Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Review/Discussion: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (Beware: Spoiler Warning)

Ah, Sarah J. Maas, once again you have successfully completed the art of tearing my heart into shreds and only leaving my tears in its wake.

This book was great. I liked it—a lot. Okay, more than a lot, really.


I'm going to be 100% honest and admit that I did not love it. And I definitely did not like it nearly as much as its predecessors: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, and The Assassin's Blade.

In all sincerity, I feel that the main reasons why I liked this book and gave it a 5 star rating despite it's somewhat mediocre storyline are because 1. The author is Sarah J. Maas. 2. I love the series far too much to let anything cloud my appraisal for it. And, 3. A lot of things happened in this book that I had been waiting for and wanting to happen for a very, very long time.

After the jaw-dropping, action packed ending in HoF, you better believe it when I say I went into Queen of Shadows prepared for the most exciting, thrilling, action filled book in the series yet—or so I thought.

Instead, I was first met with the complete opposite.

I spent the first few chapters thinking: It's coming, it's coming, something big's going to happen any time now...and I ended up thinking those lines for more than the entire first half of the freaking book. 

Nothing really seemed to happen. It was more like everyone was just rambling on about what was going to happen.

Not even Aedion's rescue turned out to be as magnificent as all the plotting and planning had made it seem like it was going to be.

I was pretty stumped at that, because if there's one thing I love about Maas's writing, it's her fighting/action scenes. They are so good. Her descriptions are in-the-moment and keep you at the very edge of your seat. So for there to hardly be any action in a good two-thirds of the book, I found myself a little disappointed. I was really looking forward to seeing the bad-ass Queen of Terrasen in warrior-mode, but I seldom got any of it.

Speaking of the Queen of Terrasen, what on earth happened to Celaena? I get to Queen of Shadows, and suddenly she refuses to be Celaena anymore and insists on only being Aelin.

I get it, I know that it's supposed to be a bold statement. I know that Celaena is a part of Aelin that she wants to leave in the past. I get that Celaena was a corrupt person, and that Aelin wanted to redeem herself and be the person she was forced to hide due to the harsh living conditions she suffered through under Arobynn Hamel's instruction.

But, I loved Celaena. Despite her flaws, I admired her, truly. After going on a journey with her through the first three books (four if you include the novella), I had developed an emotional bond to Celaena's character unlike any other fictional relationship I've ever had. Her bravery, her wit and clever mindedness, her ability to rely on herself and only herself. She was an independent, strong willed fighter who broke all and any boundaries of norms set against her as a young woman. Celaena's fuck-you-I-don't-need-you attitude instilled within me a sense of self-confidence and assurance.

So for that to suddenly be whisked away in QoS was a little shocking, and I couldn't help feeling quite devastated.

This book did have it's perks though, and I must say that my favorite was definitely Rowan and Aelin's relationship.

Holy smokes. Rowan Whitethorn. Where can I get myself a Rowan Whitethorn?

Seriously, though, I have never shipped Aelin so much with anyone as I have with Rowan. The flirting and sexual tension in some of the scenes was just...


Gosh, Fae males are just so swoon worthy.

I feel like Rowan is honestly a great match for Aelin. Their broken pasts help them understand one another, and I think that Rowan's calm, controlled, rational mind is the perfect balance to Aelin's hot tempered, fiery personality.

The way that Rowan was so genuinely concerned for Aelin throughout the book made my heart flutter, and I can't wait to see how their relationship continues to bloom in Empire of Storms.

Last but not least, let's talk about the witches. I warmed up to Manon Blackbeak and her Thirteen in this book. In Heir of Fire, I didn't enjoy the change in setting that much, but I truly feel like Maas did an incredible job with the witch clans and their story in QoS. Manon's character development was phenomenal and so perfectly paced. She's now one of my favorite characters next to Aelin. I love the way the witches' storyline is slowly tying into Aelin's storyline. It was definitely a clever move on Maas's part.

No book is flawless, and although this book did have its downs, it had many ups. The ending was wonderful and a great relief to me. All the plot-twists took me by surprise and had me catching my breath more than a few times.To finally see Aelin happy and feel like she belonged was enough to move me to tears. Not to mention the heart wrenching reunion between Aelin, Chaol, and Dorian.

I can't wait to see what Empire of Storms has to bring, and now I guess I'll go and continue sobbing over this book's super emotional ending.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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