Book Review – Queen of Shadows

23848145Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: 1st September 2015
Publishers: Bloomsbury
No. Pages: 646
Source: Purchased
Buy at: BookDepository

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 will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. 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.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Warning: This review may contain spoilers for Throne of Glass

I have really mixed feelings about this book.

Queen of Shadows picks up shortly after where Heir of Fire left off. Aelin is now back in Adarlan, she’s ready to shed her Celaena Sardothien persona and take out her enemies. I’m going to be honest and say I didn’t like Aelin nearly as much as Celaena. Which probably sounds strange since they’re the same character, right? Unfortunately, Aelin didn’t feel like the Celaena we’ve known and come to love in the past four (including the novella bind up) books. I know Maas says that Aelin and Celaena are basically two different people but the truth is they can’t be. Aelin has been Celaena since she was eight years old, which means that is the only personality she’s had. I understand if she wants to change and to become someone who her people would be proud to call queen, but completely dismissing the fact that she is, and a part of her always will be, Celaena Sardothien is just an insult to all of us who loved her.

Speaking of OOC characters lets talk about Chaol quickly, because there’s been a lot of heat towards Maas about how his character feels very different in this installment too. At the end of Heir of Fire Chaol appeared to be at a place where he was slowly learning to accept the things he feared/didn’t understand (i.e. magic). However, in Queen of Shadows it felt to me that Chaol’s character development had gone down the drain. I was expecting some sort of closure between Chaol and Aelin but we didn’t even get something close to that. Instead they spend the majority of the book bickering like children over silly things. They’re both blaming each other for everything awful that’s happened to them. They have so much anger and hatred between them and it feels like it’s come out of nowhere. They were both at completely different places at the end of Heir of Fire compared to where they start off in Queen of Shadows. You’ll probably be surprised to hear that I actually like Chaol’s character more after Queen of Shadows, for two reasons: 1. He was still incredibly loyal to Dorian (He was hellbent on finding a way to save him) which I personally believe is a very important part of his character and 2. In contrast to every other character in the book, who were bending over backwards for her, Chaol wasn’t afraid to call out Aelin when she was being awful.

There will be slight spoilers for Queen of Shadows if you continue reading

I’m not a Rowan/Aelin shipper, I was happy with their platonic relationship but Maas decided to go and turn it into something romantic. Rowan also felt slightly OOC for me, and I think more people haven’t commented on this because they haven’t known him as long as Chaol and Aelin. Rowan’s no longer the stony, badass, fae warrior, he’s now a horny teenage boy who spends most of his time fantasizing over Aelin. We had enough Celaena/Aelin obsessing in the first two books, we didn’t need anymore. At this point, the reader already knows how badass, flawless and beautiful Aelin is – we aren’t going to forget if it’s not mentioned in one book. Rowan wasn’t the only one who followed Aelin around like a lost puppy desperate for attention – both Aedion and Arobynn did too.

I also want to mention now that it feels like Maas has replaced Dorian and Chaol with Aedion and Rowan as Aelin’s two main guys – I preferred the original.

Maas also introduced a new love interest for Chaol, Nesryn Faliq. They’ve got history that I feel like was created just to make people more accepting of the ship. That being said, I do like Nesryn and I’m open to see where their relationship could be heading.

I think the thing that annoyed me the most about this book, and the reason why I disliked Aelin’s character so much, was because she wanted to kill Dorian. I’ve mentioned before that Dorian is my favourite character, so I was pretty angry every time she mentioned killing him. And then in the end when they did finally save him, I felt like Aelin was taking too much credit. It was Chaol who spent most of the book trying to find a way to save his friend, not you Aelin.

Another thing I really didn’t like was the twist to do with the King of Adarlan, I felt like it was kind of a cop-out and a convenient way to continue the series. In all honesty, the ending of Queen of Shadows did feel like a concluding novel of a series.

I feel like this review is filled with negatives, so I’m going to briefly mention some of the things I did like – because there were a few.

I loved the development of Aelin and Lysandra’s relationship. If you’ve read the novella’s you’ll know they’ve come a long way. I also really like Lysandra’s character in general.

Manon’s character development and her interactions with Elide. Also, the inevitable meeting of Manon and Aelin.

Arobynn’s downfall, I’m probably the only one who actually liked how this played out.

When Dorian was finally rescued. His reunion with Chaol. The scene where Dorian, Aelin and Chaol are having a moment (It reminds me of the earlier books and I really missed that).

Overall, I had a lot of problems with this installment but I’m not losing faith in this series – I’m still excited for book five to come out.



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