Monday, March 6, 2017

Queen of Shadows - Review

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, # 4)

By: Sarah J Maas

Published: September 1st 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

648 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic

Source: Borrowed from Holly

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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Goodreads description--The queen has returned.

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 has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. 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.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

*Note, I have no idea if this review is even going to make sense. I can't tell you how many times I told my husband that I couldn't think of the word I was trying to say while writing this review. There was just so so much packed into this book. Here we go...let's jump into it.

Wow. So much happened in Queen of Shadows. I'm not even sure where to begin. Calaena returns from Wendlyn with a plan and a purpose. She is finally ready to step into her role as Queen of Terrasen and take measures to get her people released from the king of Ardalan. She has her plan laid out in such detail that she's prepared for any and every contingency. Her plans have her crossing paths with Chaol early on. Those two have a lot of unfinished business and time and space have not done them any favors. Both Chaol and Calaena are dealing with a lot of hurt and bitter feelings toward each other. Love lost doesn't make for the best of friends, but these two still have Dorian in common and Calaena's mission to take down the King slowly becomes more and more understandable and desirable to Chaol. I hated that annomisty between them. I mean even though things didn't exactly end well between them, I didn't expect working together in this next phase to be so difficult or hostile. At some point Chaol says: "You're still the same assassin. You only came back when it was useful to you." Which I felt was totally unreasonable considering he's the one who sent her away in the first place. The two do find some common ground. And even though they will never be as close as they once were, they find an uneasy friendship in their mission.

Calaena's group of friends and allies really expands in Queen of Shadows. She's finally reunited with her cousin, Aedion. Chaol has ties to the rebels, and he brings in Nesryn. Thankfully, it doesn't take Rowan terribly long to reunite with Calaena like I feared it might. Lysandra who once had a combative relationship with Calaena is now fighting on her side in whatever ways she can. Each person is essential to Calaena's mission and they carry their own weight in accomplishing different tasks neccessary for the overall to succeed.

As I said, thankfully Rowan comes onto the scene sooner than I expected because he carries news of a threat that Calaena must weigh in the balance of her actions. I wasn't disappointed at all for the excuse that brought him back to her. She's at her best when he's around even if she doesn't need him to accomplish major pieces of her plan. She doesn't always keep him informed as to her plans because he would fight her on the risk that she's taking. But we all know that Calaena is capable of taking care of herself, and Queen of Shadows proves that in her mental capabilities as well as her fighting capabilities better than any of the past books in the series. But don't misunderstand me, Rowan plays a big role in helping her move her plan along. I loved the banter and the almost bromance between Rowan and Aedion.

The romance...ah yes. I am so happy about this relationship. I love that Rowan has never babied her. He tells her like it is even when it isn't what she wants to hear. He doesn't sugar coat things because of how he feels about her or who she is to him. But the two really do elevate each other to a higher level. Both being present to execute a task highly elevates the probability of that task being successful. These two have some hot moments even though there wasn't as much kissing and such as I hoped or expected. I just love them together. I'm loving the direction that things are going, and I can't wait to read more.

I've mentioned that Calaena had an extremely well thought out plan. I like how Sarah J Maas told us that but didn't expose us to the pieces of the plan until it was just the right time. This kept me from predicting too much, but also kept me from feeling completely out of the loop. I was really impressed with certain pieces of the puzzle. And there was one moment in particular where I had a mini-heart attack only to learn that Calaena had it all under control.

We also finally were exposed to Arobynn, the King of Assassins. Rather than just hearing about him from Calaena's past, we finally get some interaction with him. It's easy to see how he's gotten where he has and what his motivations are. I enjoyed learning more about Calaena's history that involved Arobynn and seeing the two interact. I also particularly liked Rowan trumping up in one small area where he was trying to assert his dominance. Go Rowan!

Where Manon's chapters were frustrating for me in Heir of Fire, I did come to enjoy her story more than I expected. Yet I will say that this part of the story is still probably my least favorite. I felt less and less annoyed each time her chapters came around the further into the book I got. I'm definitely interested in the direction that her story is headed, and I really liked the tie in with Eliody and Katlain. I don't know how everything is going to play out at the very end, but for now I have to say to kudos to each of these parts.

I feel like I should have much to say about Dorian, but I can't think of much to say that won't spoil things for someone who might not have read this book yet. I'll probably throw in a few comments about Dorian and his father at the beginning of my review of Empire of Storms just so that I can say them eventually but won't be spoilers.

Favorite quotes:

-But she was her own champion now. And she would not add another name of her beloved dead to her flesh.

-"I'm sorry," Aelin said. "For the years I spent being a monster toward you, for whatever part I played in your suffering. I wish I'd been able to see myself better. I wish I'd seen everything better. I'm sorry."

-"Stay the course, but plot a new path."

-"I don't know whether to throttle you or clap you on the back." "I think there's a long line of people who feel the same way."

-"Thank you for the oil," he added. "My skin was a little dry."

-"What do I do now?" ... "You light up the darkness."

All of this and so much more leads me to say that Queen of Shadows was great. I'm stoked about the events, the characters, the romance, the baddies, the battles, and everything that happened and everything that is to come. I really have literally zero negative things to say about this book. And so for only the third time this year, Queen of Shadows gets a 5-Star rating from me. Have you read Queen of Shadows? What did you think? Let me know!

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