Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas – book review

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. MaasQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Published: September 1st 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Length: 648 pages

Where I got it: LIbrary!

Why I got it: It’s my favourite YA series of all time. Why wouldn’t I get it?

Summary from Goodreads:

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 contrinues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Queen of Shadows was definitely the most anticipated book of the year for me. It is no secret that Sarah J. Maas is a queen of YA literature and you only need to look around a little while to find someone gushing over these books. There is so much buzz and talk around this series that this book hardly needs an introduction. I will say though, if you have not read up to Heir of Fire, this review isn’t for you. I always recommend this book to everyone that has even a vague interest in fantasy worlds and if that’s you then do give this one a go but don’t read any further. All I’m saying is that there’s a reason the first book has a 4.22 rating on Goodreads.

If you have read Heir of Fire: congratulations and don’t fret, I won’t be spoiling Queen of Shadows in this review.

First things first: READ THE NOVEALAS. Trust me when I say you will appreciate this book more if you’re able to get the little references dropped here and there from Aelin. In between Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows is a perfect place to read The Assassin’s Blade and you’ll love Queen of Shadows more if you read the novellas first.

Looking back to the first time I read Throne of Glass almost a year ago, little innocent me never thought I would be rooting for a bloodthirsty witch or that this little (and quite insignificant to the story) dog would give me so so much joy. Now, with book 4 rolling around, everything has had so so much development and I glad to say that Sarah J. Maas is one of my favourite YA author.

We go into Queen of Shadows and we know instantly that we’re in a bad situation. We’ve left Rowan behind in Wendelyn. Chaol got kicked out of the palace. Aedion is about to be executed. Sorscha is well and truly deceased and let’s not even mention Dorian (I’m forever crying to what happened to him). It’s fair to say that things aren’t looking great for Aelin’s court. Something I’m always grateful for is when the author manages to recap some of what happened in the previous book and Sarah J. Maas does that seamlessly. I would have loved to recap some of the lore as well but I managed to catch on and the Throne of Glass Wiki is a incredible.

The dynamic between Choal and Aelin in this book is quite interesting. We know Dorian’s situation is quite bad and both of them want to fix it except… they have quite different ideas on how to go about protecting him. We’ve never really seen that, have we? This protectiveness and loyalty towards doing what is best for their friend. We’ve definitely seen them worry separately but this isn’t something we’ve seen them do together and for that reason it was interesting.

By far the most action packed out of all of Maas’ books, Queen of Shadows kept me on my toes from cover to cover. This author keeps surprising me with every new book and with only two books left in this series, we’re heading towards an epic finale that I’m confident won’t disappoint.

But (yes, there is a BUT) I had some issues with it too. Going into detail on what bothered me about the romance would be very spoiler-y (even mentioning the couple by name would be a spoiler so don’t worry, I’ll keep my mouth shut) and that’s not what this review is about. However, I will say that I don’t think the romance was necessary. Some scenes of intimacy would have been a great relief from all the action sequences, but romance? Although I’m sure many fans were happy about this pairing, I felt like it was out of place and just a bit odd. A part of me wants to say this is because the characterisation of certain characters felt off compared to Heir of Fire. If you asked me if I thought some of the characters were saying and X and doing Y Queen of Shadows back when I was reading Heir of Fire in December, I would have laughed and said “No, he wouldn’t do that. No, she wouldn’t think that.” It was the little things that I thought were just a bit… off. 

But not even the problems above were enough to damage Queen of Shadows’ 5-star rating (although they nearly did.) Sarah J. Maas keeps impressing me book after book and I really hope she doesn’t stop. At this rate, we’re in for an incredible last two books in the series. 

RATING: [5/5]

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