Book Review: Empire of Storms

empire-of-storms

Details:

Title: Empire of Storms

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Previous: Queen of Shadows

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Date Released: September 6, 2016

Genre: NEW ADULT, Fantasy, Romance, Action/Adventure

Pages: 693 (Hardcover)

Synopsis:

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

What I first Thought:

So I’ve been waiting for this book for almost a year and the wait almost killed me. I made sure that I got this book the day it was released so that I could read it before the spoilers started pouring out all over the internet. I was actually driving back to school that day after a long weekend of packing, and I added an extra hour and a half to my drive time so that I could go to Barnes & Noble. I actually almost didn’t get it that day, because the B&N that I went to didn’t have the books out, even though their computer said it was displayed in the YA section. I was so mad because they’re usually pretty good about getting popular books out on the day of the release, but I ended up finding the book! It was just lying on the help desk, all by itself in a random stack of books, so I grabbed it and bought it. My expectations were pretty high, fueled by the wait and excitement; I absolutely love Maas’s work!

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

WARNING: When reading this book, I suggest you find a seatbelt and strap yourself to whatever surface you’re reading on. And please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times!

You think I’m kidding, right? No seriously, do yourself a favor and buckle yourself in for the adventure, it is one fantastic thrill ride!

Sarah J. Maas took my expectations and laughed at them as Empire of Storms stomped them into the ground and used them to lift off into space. Translation: the book was bloody fantastic and went way above what I had expected. Typically, I find that when I read long series, normally having more than three books, the later books are much weaker than the first ones. However, Sarah J. Maas has broken that norm for me. I have found that as this series progresses, it gets better and better with each book that Maas rolls out! Her writing, world, and characters improve with each installment and she leaves me craving for more and more.

This book is definitely going onto my favorites’ shelf. There are way too many reasons as to why it belongs there and why you should read this book too. I won’t be able to list everything, but I’ll try to sum things up as best as I can. And I apologize in advance if I ramble and this becomes rather long-winded!

What I love most about Maas’s stories are her characters, whether they’re main characters or minor ones, they’re always well done. This book is no different. The characters from book one are still developing, becoming more and more rounded as their journeys unfold. Her newer characters are developing beautifully as all the character storylines converge. The interactions between the vastly different characters are realistic as well. Maas shows that the stress and death is really putting a strain on the characters and their relationships. The novelty of this grand adventure pretty much disappears as the story progresses, as the characters realize just how impossible everything seems to be and how unlikely their story will end happily.

There were times in which I could see where Maas wanted to go with the story, accurately predicting certain events and character reactions. However, there were still many turns that I didn’t see coming and I enjoyed the good few shocks that I had. I thoroughly enjoyed the details and events that I saw resurface from previous books, riddles and passing words finally taking shape and making sense in this installment. I believe that this really shows how long Maas has been planning this series and that she knew what she wanted to do with it from the beginning.

I’ve also really enjoyed how much Maas has expanded her story. If she wanted to, she could just stick to Aelin’s point of view and the story would still be entertaining. However, she chooses to tell this story from more than one character from different sides of the major conflict, which really helps to round out the story more. She decides to show you what happens on the different sides instead of just telling you why something happened or that it happened. Some stories don’t really need that kind of coverage, but I think it really works out for Maas’s series, especially for Empire of Storms.

The action in Empire of Storms is non-stop, there’s hardly a break between each conflict our characters face. For some people, this may be a deterrent because it doesn’t give them enough time to absorb anything. It’s possible people might find the action too much, wanting a lot more substance between each major action sequence. For myself, I enjoyed the pace of the story and the amount of action written. If Maas added more ‘substance’ between the big sequences then the book would probably be close to 1000 pages. I wouldn’t mind a book of that size, but I’ve heard people complaining about the current books being too long already.

Last thing, I have to rant a little. This book is listed as a Young Adult book, however, I have to severely disagree with that listing. Growing up, YA never really touched on sex. Sure, there were times when it would briefly mention that the characters had sex or the main characters would talk about it. There were even times when the reader would just assume that the characters had sex based on their previous actions. But YA never really had sex scenes, and Empire of Storms definitely has sex scenes that might not be appropriate for some readers. The few sexual scenes aren’t nearly as detailed as erotica or the cheesy romance novels, but it’s more than causal too. I have no problem with these scenes, but I feel as if the marketing category should be changed to New Adult instead.

Final Thoughts:

This book defied all expectations that I had. It was absolutely fantastic and the more I read Maas’s new work, the more impressed I am with how far she’s come.

If you were on the fence about Queen of Shadows read this book! Continue the series, because Empire of Storms answers so many questions and really does a wonderful job of moving the overall story along. You’re emotions will be toyed with, there may be tears of laughter or sadness, or both. It’s an intense read that won’t be easy to put down, I know I had issues getting the motivation to go to class a few times. I don’t suggest people starting this book if they know that they’ll be busy for an extended period of time.

If you really loved Queen of Shadows, then what are you waiting for? Clear your calendar, pick up the book, and dive right in! Don’t be shy! And start reading before the spoilers find their way to you and ruin your experience!

If you’ve never read the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas are have been intrigued by my review, please pick up the series. The first book may be rough for you, but by Empire of Storms you’ll understand where I’m coming from. Also, it’s a good series to dive into if you have a lot of time to kill reading!

Rating:

5/5

I absolutely love Sarah J. Maas’s writing, she’s one of my favorite authors at the moment, and this book is going onto my favorites list. Her characters have grown up so wonderfully, they’ve made me laugh, smile, and cry as I’ve followed their development. The interactions between the various characters were entertaining and very believable, especially as the danger really started to push in on them. I’ve been able to predict specific events, but I’ve still been surprised more often than not, which thrilled me to no end! Again and again I’ve been impressed with Maas, and she has yet to disappoint me!

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Book (and Audiobook) Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Mist and Fury

Details:

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (book), Recorded Books (Audiobook)

Release Date: May 3rd 2016

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Pages: 624 (hardcover) 670 (paperback)

Narrated by: Jennifer Ikeda

Read time: 23 hours and 17 minutes

Synopsis:

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

My First Thoughts:

I was pretty surprised by how much I liked the first book, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and I was intrigued by how Maas would continue the tale. In the previous book she left things pretty wide open, Feyre with new possibilities and a few loose strands that never got tied up. I think that made me the most excited, and willing to read this book, was one of the final scenes in the previous one: the odd departure of Rhys from the balcony before everyone left the mountain. That scene alone made me want to read the sequel.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

Boy am I glad that I decided to listen to this sequel! The first book wasn’t terrible, not my favorite from the author, but the world and characters were interesting enough to keep me reading (or listening in this case). As sequels go, Maas did a fantastic job with A Court of Mist and Fury! Everything that I loved in the first book, the characters, the world, the history, the intriguing new species, all appeared in this book and were expanded way beyond my hopes.

The book is over 600 pages long borderline 700, the audio is almost 24 hours, and I never got bored once. Sometimes, especially when it comes to long fantasy stories, that’s really hard for an author to pull off. But Maas was able to spin a story full of romance, intrigue, history, character development, and action that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time!

A Court of Mist and Fury was full of so much creativity that I marvel and wonder about how strong her imagination is and what it’s like to be in her head. If you thought her other series or the previous book had a lot of description, then you’ll be in for a surprise. I would have to guess that about 30% of the book is pure world building, either with physical descriptions, various clothing styles of the courts visited or visiting, various new species, and history, so much history. While some people find all of that to be boring, I absolutely loved it! If an author creates a new world never thought of before, then I want them to describe to me what they created and what they see. I find the story more enjoyable if I can submerse myself in the history, either of the lands or people, or of the characters themselves, so that I can truly understand the reasons behind their various actions. Maas also does a fantastic job of making the various mentioned courts unique, and even some of the cities and places visited in each. She makes each place memorable and easy to create within your own mind, which can be difficult for some authors or some just don’t bother. And sure, there were several paragraphs dedicated to clothing description, especially when the characters dressed up, but I actually enjoyed that too. I enjoyed “seeing” what various courts wore, or what the various characters wore as well, and in some ways Maas used the clothing descriptions as foreshadowing or used them to show character growth. And don’t get me started on her fae species, I could talk for several more sentences or even paragraphs about that part. But in short, Maas doesn’t really use a lot of the more common Fae in her stories, sure a few of them show up, but she also uses some of the more obscure ones or even creates some of her own, which I believe is a mark for her creativity.

As much as I love Maas’s descriptions and world building, I love her characters even more. With this installment of the series you get a whole new cast of characters. Some are brief but still impressionable, while others are more lasting and surprisingly quirky. I didn’t know how I felt about some of the new characters, I disliked some at first and by the end there was only one that I still disliked, and for good reason apparently! Each new character is not quite unique, but memorable. They each have their own little quirks, the things that get them riled, and their own history, even if it is brief. But the interactions between the various characters was the best part. Maas used their interactions to really show who each of them were, and even used it as growth for some of the main characters from the previous book. They were funny, some were rather snippy, angry, or sad, but all the interactions seemed realistic, not forced, but natural and smooth.

In my review of the previous book I talked about how much I enjoyed the character development in the story, especially of the more minor characters. Well, Maas did it again and absolutely delighted me with the great and small character development of both main and minor characters. I could really see how the characters felt for each other and how their relationships changed as they went through more and more together. And it was the little things too that added to the development, not just big scenes or action or events. Sometimes the little things played a bigger role in the change than the larger ones.

In the first book I liked Feyre, but I didn’t love her as much as I hoped I could. In this book, I grew to love her more than I ever thought I could. I think she had the most development in this book and her character tickled me pink! I’ve seen other authors put their heroines through traumatic experiences, ones that would totally change and damage a person, but then in the next book their completely fine, no mental damage, not change in personality, nothing. Maas doesn’t do that with Feyre. Instead, Maas shows you a broken, beaten young woman who did everything she could for those she loved, and still lost so much of herself that the repercussions were great. Maas shows the consequences to Feyre’s psyche do to her trials at the end of the previous story and it’s the first time that I feel like an author portrayed PTSD beyond the stereotypes and quick Google searches. And it’s because Maas understood how broken her heroine would be, that I grew to appreciate Feyre, especially when she realizes what has happened to herself and she tries to change it. Because of her PTSD, which is never actually named in the story, Feyre had the biggest character development of all and one that I felt wasn’t forced either. Even broken, Maas showed her heroine to be strong and not in a butch or bitchy way.

I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal. I was a survivor, and I was strong. I would not be weak, or helpless again. I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.

The last thing that I will talk about here is the story itself. If I could rename the book it would be either A Court of Plot Twists and Drama or A Court Internal Squeals and Fangirling, either would be perfectly fine, in my opinion…Anyways, this book has so much drama that it’s dripping off the pages. Now, that’s not a mark against the book, on the contrary. A Court of Thorns and Roses, in my opinion, didn’t have a lot of action or real plot for most of the book, it read more like a collection of experiences within a few months. It was a set up book, fine. A Court of Mist and Fury, however, was the book I was hoping the other one to be. There was so much action and tales of adventure that actually lend to the plot of the story. When there wasn’t action there was drama, so much drama, but it was fun and interesting, it sounded so real and I could actually understand where the drama came from and why. And the plot twists, most of them I didn’t even see coming until right before it happened or not at all. Now, I normally pride myself in figuring out big reveals and twists before they occur, that’s why I get really excited when I’m bested by an author. Maas is a worthy opponent, and her twists had me squealing and screaming to the point that I believe my family thought me mad. Some of them were small, others colossal, but none of them made me sit there and question why they occurred. Once they revealed themselves I was able to go back and actually see the clues, the subtle signs, and the reasoning behind the characters’ actions. All in all, this story was fantastic from the little details to the big scenes, from the minor, small characters to the main characters, from description and history to the big and small reveals.

Final Thoughts:

I would recommend this book to those who loved, or even liked or barely liked, A Court of Thorns and Roses. This story is so much fun and much, much better than the previous.

I do have to say though, while the story was 30% descriptive, I’d say it was also 60% plot and 10% sex. Yea, there’s a lot of sex and sexual tension in this book, or at least, more than I was expecting for a ‘Young Adult’ novel. And it went into much more detail than I was anticipating as well, it wasn’t briefly mentioned, no there are actual scenes within the book and they went a bit more beyond than what they did in the previous novel. However, the scenes are not quite on the same level as Adult novels or the famed ‘Adult Romance’ novels. So for anyone with younger children, don’t let them read this book unless you’re comfortable with that. I don’t believe that books have specific ‘ages’ but they do generally target a specific audience, and if you’re an adult with a child that wants to read this book or series, seriously think on that. In reality, this book belongs in the New Adult category with a target of older teens and 20 somethings, but it can be read by anyone comfortable with the violence, gore, and sex.

Rating(s):

Story: 5/5

A Court of Mist and Fury is bloody fantastic! I had so much fun listening to it and it kept me up late at night, on the edge of my bed. It was everything I wished its predecessor was and so much more. It’s 600-700 pages, or 24 hours (listening time), of pure fun, drama, romance and intrigue. And with the ending, which wasn’t really a cliffhanger more like a bookmark in a longer story, I’m already dying for the next installment. I can’t wait to see what Maas does with this story or her characters, and I can’t wait to see what hell Feyre will bring to the world.

Narration: 5/5

As before, I absolutely loved the narration by Jennifer Ikeda. She might have been the first to narrate a story to me as an adult, but she is by far my favorite. I loved how she brought the characters to life, and even her male voices weren’t too bad. She was able to craft her voice in such a way that their various personalities showed through as she spoke for each character. Her reading was neither slow nor fast, but it never kept the same rhythm. If the story demanded action then she read a little faster than normal, if the characters were thinking then she drew out there thoughts a little, giving time to appear as if they were slowly putting the pieces together. All in all, she did a fantastic performance of the book and she will always be the voice of Feyre, even if I may read the book myself.

Related Reviews/Books:

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Book (and Audiobook) Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Details:

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s

Release Date: May 5th 2015

Genre: New Adult, Romance, Fantasy, (possibly a retelling-ish)

Audio: 16 hours and 8 minutes

Reader: Jennifer Ikeda

Synopsis:

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.

My First Thoughts:

In all of my readings I have yet to find a book that retells or uses the elements of Beauty in the Beast well enough for me to enjoy. Yes, I have read Crimson Beauty and I will be posting that scathing review at some point. Anyways, I decided to give this book a shot because I’ve enjoyed Sarah J. Maas’s writing in her other series and I love original lore faeries (not Tinker Bells). I just so happen to also be doing a lot of driving, with visiting back home and my boyfriend, so I finally decided to get audiobooks to listen to during the long road trips. This was the longest audio that I could find that I also wanted to read, so two birds with one stone.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

Overall this book was pretty fun and beautifully written. While I didn’t fall in love with this book as hard, or as quickly, as her other series Maas did a wonderful job reeling me into this story. As I have said before, up until this book I had yet to read a story that really impressed me by using the themes from the original Beauty in the Beast. This book, by far, is the best compared to all the failures that I have read in the past, and let me explain.

First, this book never proclaimed to be a fairytale retelling of Beauty in the Beast. Once a book advertises that it’s a reimagining of a story, no matter what fairytale it is, you are guaranteed to upset a lot of fans of the original fairytales or the Disney versions. Disney was never the masterminds of their popular Disney Princesses, their stories came from all over the world from centuries before Walt Disney was ever even an embryo. However, these versions of the fairytales are what young readers are most familiar with, so many retellings will only retell the Disney version of the story, angering fans of the originals and angering other readers by their lack of originality. On the flip side, books the retell the original gruesome stories recorded a few centuries ago anger fans of the Disney films because the books are vastly different from what they were expecting. The Lesson: Don’t market a story as a retelling, in the end someone is always upset. A Court of Thorns and Roses never advertised that it was a retelling, but used some of the themes from The Beauty in the Beast, which in my opinion, allowed many readers, including myself, the ability to identify it as a totally different story.

Now, what themes from The Beauty in the Beast can be found in A Court of Thorns and Roses you may ask? Well the biggest is the forced imprisonment of the heroine Feyre. Her imprisonment is through no fault of her family, like in many previous stories, instead it’s her own punishment for a crime she committed. Now, I was a little disappointed that there was no mention of Stockholm syndrome, however, I was happy that it was not love at first sight and that the relationship within the story was a slow burn. Another major theme borrowed from the fairytale was the heroine’s ability to see past the superficial characteristics of “The Beast” and fall in love with his personality and who he was as a person. The last major element that the story used was the idea of a “curse” that transformed the love interest into the “beast”. However, I was rather impressed with how Maas used this theme but made it into her own thing. She ‘cursed’ her love interest, who already had natural beast-like characteristics, by magically fusing a mask to his face, allowing Feyre to see only the bottom half of his face. And the ‘curse’ the Maas crafted was a very clever one that wasn’t the easiest to guess at before she revealed all aspects of the curse to her readers, and there was no cliché idea of using a beautiful plant to count down the days until the curse was permanent. Other than those three major themes, the rest of the similarities that I found with the original were rather minor.

 

The rest of the story was brilliantly crafted by Sarah J. Maas. I loved how she started using faeries in her original series, Throne of Glass, and I was absolutely giddy with the faeries she used in this story. Many ‘fey’ that popular books use nowadays are very elfish or Disney Tinker Bell, some cases their a little larger. However, Maas uses faeries that are very similar to the ones found in Celtic and other Old European folklore. Her faeries are very animalistic, some being highly majestic while others being the things of nightmares. It was a lot of fun to try and imagine what these faeries looked like as she described them to us, and each species had their own unique characteristic and caste. I loved how dark the story got in places without being too terribly gruesome in the imagery and how she kept true to the relationships between the humans and the fey from the old legends.

 

I really didn’t know what to think of any of her characters at first, even the main ones, because they were all a bit rough in the beginning. However, over time Maas really fleshed them out and gave each of them distinguishing characteristics. One thing that I have noticed with Maas’s other series, is that she doesn’t just show character development in her main characters, a lot of the minor characters have taken great strides as well and this book isn’t an exception. The biggest character development that I saw, and that surprised me, was actually with one of her minor characters that ended up having a profound effect on Feyre. A lot of stories that I have read mainly focus on the main cast, which is perfectly fine because minor characters are usually made to be static and contrasting to the major characters. However, I’m always impressed when an author shows growth with their minor characters, whether they’re in a series or a single book, because they stick out better in our minds. Granted, a lot of characters stayed a bit static but Sarah J. Maas has at least another book to round those characters out if she wanted too.

 

The story itself was really fascinating to listen to. The author did a wonderful job building the story’s world, giving it some geography, lore, and history as well. Not only did she create a human world, but also a faerie world that included its own beliefs and traditions. A major development in the story even surrounded a celebration that was loosely similar to some of the old Celtic traditions. And a lot of the last part of the book played into some of the fey traditions and characteristics. Maas created two vastly different worlds that were only separated by a magic wall, one with the diluted traditions of the other. One thing that I noticed, that I found to be rather loud, was that the more animalistic of the two societies was also the most religious and bound by honor.

Final Thoughts:

I didn’t really have a lot to say about the characters themselves like I normally do, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. For instance, I fell in love with Feyre because she wasn’t a dandelion of a heroine, but a self-supported woman that was strong while not being too haughty to ask for help. The interactions between the characters were a lot of fun to listen to, but the thing that stuck out to me the most was how Maas really fleshed some of them out, even the more minor characters.

I labeled this as a New Adult book because Feyre is a lot older than a lot of Young Adult heroines. She also goes through a different stage of life and general obstacles that a lot of Young Adult books don’t get into right away. Also, the book has sex, which is occurring more often in newer YA books, however, this story goes into more detail but not as much as Adult books. It’s nothing major, but it was really awkward when I arrived to that scene while driving back to school one weekend. My face got rather hot and I was thankful no one was in the car with me.

If you really enjoy reading fantasy, especially with more old traditional faeries, then this book may be a lot of fun for you. The romance is a slow burn, once it gets going though it speeds up a bit, but not enough to make you sick. There is sex, but not a lot, so you’ve been warned. The story is also a bit darker in some places, just because the faeries are usually rather dark and cruel themselves. The world building in the story is rather thorough for the first book in a series, so if you enjoy reading the history and lore that influences the characters then you’re in for a treat. And if you’re looking for a book that isn’t necessarily a fairytale retelling, but still uses the themes from a popular fairytale then this book is right up your alley. Also, if you enjoyed Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, then you may enjoy this story as well. While A Court of Thorns and Roses is a different story from her original series, there are many similarities in writing style and story telling that I loved from the latter in the former.

Rating(s):

Audio: 4/5

I really enjoyed listening to this book. I haven’t been read to in a while so it was weird and disorienting at first, but I got into the swing of things pretty quickly. This story was great to listen to while taking long drives or doing a bunch of house work, just because it’s so long. Jennifer Ikeda did a fantastic job trying to capture the personalities of each character as they spoke. While it was hard for me, personally, to distinguish between the various male roles at first, she did a fantastic job fleshing out the characters with her voice.

Story: 4/5

Personally, I did not enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Maas’s first book, Throne of Glass. However, on its own, A Court of Thorns and Roses was captivating once the story picked up. I was fascinated by the lore she created and the faerie lore that she used, specifically naming some of the more common fey species. I enjoyed listening to the story and its characters, how they changed and interacted. I also enjoyed the mystery in the book. Maas liked to leave little bread crumbs until the big reveal, some of the mystery and riddles I was able to solve, other caught me by surprise though. All in all, a fantastic fantasy that combines the word of Faeries and some of the elements from The Beauty and the Beast.

Related Reviews/Books:

COMING SOON!!!

Book Review: Queen of Shadows

Queen of Shadows

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!

Details:

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

Pages: 648

Synopsis:

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!

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

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.

Final Thoughts:

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…

Rating(s):

4.5/5

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!

Related Reviews/Books:

Here’s another fantasy, while not quite like the Throne of Glass series, it’s still a dark fantasy to read!

Sea of Shadows