Monday, February 6, 2017

Heir of Fire - Review

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, # 3)

By: Sarah J Maas

Published: September 2nd 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

565 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Fae

Source: Borrowed from Holly

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Goodreads description--Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Times best-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.

Oh boy! What to say? What to say? Let me just quickly recap where Crown of Midnight left off and Heir of Fire begins. Nehemia sacrificed herself in an effort to prompt Calaena to action against the King. In some ways it works and in other ways it doesn't. Calaena blames Chaol for Nehemia's death initially but eventually works through those feelings. Even though she realizes that it isn't his fault, she still knows that had he not been so loyal to the King (who doesn't deserve his loyalty) then she might have been able to save Nehemia. Chaol learns the truth about who Calaena is--not only that she's Fae, but also that she's the lost princess Aelin Galathynius. This knowledge prompts him to try to save Calaena in whatever way he can. He comes up with the idea to have her shipped to Wendlyn on a fake mission to assassinate the royal family there. So Heir of Fire picks up with Calaena in Wendlyn. She's done some reconnaissance, but she's still so broken from Nehemia's death that she isn't worth much of anything. Instead of assassinating the royal family of Wendlyn, Calaena finds herself kidnapped by a different royal for a different queen.

Rowan Whitehorn is charged by Queen Maeve of the Fae and Dorranell to capture Calaena (aka Aelin) and train her to use her magic before being brought to Dorranell. Calaena only agrees to train so that she can get some information from Maeve about the Wyrdkeys in hopes of honoring her vow to Nehemia. And so Rowan starts off as stoic and utterly unimpressed with Calaena. They have such an antagonistic relationship that an avid reader couldn't help but wonder if his mentoring Calaena might turn their relationship into more. I have so much more to say on this, but I don't want to spoil anything. I'm including a spoiler at the end of this post if you need/want to see more of my thoughts surrounding Rowan's character and his relationship with Calaena.

Through training with Rowan, Calaena does find a way to fight through and out of the pit of grief that she fell into when Nehemia died and she broke things off with Chaol. I texted Holly at one point and said that I didn't feel like Calaena really knew who she was or what she wanted and that proved to be true as she spent most of this book learning about herself. She had so much past suffering, losses, and pain to process and heal from before she could accept herself, her magic, and her path in this world. I'm not always a fan of flashbacks, but in this case, the information is so critical to who Calaena is and how she needs to process her past before she can move forward with her future. It takes a lot to make me cry, but I did find myself tearing up at one point over all of the things that Calaena's been through in her life. Her past (at least the last ten years of her life) is not filled with many happy memories, and the ones she did have it seemed were all turned against her in the end.

Of course, Calaena can't become who she's meant to be without having to overcome some big obstacles and defeat more evil villains. We learn more about the King and his use of the Wyrdkeys even though we don't deal too much with him directly. He has a lot of power at his hands, and as we know, he's using none of it for good. His evil knows no bounds, and there is no one who will get in the way of his plans for domination.

I'd be remiss if I didn't discuss the other characters. Dorian and Chaol aren't in a good place. You can tell the two still care about each other very much, but Dorian doesn't know everything that Chaol does. He doesn't know who Calaena really is and therefore he doesn't know or understand why Chaol sent her to Wendlyn. Chaol is doing everything he can to protect Calaena, but ultimately Dorian is who he's trying to protect now. Chaol has to decide what lines he's willing to cross to protect both or either of them. And Dorian is trying to find a way to either master or suppress his magic and finds more than he could ever imagine.

There were also a couple of additional narrators in Heir of Fire. Manon Blackbeak is a witch called to the North for a special mission. The King has promised the witches that if they will accompany him in this part of his plan then they will have earned their freedom. Manon's chapters were so frustrating to me because I wanted to read about Calaena and Rowan's training or at least about Chaol and Dorian. I did come to find her part of the story interesting, but I can't say that I looked forward to her chapters at all. I know that she will have a part to play in the future as well, and Holly has given me hope that I might end up really enjoying her storyline, but for now I found it more of an annoyance than anything else.

We also have Aedion. He is Aelin/Calaena's cousin. He has been fighting in the King's army for some time, and we have to learn where his true allegiance lies. I liked his chapters because he was usually around Chaol so I didn't feel like he was a completely different storyline like Manon did.

Favorite quotes:

-"We're related, you know." "We've as much blood in common as I do with the fortress pig-boy."

-"You don't bite the woman of other males."

-"Loyalty is earned, not given." would have been nice, she supposed. It would have been nice to have one person who knew the absolute truth about her--and didn't hate her for it.

-"I see her slipping away, bit by bit, because you shove her down when she so desperately needs someone to help her back up."

-"You cannot pick and choose what parts of her to love."

-..."to whatever end."

-"I claim you..."

Heir of Fire had me all over the place. It was a book that I felt almost feverish to keep reading and finish. I didn't want to put it down, and when I did I was daydreaming about it. I wasn't sure at first if I was liking the direction that things were going, but I was won over in the end. And even the parts that frustrated me spurred me on to finding out how things were going to end and what was going to happen next. Heir of Fire gets 4.5 Stars from me. Have you read Heir of Fire? What did you think? Let me know!

SPOILER ALERT!!! (highlight to see) It takes a lot for me to change my thoughts on which character I want the main character to end up in a relationship with. Usually once I determine my favorite, I'm stuck with them for the duration. However, I do try to read the character's true feelings to determine who I want him/her to end up with in the first place. And Sarah J Maas is one of the few authors to genuinely have me "jumping ship". Where I was a diehard Chaol fan in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, I couldn't root for him after Heir of Fire. At first, I thought Calaena would forgive him for not giving her the information he knew about the threats against Nehemia's life. And I also thought given time that he would come to terms with Calaena's Fae blood and her actions against Nehemia's murders. But turns out that those two things can't be reconciled, and I'm actually okay with that.

I quoted Dorian above as saying that Chaol can't pick and choose which pieces of Calaena he loves and which he's disgusted by (I'm paraphrasing). And that's so true. Calaena has/had to find someone who would accept her and love her for her. All parts of her. I thought that was Chaol, but it turns out that he couldn't get over his issues any more than she could get over hers. Rowan heard the things that Calaena has done that disgusted Chaol so much, and he wasn't phased at all.

The progression of Calaena's relationships from Sam, to Dorian, to Chaol, to Rowan make sense when you consider that each one of the prior guys just weren't completely right for her, yet with each guy she gets closer and closer to finding herself and therefore finding the right guy for her. This actually reminds me of my own dating experiences before marrying my husband. The first guy I dated was completely wrong for me. The guy I was engaged to before my husband was much closer to what I needed than the first guy I dated, but he still wasn't right for me. Not completely. But Husband is. And that's how I feel about Calaena's relationship progression as well.

Now I'm actually jumping to the conclusions that Calaena and Rowan end up in a romantic relationship. It seems to be heading in that direction as there's enormous tension between the two. They're now in a blood bond with each other, but there's yet to be any kissing, and Sarah J Maas actually says that their sleeping beside each other wasn't romantic. But I just don't see how these two can NOT end up in a romantic relationship.

It's official. I'm now TEAM ROWAN!END SPOILER!!!

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