Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas – REVIEW
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.
“She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph.”
After enjoying Heir of Fire so much, I was eager to begin Queen of Shadows, and it didn’t disappoint. The main reason I thought this book was so good was the character development and the portrayal of the relationships between the characters. My favourite character has to be Manon, who is just fantastic. She is fierce, loyal, and an incredibly capable warrior, but it’s her questioning of the Matron’s values that provides the real tension. Her whole existence is called into question and she doesn’t shy away from that, which is pretty phenomenal. The Thirteen demonstrate a bond that is unusual amongst the Ironteeth witches, and I really hope Asterin especially gets some sort of happy ending. Plus, Abraxos has to be the cutest dragon ever and I want to see him in a field of wildflowers!
“And the smell-of pine and snow.. How had she never realized that Rowan’s scent was of Terrasen, of home?”
As for the other characters, I was impressed by Aelin’s increasing maturity and obvious intelligence. Despite my misgivings about Rowan, their relationship is characterised by sexual tension and he seems to be becoming halfway decent. However, I would like to stop here and express my intense dislike authors have of describing the scent of love interests. When do you ever meet a man and say “hmm, he smells exactly like pine and snow’?! It is just so annoying!
“Sometimes there won’t be a right choice, just the best of several bad options.”
I love the friendship between Aelin and Lysandra. It’s an example of a female friendship based on mutual respect and trust. Lysandra (who featured in The Assassin’s Blade) is a great addition to the story and I can’t wait to see what happens to her. Dorian was amazing in this book and so much more interesting. It’s refreshing to see how accepting he is of Aelin, and he has the potential to be a great king. I really hate Lorcan so far and I’m unsure of Elide who seems a little boring when compared to characters such as Manon and Lysandra. Since she’s human, perhaps she’ll show her strength in another way.
“Ten years of shadows, but no longer. Light up the darkness, Majesty.”
My main issue with this book was Chaol. He was an annoying prig to Aelin at the beginning of the story and didn’t improve much. His self-righteous behaviour was hard to stomach since he never really owns up to his own faults. He served a cruel king without question for years so he’s not exactly a great example of good judgement. I’m not looking forward to a whole book about him later this year but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that his character is redeemed somewhat. The looming threats and promise of unknown horrors set the scene for a potentially epic Empire of Storms.
Another breathtaking instalment in the series.
About the Author
SARAH J. MAAS is the New York Timesbestselling author of the Throne of Glass series: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms, and the series’ prequel, The Assassin’s Blade; and the Court of Thorns and Roses series: A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog.