Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Featured imageQueen of Shadows is the fourth book in Throne of Glass series.  It has taken quite a few twists and turns in the four books. What I love about this series is that it keeps on surprising me.  I think I’m a pretty savvy reader but I totally didn’t see the big reveal at the end.  If you haven’t read, Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, or Heir of FireI highly recommend that you do.  I also recommend you read them before you read this review because SPOILERS!

(Editor’s Note:  Or lack of one.  Like the other reviews of this series, I didn’t have Kate look over it because I very much like her to read them without being spoiled.  Seriously, Kate you need to get on this!  Anyway, please forgive any mistake I might have made)I’m not even sure where to begin because so much happened.  Unlike Heir of Fire which was mostly a slow build up until the end and hell broke loose.  Queen of Shadows was action from the get go.  Caleana has fully embraced who she is, Aelin Galathynius, the Queen of Terresan.  Before she goes to claim her throne she has a few things to do first.  Like take revenge on her former Master, Arobynn, rescue her cousin, Aedion and save Dorian from an unspeakable imprisonment.  After the events of Heir of Fire, the world knows that Aelin is still alive though not many people know that she is the King’s Champion.  Meanwhile, Chaol has taken over a leadership role in the rebellion.  Guilt ridden over abandoning Dorian to his father to escape, he spends his time trying to save him.  Dorian, is now being controlled by his father, who has enslaved him to one of the Valg Princes.  Manon Blackbeak, is now the Wing Leader and chaffing under the rule of Duke Pennington in Morath and Aedion is trying hard to die in prison so he can’t be used a bait to trap Aelin.  And Rowan is left behind on Wendlyn because lets face it.  He totally stands out in a crowd.

Aelin has made quite transformation over the span of the books.  Yes, she still overly confident and full of sass but she is far more patient and thoughtful now.  When we first meet her, she is hot headed and works off emotions and instinct.  In Queen of Shadows she is far more cunning.  It may look like she is flying by the seat of her pants but it becomes clear that almost everything that happened, Aelin has planned for or orchestrated it from the beginning.  We are seeing what kind of Queen she is going to be and well, I think the people are Terrasan are pretty lucky.  Yes, she’s still a little blood thirsty but even her blood lust has a purpose.  The one thing that hasn’t changed is that Aelin is loyal.  She may have trust issues but as long as you are loyal to her, she will fight tooth and nail for you.

Aelin has many relationships with men in the series, ranging from romantic, friendship and kinship but truly only had one female friendship with Nehemia, who died in the second book.  So the introduction of both Lysandra and Nesryn were welcomed.  Lysandra, a former rival and protege of Arobynn, is probably the only person in the world that knows what Aelin has been through the last decade, as she also suffered through the abuse of their former master.  She is strong and fierce and knows how to play the game.  Nesryn, a guard and former lover/future lover of Chaol is also the no non-sense person that Aelin can respect.  They may have started our rocky but it was clear that they would be friends.  It’s nice to see girls have friendships and it not immediately be threatened that they both shared a romance with the same man.  Elide is a former childhood acquaintance of Aelin but they were never close.  She is now working as a slave for her uncle who stole her crown.  She, like so many, have suffered a lot under the King’s rule but she’s smart.  She knows how to play people.  I find her relationship with Manon to be very interesting and sorta ship it but I think that Manon’s looking in another direction.

Speaking of ships.  I’m sorry that Chaol and Caelena didn’t work out but I’m ok with it.  Chaol was in love with Caelena not Aelin.  Who knows what would have happened if they had met after she realized who she really was but we will never know.  I’m liking more and more Aelin and Rowan. I think they are a good fit.  They both understand loss and loyalty.  Rowan is also the only man who can match Aelin physically but also match her wit for wit.  I’m also ok with the fact that Aelin has had three love interests in four books.  Most people fall in love more then once in their lives and Aelin has changed so much over the series, doesn’t it make sense that what she wants or needs in a partner would change too?  I’m interested to see where things go with Aedion and Lysandra, Chaol and Nesryn, Manon and Dorian and Manon and Elide.

As for the big reveal at the end of who the real Big Bad is came out of nowhere but also makes perfect sense.  I won’t say more because I’m still trying to digest it and what it means going forward.  Let’s just say, it’s changed things.

There is just so much here to talk about. I really love this series and really excited to hear that it recently just got picked up for a TV series.  I think it’ll do nicely as a Game of Thronesesque series.  There is just so much here that a movie would never be able to do it justice.

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