Monday, October 18, 2021

All Things Halloween Review - Kingdom of Ash

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, # 7)

By: Sarah J Maas

Publication: October 23rd 2018 by Bloomsbury YA

720 pages

Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Fantasy

Source: Borrowed from the eLibrary & Personal Kindle Library

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Goodreads description--Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s #1 New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an epic, unforgettable conclusion. Aelin Galathynius’s journey from slave to king’s assassin to the queen of a once-great kingdom reaches its heart-rending finale as war erupts across her world. . .

Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.

As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.

I have put off reading this book for years. Mostly, I put it off due to how long it is. But when I have been in the mood to read here in 2021 after giving birth to my 3rd child, I have wanted to read something I know I will enjoy. Also, I originally read the series on Holly's kindle. But her 1G kindle stopped syncing. So I put KOA on hold with the e-library. I finally got my loaned copy, but of course, you only have two weeks to read a book from the e-library. And 900+ pages is going to take me a bit longer than that these days. My library copy expired, but by that point, I was hooked on the story. So I bought it with my birthday gift card money.

The first thing I want to say review wise about Kingdom of Ash is how very far we've come since Throne of Glass. Oh, my word! It almost doesn't even feel like these two books belong in the same series to me how far apart we've come. I remember thinking, and even commenting in my review, that Throne of Glass not focusing on the assassin competition more was a missed opportunity. Boy, I was completely ignorant about the overall arc of the series story and conflict. Aelin being an assassin was such a small (yet still important) part of the story. I intend to re-read this series from the beginning, and I'm sure I will be just as impressed by the distance from the beginning to the end as I was finishing Kingdom of Ash.

There is so much to discuss and unpack in this book, but with a series ender, I'm always hesitant to spoil anything.

I found it difficult to get back into the story because I put off reading this book for several years. There are so many narrators and so many pieces to this puzzle that it is hard to keep everything straight sometimes. But one thing is for sure, Sarah J Maas has crafted this series like a pro and even the smallest pieces and interactions are remembered for future use and crafted to tie back together. I truly love when a series is like this. Each piece is meaningful and important in some way or another.

Multiple times I found myself thinking that Kingdom of Ash had a JRR Tolkein and The Lord of the Rings vibe. Dorian's quest to find the 3rd key by going into Morath reminded me of Sam and Frodo going into Mordor. Dorian and/or Aelin needing to forge the Lock while war is going on in other areas of the land and story reminded me of the quest to destroy the ring. All of the dark, evil creatures Erawan created of course reminds me of all of the Orcs and creatures from The Lord of the Rings. The battle that Aedion is fighting in Terrasan reminded me of the big battle in Return of the King. Of course, I don't see the religious symbolism throughout Kingdom of Ash like The Lord of the Rings. If anything, maybe there is an "anti-religion" theme throughout Kingdom of Ash.

I want to discuss Aelin and Dorian's mission to destroy the key a little more, but I know that will likely stray into spoiler territory for sure. I'll just say that the self-sacrifice that was touched on in this area felt a little cliche. I was rolling my eyes a good bit through this section. Yet when I analyze it, I'm not sure I can come up with another way things should have gone down. In some ways, I might even say this section could have been skipped altogether.

Sarah J Maas has so many couples going in this book. Each couple has conflicts to overcome. Aedion and Lysandra aren't in a great place. Rowan, of course, has to reunite with Aelin. Lorcan and Elodie are also at odds when things begin. And Dorian and Manon have an impending separation coming. I'm probably even missing someone. Oh and Aedion and Gavriel...not a romantic relationship, but I had to shed a tear at this point of the story.

I really feel like this review has not done this book or this series justice. But there's so much to wrap my head around and so much that I don't want to spoil. Kingdom of Ash gets 5 Stars. And I believe this is my only 5 Star read from 2021 (at least so far). Have you read Kingdom of Ash? What did you think? Let me know!

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