Things are getting real for Calaena, Chaol, and Dorian and they have new friends too! Just like my review of the previous book, Crown of Midnight this review will contain spoilers! Spoilers from this book as well as Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. So if you haven’t read any of them and don’t want it spoiled for then don’t read any further.
(P.S. Usually Kate and I edit each others posts before they go live but since I want her to read this series I didn’t ask her to take a look. Please forgive any errors I might have made.)
Now that is out of the way, let’s get started.
The worst thing you can do or say to someone who has gone through a traumatic event or suffers from PTSD is say get over it. Move on. I feel like this is what people have been doing to Calaena through out this series. Granted, some of it has been unintentional, as the most of the characters don’t know who she really is and what she has been through but still they have to have at least guessed that she has been through something truly terrible. I mean, she did live in a slave encampment for a year. Intentional or unintentional, it’s still not helping Calaena. In Crown of Midnight, Nehemia orchestrates her own death to spur Calaena into action. The result only sent her into a deeper depression and feelings of guilt. Nehemia may not have meant to pushed her friend to the edge but only give her the push she thinks she needs. You could see Nehemia become more and more frustrated with Calaena through out the book. It’s clear that the plan to take down the King is dependent on both Calaena and Dorian. Dorian had just discovered his powers and was even less ready to take on his father so Calaena is the one that needs to make the first move but Calaena was being pretty adamant that she has no interest on being a rebel. At this point, I suspect that Nehemia knew who Calaena really was and what she represented and could achieve. It’s understandable why Nehemia would be frustrated with Calaena’s attitude. Especially when her own people were struggling but her drastic action to me showed how truly little she understood her friend. I think Nehemia thought Calaena was just being stubborn and spoiled and didn’t really understand all the demons that Calaena carries with her. While the end result may have been what Nehemia wanted it could have easily gone the other way and it almost did. Heir of Fire is all about Calaena confronting her past before she can move forward and considering all that she has been through and all the guilt, anger and rage she has it will not be an easy fix. Calaena is in in Wendlyn, a country across the sea that magic still exists and why it’s assumed that’s why it has so far has fought off the King’s invasions. Calaena is there because Chaol convinced the King that Calaena could assassinate the Wendlyn royal family, sending the country into chaos and making it ripe for invasion. What he hoped was that she would be able to find a way to run away and be safe there as she is half fae and the fae still live among the Wendlyn people is relative peace. Unfortunately, he didn’t discover until after she left that she was the thought dead Princess of Terrasan Aelin. The one person who could bring down the King and his Kingdom and the cousin to the Wendlyn royal family. He just sent her to possible allies. Oops. When we meet up with Calaena in Wendlyn she is in a deep depression. Still reeling from Nehemia’s death and the last words she said to her, coward. She has already decided that she couldn’t carry out her mission for the King but maybe she carry out her promise to Nehemia and free her people. However, self loathing and guilt has lead down into depression and she can’t bring herself to do anything but drink. Soon she is found by Rowan, a warrior in the service of Fae Queen Maeve who she hopes will bring her to get the answers about the Wyrdmarks, Wyrdkeys and Wyrdgates she needs. No it won’t be that easy. Maeve won’t tell her anything or let her into city until Rowan feels she is ready and that means Calaena must master her powers. Her powers that frighten her. All her life she has been frightened of her powers because they are so powerful that she has never been able to control. Training is brutal as she and Rowan butt heads with each other but in the end they are who they both truly needs. They both have past that they have never truly dealt with and because of that they understand each other in a way that no one else can. Her chapters were the toughest ones to read because I could feel her pain and her resistance to letting herself remember her past. Her pain is so deep rooted in her that wasn’t going to be fixed over night. It is far easier to dwell on the negative thoughts then to forgive herself. She has had ten years of guilt, rage, hatred, fear and self loathing to build up walls and it was going to take time and patience to tear down and well those are two things that the characters don’t really have abundance of. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I even at times thought to myself, Calaena move on already, we get it that you are in pain and that there are things you can not face come on but then I chastised myself being insensitive and get back to the story. She deals with all her pain a little bit at a time as she should have. It is painful and long but necessary. Not a luxury that all characters get and while she is probably not fully healed by the end she had come to enough of acceptance of her past for her to embrace her future and her real identity as Princess Aelin.
Meanwhile in Adarlan, both Chaol and Dorian are a little lost in what to do now. Chaol knowing what he knows is finding it hard to serve the King so blindly or uphold his bargain to his father and return to Ainelle and Dorian still has all this magic that he has no idea how to control or how to hide it. Chaol, who is takes up looking for information on the Wyrdmarks where Calaena has left off. This leads him to Aedion, a General from Terrasan who has a brutal reputation for bringing down rebellion in his home country. He is also Calaena’s cousin, not that he knows that yet. Chaol becomes wary of him when he notices he is wearing the same ring as the King so he investigates. He finds out that Aedion has been working against the King for some time and that they both could be useful to each other. Chaol has information on Aelin that Aedion needs and Aedion could be what Chaol needs to make sure Dorian stays safe. So Chaol starts to help the rebels but he still sort of playing both sides. He may not like the King but Adarlan is still his country so he’s not prepared to strike against it. Where does his loyalties lie? Dorian is dealing with unexpected power. He is having trouble controlling it and if he can’t control it then he can’t hide it and then he’s really in trouble. He meets Sorcsha, a healer who has already been apart of the story but not named until now. She helps him by making a tonic to help suppress his magic. They fall in love, which is dangerous for her for more reasons then Dorian knows. Their friendship has been changing the last couple of books but it is truly fractured here. The secrets and fear they both have is making it hard for them to talk. Chaol has been working to keep Dorian safe but he’s a little afraid of him. His whole life he has been told to fear magic and not only does his best friend have it but so does the woman he loves. And Dorian feels betrayed that his best friend is keeping secrets like he doesn’t trust him and also is afraid of him. It’s natural that friendships to go through up and downs, especially under these circumstances but I missed their bond.
I sometimes get annoyed when authors introduce characters later in books. Especially since the new characters take up the narrative (and taking away from the characters I love) but the new characters were blended in seamlessly. Both Aedion and Sorscha were mentioned in previous books either in passing or were already for part of the story, just not mention by name. Rowan and Manon, a witch, are new but the seeds for their arrivals had already been planted. They add new dimensions to the story and also help give us glimpses to the world outside of Adarlan. There is so much more at stake then just the drama between Calaena, Chaol and Dorian. There are other countries, nationalities and races that have a stake in what they do. It definitely raises the stakes and pushes the story forward instead of bogging it down. Manon is a witch who’s clans have been enlisted by the King to help with his invasion. After they have the war for him, he will help them break the curse so they can return to their homeland. Her chapters shows the depth of the King’s plans and how far he will go to win. However, I think the King is going to find out that Manon and her Thirteen are not going to be as easy to manipulate as the others.
This series just keeps getting better and better. I get more and more intrigued as to where it’s going. Yes, at times I have guessed what’s going to happen but I feel like that’s almost intentional. It makes the twists and turns that much more surprising when they happen. It has sort of a Game of Thrones feel to it and like GRRM, Miss Maas has no problem killing characters off in the most gruesome and violent manner. Of course, now that I am all caught up with the series, I now have to play the waiting game. Unlike GRRM and Game of Thrones, I only have to wait until September to find out what happens next.