Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. MaasQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Published by Bloomsbury Children's on September 1st 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 648
Format: Hardcover
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bol.com
Goodreads
five-stars

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.

What I thoughtQueen of Shadows what have you done to me?! I once again waited reading this… I’d preordered it (duh) and when it arrived I read the first chapter, which broke my heart, and didn’t pick it up until 3 months later. I know, stupid silly me. Because this book was brilliant! It was perfect. I didn’t think I could love the characters even more, but I DO. MUST HAVE THE NEXT BOOK, NOW!

Wrapping my head around certain plot changes

I’ll jump right in, there are a LOT of things happening in Queen of Shadows and I’m going to keep it vague because I don’t want to spoil anything for you. What I do think is quite obvious is that things are changing, in a big way. I had to wrap my head around this, ships were changing, but in the end I think I can say that I am on board where things are going. Obviously I can’t say too much, but what I can say is that there are (as in Heir of Fire) multiple pov’s in this book. And these characters start playing a bigger role and their paths start crossing. Take Manon’s story for example, she confused me at first (especially in HoF) but she’s become one of my favorite characters. She has SO MUCH depth, and I think it’s so interesting what is happening in Queen of Shadows and I love where it inevitably is going.

Celaena, Aelin, continues developing

Okay, Aelin was a bit cold and too harsh in the beginning. I only started understanding this after we learned what happened ‘in between’ Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows. Some things happen that cause her to act this way, but this is only touched upon a few times. Don’t get me wrong, I still admire her, she’s still every bit as badass, clever, and strong as she is in the previous books, but I felt like she should’ve fought for her friends as they have fought for her. She gave up on them and was a bit too harsh towards them at time. So BOY AM I GLAD she started to mellow a bit and changed her attitude. Her heart to heart with Chaol was a key part of the book. So important to come to terms where the plot was going as well.

Sarah J. Maas, the Queen of Writing

Sarah J. Maas put Queen of Shadows together so masterfully. As always, her writing is absolutely gorgeous, a joy to read, but she also put the story together so freaking amazingly. Slowly revealing details, peeling back layer by layer. Plot twists were killing, heartbreaking, and so freaking exciting. I am obsessed with this world, its characters, and THE WHOLE STORY.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!

LOTS of things are changing in Queen of Shadows. Ships are shifting, characters are developing, and while I had to wrap around my head around these changes, Queen of Shadows was everything I hoped it would be and more. Heart-wrenching and another wild ride from beginning to end. It made me laugh, it made me cry. Great character development, complex relationships, AWESOME plot, and BEAUTIFUL writing. Any chance I can read the next book early?

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas | Book ReviewHeir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #3
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 2nd 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 565
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads
five-stars

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

What I thoughtYou have no idea how long I have been waiting for this book. Or maybe you do, because you’ve probably been waiting just as long, and just as impatiently. So when this book finally arrived on my doormat -two weeks after publication date (I’d pre-ordered it a long time ago, so the late arrival was so NOT cool)! My reaction must have been something like this:

Happy

As you all know, I am slightly OBSESSED with this series. And as I am still reeling after reading Heir of Fire, I am warning you in advance that this review will -probably- contain some fangirling.

In this book we learn even more about Celaena. We learn more about het backstory and get to see a whole different side of her. We ALL know Celaena is a badass, this we already established in the first two books, but it was so fascinating (and incredibly heart-breaking) to see who she is behind all those layers. In Heir of Fire she is confronted with her past and she can’t really hide from it anymore. We learn how she wrestles with her past and struggles with who she was before tragedy struck her family, and it made me love her all the more.

Another thing I loved? The new characters that are introduced. For starters: Rowan! Boy does he have the ability to kick some serious butt. As the story progressed I fell in love with his character. He’s just, GAH! (I might have developed a teeny tiny crush… Oh, who am I kidding, I developed a HUGE crush on Rowan) Emotional overload! OH AND AEDION! Whom I thought was a bit of a pompous ass at first, but grew so much on me throughout the story that I just couldn’t help but like his character (like his character a LOT). And Manon, the witch. I thought her POV was very strange at first, and I didn’t really get why she had her own chapters, but after a while I just didn’t mind it any more. The story came together and everything just clicked. Last, but not least, there’s Sorscha. Who’s incredibly cute and I very much enjoyed reading about her.

Heir of Fire was the first book where Chaol, Dorian, and Celaena aren’t in the same place anymore. Literally. They’re all on their own journey and it gave every character the possibility to develop more. I adored how the friendship between Celaena and Rowan developed, he challenged Celaena in a way that Dorian and Chaol couldn’t. Because of him, she developed  both mentally and physically, and it was wicked to read about. It was one of my favourite aspects of this book. Also, I loved reading about Dorian and Chaol. View Spoiler »

THAT ENDING! Please let me fall into this really LONG sleep, and wake up when the next book is out… Because I just can’t deal not knowing what happens next! I don’t even know why I am surprised… Sarah J. Maas does this EVERY time! She has this way with words and I keep reading and reading and then when I’ve almost finished the book – BOOM. So incredibly frustratingly awesome! But as much as I love her for it, I just really need her to take pity on me and hand me the next book!

Final verdict IRISJEXX!I loved everything about this book. From the old characters to the new characters and EVERYTHING else! The ending about killed me (as did the previous books…) and I’ll probably have trouble functioning for a while, but it is so worth it. If you haven’t started this series yet? GO READ IT! Everybody needs this series filled with awesomeness in their lives!

 

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas | Book ReviewCrown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on August 27th 2013
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 420
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads
five-stars

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

What I thought NEW

“I worry because I care. Gods help me, I know I shouldn’t, but I do. So I will always tell you to be careful, because I will always care what happens.”

This book! I am so enormously grateful to my friend Kim, who pointed (or rather pushed) me into the right direction and made me read this book. While Throne of Glass was a book I finished in no time at all and utterly fell in love with, Crown of Midnight managed to be even more badass! There was more action, more character development, more surprises, more complications, more sexy, and a huge I-never-saw-it-coming twist.

Celaena was just goddamn badass. There, I said it. There’s no way I would ever mess with her! She became the assassin I expected to see in Throne of Glass, but only got glimpses of. She was even more fierce and more ruthless, and I can honestly say that I’ve never met a character like Celaena Sardothien before. She’s lives up to the title of Ardalan’s  assassin, and as the King’s champion she’s even more ruthless than before. Her confidence and self-assured arrogance is as present as it was in Throne of Glass, as is her flirtatious sense of humour. She’s brutal and never fails to live up to her title. The best part of all, is that despite all the severed heads and bloody scenes that made my skin crawl, she’s still the character that ate near a half pound of candy in the morning that I fell in love with in the first book. She’s so much more than a killer with a pretty face. And as her relationships with Nehemia, Dorian and Chaol develop and grow more intense, it is hard not to like her. I felt for her through the entire story, as did I respect her and wanted to shake some sense in her (though I’d never dare to do so, because I like my head attached, thank you very much!). She truly is one of the best characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about and she manages to evoke all feelings you need to feel while reading this book.

And then we have Dorian Havilliard and Chaol Westfall. Where I had no preference in the first book, I started leaning more towards the Captain of the Guard in the sequel. Though, if I’m really honest, I have to admit that I have huge crushes on both of the guys. They each have their part in uncovering the true Celaena and they are characters equally lovable. This series has some of the best characters I’ve ever encountered. Between the characters mentioned above, Fleetwoot’s presence, and a non-living thing that has the uncanny ability to speak, the characters and all their quirks and interactions make this series as epic as it is.

The plot carried some revelations that I never saw coming, and jaw-dropping plot twists that changed the outcome of this story. The plot and the word-building was just out of this world (yes, that good!). We learn a lot about Erilea, Adarlan, and the history of the country, and also delve some deeper into the Fea magic, and magic on itself.

There are really no words for how much of an impact Crown of Midnight has influenced my love for this series. While it was in my top 10 after reading Throne of Glass, I am very pleased to say that it now moved up to first place. Within the fantasy genre, this is the best read I’ve ever read. Its the best fantasy world, with a somewhat darker atmosphere, a lot of mystery, magic, and above all amazing characters!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas | Book ReviewThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on August 7th 2012
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 404
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads
five-stars

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

What I thought NEWRemind me again why I didn’t read this book sooner? Lately it seemed that I was the only one that hadn’t read this book yet. Everybody kept raving about it, and boy did I feel bad for not reading it… So I ordered myself a copy (which I should have done when it first came out!) and can finally talk about the total awesomeness that is Throne of Glass!

When you throw an assassin in a story, that’s bound to have me hooked. So when you throw in Celaena (aka the assassin) as a main character, that’s going to leave me with a book hangover! She was just that awesome! A perfect bled of badass, stubborn and girlish. One moment she’s plotting to kill everyone around her, and the next she’s like a little kid eating one and a half pound of candy in the morning.

If you follow this blog regularly you’ve probably seen me write, again and again, that I love strong and badass female characters. Celaena was all that and more. She just has this sheer determination, wit, and so much strength as a character that it makes me want to pound my fist in the air. She is a quick thinker and her knowledge of all the many ways to kill somebody is quite scary, but also fascinating. She knows who she is, and she doesn’t pretend to be anyone else than herself. While she is an assassin, she’s also surprisingly girlish. That side of her leads to quite some hilarious scenes that had me guffawing. She’s playful, sarcastic and unashamed about really anything she says. Her love for dresses, and unashamed love for candy make her seem almost childish in a way. While she came across a bit arrogant at times, it all just added to her charm. She is, without a doubt, one of my favourite female characters ever!

While the synopsis screams Love Triangle, I have to say that it didn’t quite read like one to me. We have the Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall, and the Crown Prince, Dorian Havilliard, both important characters in the story. However, while it didn’t read like a love triangle to me, I can easily see it developing into one. While I have the feeling that I’ve gotten to know Dorian best. He was more open, and flirtatious I might add. Chaol didn’t fail to leave an impression. There were brief glimpses of humour and personality coming from underneath that hard exterior. Both men play an important role in the story, they’re both appealing and I grew to love them more and more as the story progressed. I think this is actually the first time that I don’t have a personal favourite. Both are amazing characters and I look forward to see where this is going.

With such strong characters it is so easy to lose yourself in a story. The world created is so entrancing. Magic and the mentioning of Fae makes me anticipate what’s going to happen next. There are so many things going on besides the primary plot! The depth of this book is amazing! While quite a few things are left unexplained, for instance, Celeana’s past is mostly left unaddressed. Her past is probably going to be a little bit dark and I am anxious to know more about it. I am ,however, positive that these unexplained parts will be addressed in the books to come. Overall this plot was very gripping, it had action, intrigue, mystery, and the right amount of romance.

This was such a good read! I am going to get myself the sequel right away, as well as going to get to the bottom of the e-novella’s I saw available for purchase. This book was every bit as awesome as everyone has been telling me for so long! A truly captivating read, Crown of Midnight here I come.