Welcome to October! Even though this is the first review of the month, I’m still counting it with September, just because I finished the book in the last week and had to wait until now to post it. Enjoy!
Title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Paranormal
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 continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.
My First Thoughts:
The. Cover. Is. Gorgeous! I loved this cover when I first saw it released and I love it now as I hold it in my hands! And my word it is heavy! I think that with more than 600 pages, I would classify this book as a doorstopper, and don’t get me wrong, that’s not an insult. I’ve waited so patiently for so long and I’m so ready to read what Aelin does next!
Honestly, I don’t understand why so many people had issues with this book. Yes, the characters changed. They went through a lot of challenging trials and traumatic events, so it’s no surprise that their personalities changed, it’s called character development, and they don’t always change for the better. Yes, Aelin has always been a bit full of herself, so if you give her immense power and a responsibility that not many have, then it’s not that hard to see her still being full of herself, she’s just a bit more mature now. Just because a fan doesn’t like the different changes doesn’t mean that the characters went OOC or the author was just writing fanficition, that’s just no!
And I will admit that Choal’s behavior at the beginning of the book was a bit harsh and annoying, but honestly he was still grieving and trying to cope with what was happening. His actions were a bit understandable. Sorry, rant over. Don’t read the comments to a book you’ve been looking forward to for a while, it can ruin the experience and paint a false picture.
On a different note, holy gods, was this an adventure! Demons, and witches, and warrior Fea, oh my! The different character interactions just made me giddy and stole my heart! And was it just me, or does it seem like Sarah J. Maas is turning up the heat on the more romantic side of things? While it doesn’t quite read like an Adult or New Adult book, it does read like the author is trying to get the book to age and change with the audience it started with. I loved some of the ways that she creatively had her characters curse without actually cursing; it was rather amusing to fill in the words myself. On this note, I would say that this book is definitely more on the 16+ side of Young Adult fiction!
I know that this isn’t the first book in the series to do this, but I have really enjoyed reading through more than just the main heroine’s perspective. It was fun and informing to read from both sides of the playing field, and it gave readers a much wider view of what was going on. Honestly, it reminded me of some of the higher fantasy series that deal with a large cast of characters and multiple perspectives. It was nice to read about the internal conflicts of the other characters, and the opposite side, that you wouldn’t get if the story was strictly told through Aelin’s point of view. Reading about the smaller story arcs that involved the other characters was so much fun, and really heart breaking. Don’t get me started about Manon’s growing arc! All of this makes the story, and the world that it was in, much rounder and flavorful and attention grabbing.
Sarah J. Maas has definitely spent a lot of time building this world. Not only does she have varying countries and habitats, but she also has varying people and cultures. It isn’t easy creating more than one culture, making them completely different but somewhat similar at the same time. And she also has a nonhuman culture too that she spent time fleshing out, which was enjoyable to read and piece together.
I do have to say one thing that I did not care for in her world and character building, and that was her excessive use of midnight and night. I’m not sure why she used those two words so much, but most of the time she used them outside of their literal meaning. They replaced the color black, they were used to describe emptiness and silence, especially how quietly something moved or spoke, and other actions. It got really old to say the least. If I had a penny for every time that Maas used either midnight or night, I would have enough money to buy another stack of hardcovers.
I can’t stress this enough, but don’t read other people’s comments, and if you do take them for a grain of salt. This book was almost ruined for me because a lot of people who got an early copy of the book flung crap at it for not being their dream child.
Anyways, if you enjoy a fantasy series that is similar to Game of Thrones, except without all of the really gory stuff and the raunchy flavor, then Throne of Glass is for you! If not, well this series is becoming increasingly like other popular fantasy novels, and may not be your cup of tea.
If you don’t mind more characters being added to the already beloved cast, then this book won’t let you down. If you don’t mind reading more about these newer characters, or even some of the older ones, then you’re in luck because there’s character development to go around, including a nice helping of backstory!
And if you’ve been waiting for some of the story’s arcs to finally close for good, then you’re in luck! However, that doesn’t mean that the series is over, oh no, it’s far from over. As the saying goes, as one door closes another opens, and Maas throws open a pretty hefty door by the end!
And I do have to warn you, some ships sink, while others are built and set sail…
This book was definitely worth the wait, and one of my favorites! It was nice to finally put a face and personality to some of the names that were just thrown around for the longest time, and it was nice to see some of the story’s arcs come to a close. While some doors were nicely closed, a few of them may have been slammed, others were open wide to make room for the next few books. The book kept my attention and stole too much time away from my homework and sleep, I always had to read the next page. I actually looked rather goofy caring this doorstopper of a book around campus from class to class.
Maas definitely knows how to handle and write a pretty lengthy cast of characters, keeping them separate enough to make them distinguishable from the others. She did a good job fleshing out her old and new characters by adding more character development and background story. It was really interesting to read how a lot of the characters were linked together, and guess at how some will be linked in the future. Sometimes it felt like I was looking at this giant tapestry that told several different stories that came together at certain points, but diverging again.
The reason this book doesn’t get the full five stars is because of her excessive use of midnight and night. They can be good words to spice up your descriptions, but they were a bit overused and ended up annoying me every time I read over them. The only other mark against the book is that I found a lot of simple mistakes that should have been caught by an editor. There weren’t so many mistakes that it appeared unprofessional, however there were enough to catch my attention and pull me out of the reading from time to time. While Maas’s storytelling is improving, I think her writing style needs some finer tuning and a better editor!
Here’s another fantasy, while not quite like the Throne of Glass series, it’s still a dark fantasy to read!