Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
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.
Inconsistencies. This was a giant book full of inconsistencies.
In Heir of Fire Sarah J. Maas made a big deal out of the fact that Rowen and Celaena were not even a little attracted to each other. I even read one review where the reader was so excited that she represented platonic love between a man and woman so well. And in Queen of Shadows she just threw that right out the window. She made sure we knew that The Thirteen were the most disciplined group of Blackbeaks, that they never show any sign of emotion. It was pretty badass. But in this book they’re just like any other character. Remember how deadly the Valg Princes were at the end of Heir of Fire? How impossible they were to kill? In Queen of Shadows they’re basically just fodder. Easy to kill.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book, and I loved the direction she decided to go, and the new characters she introduced. But man, you’ve got to make decisions like that ahead of time. In a world of people who grew up reading Harry Potter, you can’t have inconsistencies like that. We notice, and it pisses us off.
Well, maybe it’s just me. But still.
Also, the pacing is starting to get to me. This just shouldn’t be a five book series. It’s too dragged out, things take too long to happen just so that we can have more people growling at each other and making empty threats. And the big boss battles at the end? I am soooooo over them. I don’t need to read a boss battle from 5 characters’ POV. Especially not with the formula she is using:
- Reasonably difficult situation + Plot twist = Impossible situation
- Impossible situation + Emotional character reveal = Gut wrenching decision
- Gut wrenching decision made + Boss evolution = Beyond impossible situation
- Beyond impossible situation + ?????????? = WIN!
How do the main characters even win? We don’t know. It’s rarely explained. But something MAGICAL comes to their rescue. Again, I don’t need to read about it from a million POVs. It takes forever.
I hear what you’re saying. “This is an awful lot of complaining, Katie. If you hated it so much, why did you give it three stars?”
Okay, I didn’t hate it. The end was just so gods damn slow that it started getting on my nerves and left me in a complainatory mood. Just like the other books in this series it had its good stuff too.
I really like Aedion as a character, and I enjoyed watching him flirt with Lysandra. The romance between Aelin and Rowan was appropriately steamy. Aelin started actually following through with (some of) her death threats to people. Manon is really starting to come into her own as a character, and I like me some Iron Teeth Witches. The ending successfully surprised me on TWO counts!
I enjoyed Queen of Shadows. It was fun. But I still just cannot contemplate the hype that surrounds this series, and everything else Maas writes. These books are okay at best.
So sorry for ranting. Honestly, if you like YA fantasy adventure, you will probably like this book. And I liked it too. Just, don’t expect brilliance or anything.