that even though things might not go the way we want them too, realistically, in series like this, changes are going to happen, and as long as they make sense and honor the characters, I’m fully support that.

While I’m on the subject of romance, I should probably address the fact that Rowan and Aelin are now romantically involved. To be completely honest, I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this yet. A huge part of me feels like a traitor because I’ve always been completely on Team Chaol, but when I was reading this book, I found myself really supporting Rowan and Aelin together. Rowan is who and what Aelin needs and I adore their relationship. But the thing is, in HoF, I loved that they had such an intense connection without is being sexual or romantic, so I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that it’s become that now. It was refreshing to see such a beautiful relationship that went beyond friendship between a man and woman, while remaining platonic. I’m not surprised that they starting smooching it up, and I loved every second of it, but part of me will always miss what they had before. But my inner fangirl is crying over their devotion to each other and how stinkin’ adorable they are all the time.

As for the actual story in this book, it was full of so many twists and turns and intense parts that I could not put it down. I absolutely love reading books where the schemes feels so smart and there are a million layers to every plan, so kudos to Sarah J. Maas for managing to be so unpredictable and clever. I loved the revenge aspect with Arobynn and seeing their strange relationship in action, as well as the differences between Aelin and Celaena. There were so many different story lines going on, but each one was so vital and interesting, there was never a point that I was bored or uninterested. And that ending, HOLY MOTHER, I couldn’t even comprehend what was happening because my mind was so blown. I mean, I NEVER saw that coming.

Aelin was, as usual, absolutely amazing. The amount of growth she goes through in every book, as well as the obstacles she overcomes, continue to shape her into more of queen. The one thing that upset me about this book was how quickly she seemed to accept Dorian’s condition and how easy she made killing him seem. But Aelin will always be my number one bae. We also get more new characters in this book and my favorites had to be Lysandra and Nesryn. Those girls knew how to kick ass and take names, I mean, DAMN. And Manon, don’t even get me started on how much I love that witch, having her and Aelin fight each other was like a dream come true. Just watching Aelin’s court grow as she helped people and earned their loyalties literally had me tearing up at some points. I loved seeing how Rowan and Aedion never once judged her for any of her current and past actions, and their love and commitment to her was unwavering.

I can’t even begin to express how excited I am for the next book in this series. Now that Aelin and her court are back in Terrasen and Dorian is king, and the war looming overhead, things are about to change for sure. I’m really excited for Chaol and Nesryn to go to the Southern Continent, and to see what Manon and her thirteen are going to do. Not to mention Elide working her way to Aelin with the Wyrdkey; I’m definitely going to cry when they are finally reunited. Okay, and am I the only one hardcore shipping Dorian and Manon together? Can we just all take a minute to enjoy the thought of Manon ruling beside Dorian? That poor boy wouldn’t know what to do. In all seriousness though, this was a solid fourth book in the series, exceeding my expectations and hurting my heart and soul so good.

RATING: 

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Book Talk: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Last month I re-read the Throne of Glass series and The Assassins Blade18006496 by Sarah J. Maas, so after finishing Heir of Fire for a second time and the beautiful cover release for Queen of Shadows, I figured it was time for me to share the things that I want or expect to happen in this fourth installment.

Just as a warning, this post will include spoilers for the other books in this series.

So at the end of HoF, Celaena has embraced her identity as Aelin and she has left Rowan behind to travel back to the city, the palace, and ultimately the king. She is going back as Celaena Sardothien and obviously has some sort of plan in her mind as to how she is going to use that to her advantage.

Here is my major concern with that; I have a hard time believing that the king really won’t know who she is. I mean, he is super clever and scheming all the time, I don’t think that he isn’t going to put two and two together. Celaena coming back without having done the job she was sent there to do is already risky enough, but on top of being furious, the king might question what she was doing with all of her time over there. And with everything going on with Aelin emerging where Celaena was, plus all of the curious things surrounding Celaena in the castle, which we all know the king has noticed, he shouldn’t have trouble connecting things. So the question is, is Celaena actually walking into a trap?

On of the main questions I have is what exactly is going to happen to Dorian? At the end of HoF, his father locked the black collar around his neck and that’s all we got. I’m not sure if having the collar on is going to just put Dorian under his father’s control, or if it’s actually going to change him into something evil. Sarah J. Maas stated that QoS will be opening with a chapter from Dorian’s POV so I guess we are going to find out. I’m worried the king is going to use Dorian to get information out of Celaena or betray her. I think my main fear is that she is going to have to end up killing Dorian. Or actually, it would be even worse if Chaol has to kill him. Like if he and Celaena team up now that he has left the castle and his duties behind, and ultimately they can’t save Dorian so they have to kill him to save him. I feel like it would be extra heart-wrenching to have Chaol do it since they were like brothers.

Speaking of Chaol, I’m so nervous to see where he and Celaena are headed. I’m a huge shipper of them together, but I’m so nervous after HoF. Rowan implies that Chaol can’t actually be Celaena’s mate, and at the very end of the book, she takes off the ring she got from him and feels lighter. Obviously they aren’t done with each other, but I’m scared they will be romantically. However, maybe there is a loophole with the mate thing and maybe once she sees that Chaol picked her side, their romance will rekindle. I just don’t see her being with anyone else, or at least not any of the other male characters in the book right now. I feel like her being with Dorian would make sense, so they can rule together, but I don’t see it happening since she already kind of went down that road. I don’t want her to end up with Rowan, what they have is so much better than romance and I would be so mad if they lost it for some smooching time. Besides the two of them, that basically leaves Aedion or a new character. I don’t see Aedion happening since they are cousins, and I don’t like the idea of a guy coming in this late in the series to woo her. I don’t know, maybe Celaena won’t be with anyone, which I would prefer before anyone but Chaol.

I also have my finger crossed that we are going to see more of Manon in QoS. I loved her story line and her as a character in HoF and we know that something is going on with the witch clans. I do ultimately think that Manon will team up with Celaena, but maybe only after they face each other. I’m just intrigued to see exactly what sort of plan the king has for the witch clans and their new mounts. I don’t necessarily think that Manon and Celaena will meet up in QoS, because I feel like Manon might take this book to question herself and her duties more before encountering Celaena. We see a bit of Manon’s heart in HoF and her disobeying her grandmother, but I feel like the doubt isn’t strong enough yet for her to justify turning her back on the rest of the clans.

I think that in this book we are going to have a few major things happen, one of them being Celaena rescuing Aedion. I refuse to believe that Sarah J. Maas is evil enough to bring in such an interesting character and kill him off so quickly. I loved Aedion in HoF and I want to see what he can do with Celaena to help bring her to power. She is going to rescue him, I just know it. Another thing I think is going to happen, is that they are going to take out one of the towers blocking magic. I’m not sure if it’s going to be Celaena or Chaol or the rebels, but I think it’s going to happen. It was such a big revelation in HoF, and such a big deal if they could restore magic, that I don’t think they would put it off. And that way, Rowan will be free to come over and aid them. Then finally, I think that Celaena is going to kill her old mentor, Arobynn. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hate this man and how excited I am to see Celaena kill him. He deserves it and I know that she is coming for blood. We know from a except released that she is at least looking for him in QoS, and I feel like shen she finally finds him, after everything he did to her, there is no way he is going to live,

The only other things I know about QoS is just that it’s going to be substantially longer than HoF which is both exciting and intimidating, and that Celaena is going to be using her ninja suit from The Assassin’s Blade. We also are going to be seeing the name change in this book, from Celaena to Aelin. I personally think I’m going to have a bit of a hard time dealing with this, but I’m sure I will get used to it eventually.

Please let me know what you guys think or hope is going to happen in Queen of Shadows! I honestly cannot wait for this book to come out, it’s release date is set for September 1st and it feels like a lifetime away.

Must-Read Monday: Throne of Glass Series

I decided to start my Must-Read Mondays off strong with some of my favorite books ever, the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. These books are some of the most amazing fantasy books that I have ever read. Period. With one of the best heroines of all time. Possibly the best.

To start with, these characters. Holy snap, these characters. 13519397

Celaena is such an amazing character, she is so layered and realistic, and through the three books that are already out, her personality just grows and grows. Not only that, but she also happens to be one of the most bad ass people ever. She is an assassin, a great assassin, betrayed and forced to be a slave in the salt mines, only to be pulled forth and thrown into a tournament for her life. Watching Celaena in action is beyond exciting, her skills at sneaking and killing are both impressive and terrifying. But under all of that, you get to see that she has a warm heart of gold when it matters. Her sass and snarky comments dominate the pages, only adding to the complete package of amazing that is Celaena Sardothien.

All of Celaena’s friends are well written and amazing too. Dorian, Chaol, Nehemia, they all bring so much to these books. I just can’t stop gushing about how well written all of these characters are. I always find it so impressive when an author can not only make the main character great, but all of the secondary characters too. I feel like that takes some serious skills. Dorian is the smooth Prince, son of the evil King that Celaena is competing for, an evil King who may or 17167166 may not want to annihilate the world. Luckily, his son is a pretty nice guy. Chaol is the captain of the guard, even though he is so young and inexperienced. In charge of helping Celaena (and making sure she doesn’t murder anyone), he provides support and a big dose of tough love, determined to not let Celaena die. They are both handsome and swoony, possibly in love with Celaena and willing to do anything they can to protect her (not that she needs it). This sounds like the perfect set up for a long triangle right? WRONG! Well kinda… You’ll have to read to find out but let me just say that the romance is unbelievable.

The thing about these books is that every single book just gets better and better. There have only been three released so far, with six planned, last I heard. The first book is great as the beginning, introducing all of the characters, setting up the political power struggles, introducing the villains and big baddies, and bringing forth a huge mystery. The second book just adds on to all of these, giving answers and more problems, creating more complex relationships and adding a bit of world building. You can see the transformation Celaena goes through between the first and second book, how the people around her change her, making her better in my opinion. 20613470

But the third book is where it’s at. Just released in September, this book topped the other two by far. The amount of character development that Celaena goes through is mind blowing. And the world building… Dear god, the world building was beautiful. In this book we are introduced to so many new places and characters, and suddenly there is so much more going on in this world, more than you realized in the last books. This book makes you realize just how Sarah J. Maas is setting up for something absolutely epic to happen in the next three books.

If you like any books with fantasy, romance, amazing characters, a kick ass heroine, an epic world, evil bad guys out to destroy everything, mystery, fight scenes, just about everything else that makes a book amazing, READ THIS SERIES! Basically, if you don’t read these books, you’re saying you don’t like any of those things and therefore you are an awful person and should never read again.

Review: Heir of Fire

Title: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)20613470

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: September 2, 2014

Summary: Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love. ________________________________________________________________________________________________

I just finished with whole book in four hours. Four hours. My brain is hurting a little but not as much as my heart. For those of you that don’t know, I love the Throne of Glass books. Like, I love them with an unholy passion. The action, the setting, the characters, the everything about these books are just so good, I can’t put them down. Heir of Fire wasn’t released until today but by the power of all that is holy, I got it in the mail yesterday. I don’t know why, but I wasn’t about to complain. And this book lived up to all of my expectations. However, just as a warning, if you haven’t read it yet, my review is going to be very spoilery.

In Heir of Fire, Celaena has gone to Wendlyn, sent my Chaol to keep herself safe. But once there, she decides to find Maeve, Queen of Fae. Who is, by the way, a straight up bitch, to the surprise of no one, I’m sure. She finds Maeve who agrees to tell her all she has to know about the Wyrdkeys, but only if Celaena trains to discover the full extent of her fae power. So now Celaena is stuck training with Rowan, this cold bad ass fae, while a million other things are happening in Rifthold. And oh my god, where to start?

First of all, this book was so bitter sweet. I am a huge fan of all the Chaol and Celaena sexy time we got in Crown of Midnight, but they don’t even see each other once in this book. However, so much other stuff was going on, I wasn’t even sad about the lack of romance, which is saying something. When an author gives you an amazing romance, then takes it away in the next book, but makes you not even care because everything else is so good and distracting, something is being done right. The other sad thing was that in the first two books, I really came to love Chaol and Dorian. What happened to them in Heir of Fire was one of the things I was most curious about, as well as how their relationship’s with Celaena progressed. But since Celaena wasn’t with them, we really didn’t get much time with them. However, several new characters were introduced that I fell in love with.

Manon Blackbeak. Holy shit, she is such a bad ass. I want her and Celaena to become best friends and paint each other’s nails with the blood of their enemies. But seriously, the two of them could rule the world if they ever decided to team up. Manon was so impressive all the time, the way she fought and killed and had total control, she was scary but so interesting. Getting a look at all the witch clans was something I loved. The rivalry between the three clans constantly kept me on edge and the cold brutality of everything they did gave me chills. But even in the beginning, I could feel a spark of life in Manon. She was so fierce, I knew she was going to become a new favorite for me. And the second she looked at Abraxos and felt their bond, their similar desire the prove themselves and to be strong, I melted. I’m a huge How To Train Your Dragon fan and I couldn’t help but imagine Abraxos as a cute, Toothless looking dragon. And the way she fixed up is spikes and wings, was a total Hiccup moment. Her love for her wyvern became her weakness and her strength. Towards the end, she was clearly questioning the ways of her people and what was in her heart, but I’m still wondering if she is going to be Celaena’s enemy or friend on the battlefield.

Another new character we met was Rowan, the fae in charge of training Celaena. They had a rough start, with him being a big bossy ass butt all the time, and her being scared and battling her inner demons, but it turned out that they were both what the other one needed. I loved how he was so steady and calm to guide and help her. And watching their transformation from enemies to reluctant partners to friends to more was sad and heartwarming at the same time. While Rowan is old and sad, Celaena brings out life and hope in him, and when they got to the point where they would do anything for each other, I wanted to cry. I was nervous at first that he was going to end up being a new love interest, but it was never that for either of them, which was so refreshing. One of the things I love about Sarah J. Maas is that she knows how to create bonds through characters without going overboard. Even in book two, there was never really a love triangle situation between Dorian and Chaol because Celaena knew where her heart was. Just like with Rowan, they have an incredibly intimate bond, but not one rooted in romance. I’m just sad that she is leaving Rowan behind in the next book.

Aedion, Celaena’s cousin from her past was also introduced. He was a general, one of the King’s best, who killed his own people and rooted out rebellions. At first, I was nervous to see another new bad guy come into play, but he actually wasn’t bad. Well, not bad in the way Celaena isn’t bad. Sometimes. He kills lots of people but isn’t really evil. He knows Celaena (Aelin) is alive and wants to see her take back the throne and the land and free the people. And he believes she can do it with every inch of his soul. His relationship with Celaena and his regrets and worries about what she will think of him made me so sad. He tried so hard to do what he can, but he is so uncertain. The sacrifice he made in the end was all for her, and if they don’t break him out of prison in the next book, I’m going to have some serious issues. Celaena needs him, needs someone with his strength and convictions for when she forms her court to take down the king.

It was a toss up as to which story line was the best to me. Celaena’s training with Rowan was so interesting, since we didn’t know much about fae or her powers until this point, and watching her develop her flames and conquer her fears and her past made me feel empowered. Oh and I was dying to learn more about her past and this book delivered. That evil sneaky rotten king is such a snake. But anyways, Manon and the wyverns was so intense and interesting too. The mystery about the rotten meat and bad blood still hasn’t been answered and I can’t begin to guess what part they are going to play in all of this. I would think the witch clans would want magic back in the land and fight with Celaena, but they are all so bloodthirsty and heartless, maybe only Manon and her Thirteen will fight against the king. And everything going down in Rifthold, with Aedion and Chaol working for the rebellion, and Dorian falling in love with Sorscha and trying to manage his magic; I couldn’t breathe every time I read one of their chapters, thinking for sure that the king was going to jump out of the shadows and kill them. Turns out, I was kinda right.

There is so much going on in this book, I haven’t even had time to organize my brain. The king controlling the Valg princes is scary as fuck. Those things are going to destroy every last life in the land, I swear. Manon and the bloodthirsty witches now have wyverns to ride and rain terror down from the sky. Celaena embracing her bad ass, fire wielding fae side and planning to save the world made me want to cheer. Chaol conflicted by his duty and beliefs and love and trying to save everyone, finally kind of paid off. Dorian falling in love with a healer/spy and controlling his magic put me in a constant state of anxiety. My heart was permanently trying to beat out of my chest through this whole book.

Now the ending. Holy shit, that ending. My heart nearly exploded. Maybe it did and that’s why I hurt so bad right now. I mean, holy shit. The king could die a thousand deaths and it still wouldn’t be enough. I can’t believe he actually just chopped off Sorscha’s head right in front of Dorian. Jesus christ. Then Chaol finally manned up (maybe not at the best of times) and almost got killed by the king only for Dorian to blast everyone around with his magic. Yep, he kicked some ass, saved Chaol’s life, and revealed his magic to his bastard of a father… Who promptly snapped a black collar of evil around his neck. So now Chaol has given up everything to go find Celaena and tell her what’s happened, Aedion and Dorian are imprisoned, and Celaena seems to think that her returning back to Rifthold after everythin that’s happened it a good idea. I’m going to vote no on that one.

This book was beautifully written and a roller coaster of feelings. The new land, new characters, it all fit in perfectly, and I can’t help but feeling like everything is about to fall into place. I can’t wait to see Celaena come back and claim her throne with a vengeance. This was without a doubtm worth the wait and one of the best books I’ve read this year. I bow down to you once again, Sarah J. Maas.

RATING:  

A-Z Challenge

I’ve been asked to do an A-Z post of all my favorite books, only one allowed per letter. I’m going to cheat a little bit and do series for some… It was much harder than it sounds.

A: Artemis Fowl Series: I loved these books as a kid and occasionally read them for giggles. Blast from the past, yo.

B: The Black Jewels Series… Definitely not for the faint of heart, but beautifully written and haunting. Left me thinking about them for days.

C: Clockwork Angel… Since I was already taken, I’m just going to put the first book of this series. Cassandra Clare is a goddess.

D: Daughter of Smoke and Bone… It’s a new one that I just read, but I love the book so much, it’s moved up to my favorites list.

E: Eragon… I can’t say the Inheritance Cycle since the last book is definitely not included in my favorites. Blech. But the rest are awesome.

F: Fahrenheit 451… I know, I know. I can’t help it, this books just gets me somewhere deep.

G: Graceling… Anyone who has read this book knows why I love it. Complex characters, dark storyline, and beautifully written.

H: Harry Potter… No explanation needed.

I: Inkworld Series… These books were some of my favorites as a child and helped spark my love of reading.

J:

K: Kate Daniels Series… Kate in one of the best heroines ever written and these books are so amazing, definitely an underappreciated series.

L: The Lunar Chronicles… Cinder, Cress, Scarlet, those are three fine ladies with equally fine men. These books are so fun and magical.

M: Mortal Instruments Series… Jace, Jace, Jace… Do I really need to say more?

N: Neverwhere… This book is pure magic and so fun but dark, I read it all the time on rainy days.

O: Oryx and Crake… This book is so beautiful and well written, one of my favorite post-apocalyptic books of all time.

P: Percy Jackson Series… Some of my favorite books of all time and Percy was one of my first fictional character crushes.

Q:

R: The Road… It doesn’t really fit in with the rest of my choices but this book is one of my all time favorites. It kills you inside.

S: Sevenwaters Series… The first book makes me cry every time I read it. Amazing stories, mythology, and romance.

T: Throne of Glass Series… Everything about these books are wonderful. Especially Chaol. Yummy.

U:

V: The Various… A cute little story that I read a million times as a child, but haven’t for many years, so it might actually suck.

W: Wicked Lovely… I actually love this book a lot, but I would honestly have a hard time telling you why. It’s just haunting.

X:

Y:

Z:

Sorry for the gaps, I honestly just couldn’t think of any for those letters. This actually look way more time than I thought, I hate having to pick favorites, especially when my favorites are constantly changing. Thanks for the challenge though!