Queen of Shadows by: Sarah J. Maas

Summary:

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 Review:

I know, I know I am basically a year late for the review and while everyone was reading Empire of Storms, I was reading Queen of Shadows. But I really liked this book and it was much better than Heir of Fire which I felt had a lot of pacing issues.

This book picks up where Heir of Fire left off, Celaena, now Aelin going back to rescue her cousin Aeodin who was being held prisoner by the King.  I also felt that the Manon chapters actually lead to something because I honestly thought that Manon was going to be the Danearys chapters from a Song of Ice an Fire, being so far from the action that it shouldn’t matter. But I loved the Manon chapters and she is slowly becoming one of favorites. I also liked her relationship with Elide.

One of my favorite parts is where Manon and Aelin. You see a great build up of these two characters in previous books and seeing them meet was the highlight of the book and I hope to see more scenes with them in future books

Like I said earlier, the story was a lot better paced than Heir of Fire, which I felt was a lot of transitioning and not enough plot to really get the book going. This book had a lot of great plot elements throughout the book and you actually got to see a lot of the magic that was always mentioned in previous books but never shown.

I also liked the relationship between Rowan and Aelin. While I would have preferred it not to be a romantic relationship and more of a mentor-mentee relationship, at least it felt a bit more organic than forced, like most other YA fantasy books. I also felt that Celaena/Aelin was a lot less whiny in this book than in Heir of Fire

The climax of the book is what I really loved with all of the characters storming the kingdom, and I honestly felt like this could have been a good final book of the series, if it weren’t for the cliffhanger ending.

In the end, I really enjoyed Queen of Shadows and I hope to enjoy Empire of Storms and what more Sarah J Maas has to offer in the series.It was a return to form of the series and it gave us the action that we love.

Grade: 4/5

 

 

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass) with Spoilers

Summary (via Goodreads): “A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

My Thoughts: This is where I feel that the series begins to pick up and really expand the world that it is in. While the first book was a great start to the series, this book is where I realiazed that the series was great.

First, I liked Celaena’s development in this book, after winning the tournament she is now indebted to the king and has to do what he says or he will kill Chaol. I like that instead of killing her intended targets, she lets them go and puts them in hiding. She is also told of a rebellion coming from the other kingdom and feels she is conflicted with what she has to do, and what she believes is right according to Nehemia. I think Nehemia’s death was handled very well, and that is what lead to Celaena’s development.

Chaol also gets character development, and also feels conflicted in working for the king, along with Dorian, who has to deal with his father. I know it is still a love triangle, but it’s an example of romance done right in which the characters are actually developed and you care for them, rather them having them be in love because the plot said so.

The plot also expands the world that the story takes place in. The book discusses what happened to Celaena’s parents and finding out she is the lost princess and also part Fae, which were a species that was mostly killed off. While some “lost princess” tropes are annoying this one actually surprised and had several hints throughout the story.

I think this was a great second book and elevated my love for the series.

Grade: 4.3/5

Throne of Glass by: Sarah J. Maas

Summary (Via Goodreads): After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

My Thoughts: I was recommended this book from a friend, who described it as Game of Thrones meets Hunger Games, and I could say that I really enjoyed the book. As a fan of high fantasy the world really grabbed my attention, and while the first few chapters takes a while to set things up it is a given for any high fantasy book.

Now let me discuss the characters. First is Celaena, who was an assassin who has to compete in a tournament in order to receive her freedom. I would describe her as Katniss if she went bad. She also has a bit of snark to her. Next is Chaol, who is captain of the guard and is tasked to train Celaena for the tournament who is basically Four from Divergent and I like Celaena and Chaols back and forth. Another is prince Dorian who is another suitor for Celaena who shares her love of reading. While I am not against love triangles and romances I feel that it was a distraction  from the main plot.

I really liked the plot, the tournament felt like a sick twisted Triwizard tournament with very dangerous tasks such as picking a poison, climbing challenges and hard duels, but I felt some of the other competitors could of had some development. I also liked the murder mystery plot, even though without giving too much away it felt a little anti-climatic.

In the end I felt this was a great first book of a series and despite some problems I really enjoyed the book and was excited to see what came next.

Grade: 3.8/5

A Court of Thorns and Roses By: Sarah J. Maas

Summary (Via: Goodreads):

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down


My thoughts:


I was very excited when this book was announced because I am a huge fan of her Throne of Glass series, and I wanted to see what more she can do, and she didn’t disappoint. While still in the high fantasy genre she took us into the world of  the Fae and used it to retell Beauty and the Beast. Feyre, serves as a Belle stand in, and I like Feyre, almost as much as I like Caelena from Throne of Glass. She’s smart, and doesn’t really put up with Tamlin’s crap. Sarah J Mass also does a good job with world building as it is extremely hard to do so especially in the fantasty genre. Another main character is Tamlin, who is the Beast, and when he if first introduced it is almost like when the Beast first showed up in Beauty and The Beast. 


The first half is very devoted to the character development of both Feyre and Tamlin, and them getting to know each other and also fall in love. Mass does a very good job with the believably of them being in love rather then the insta-love which is found in many YA novels. The second half is more action packed with Feyre being forced to go through trials in order to save Tamlin, from the evil Armantha, who is a pretty decent villain, just the down side is that she was killed by the end of the book, and would of mainly wanted her to be the series main villain. 


Also there is a maybe love triangle between Feyre, Tamlin and Rhysand. As a hetero male I would go for Tamlin, mainly because she went through everything for him. Rhysand, I would describe as Eric, from True Blood, Damon from Vampire Diaries with little bit of Loki, and while that may turn girls on, I think Feyre and Tamlin are end game. 


This book was a very good start to what could be great series, which did a fantastic job mixing the romance elements with the fantasy elements


Score: 4.7/5