I don’t see this review turning out too well considering Queen of Shadows is one of my favourite books of the year (it’s in my top three and that’s all you need to know) and I have discovered that I am entirely unable to be coherent when I talk about this book. Expect fangirling and capslock throughout.
First thing’s first, Aelin’s the realest. AELIN. I loved her in Heir of Fire but if there’s another level of love like the alleged several levels of hell then I have surpassed all levels and reached the pit. I’m talking pure adoration and worship. That is how much I fell for her in Queen of Shadows because she is one of the strongest women I have ever read about and I will never let go.
Aelin has been through so much and I cannot believe she is only nineteen because she wise and strong and a queen and a figurehead and I just want to be Aelin, guys. She is an inspiration.
I’m so glad that I read The Assassin’s Blade recently because I had Aelin’s (or, technically, Celaena’s) background fresh in my mind and I was all about it.
This entire book was so fucking intense, I can’t remember the last time I felt this way about a book. Maybe The Martian, because reading Queen of Shadows totally felt like I was running on a limited oxygen supply while stranded on another planet and about to die at any moment. THE ENTIRE BOOK IS PRECARIOUS.
Then there’s Rowan. ROWAN. I was ready to not hear much about him at all considering Aelin left him behind in Heir of Fire *sobs* because he wouldn’t have magic in Rifthold *weeps* and it would have been too dangerous and obvious *keels over and dies* BUT ROWAN WAS PRESENT SOMEWHAT AND OH MY GOD MY SHIP IS SO LEGIT GUYS AND I AM IN LOVE WITH ROWAN EVEN MORE NOW HE IS A PRECIOUS PRINCE AND NEEDS TO BE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS AND MY OTPPPPPPPPP.
Once again, I was NOT a fan of Chaol. Never have been, never will be. Chaol is an absolute arsehole who pits the blame on other people when really he should be looking at himself, or GASPSHOCKHORROR the actual bad guys who have oppressed and abused people for decades. But no, this puny little piece of shit likes to go around blaming people for shit they haven’t done.
ANYWAY, I hate Chaol, but… BUT the way his character ended up… I’m intrigued. I actually find myself looking forward to Chaol related storylines in the future because of reasons. I will never, ever like him, but I’m pleased with how things ended for him. Because. Reasons. Spoilers. Etc. I also loved that he was less present in this book, and I think it gave me a well deserved break in order to gather my senses and stop wanting to slit his throat at first sight.
ALSO ALSO ALSO, Manon!!! I struggled a bit with her chapters at first, like I did last time, and I think that’s because we kept getting dragged out of Rifthold and I just wanted to spend some time with my queen. But Manon’s bits were epic anyway and the WYVERNS and also Elide, a new character, and certain other Blackbeaks’ storylines were heartbreaking. Manon’s character arc is freakin’ awesome.
Speaking of character arcs, Queen of Shadows really is all about that. So many characters are growing and changing and coming to terms with things and learning and this book was one giant CHARACTER ARC OF AWESOME. Aelin, Rowan, Manon, Chaol (*hiss*), Lysandra, Aedion, Elide, and SO MANY OTHERS GO THROUGH SO MUCH AND CHANGE IN SO MANY WAYS THAT I CANT DEAL. SJM really loves these characters, guys.
I adore how everything is coming together as well. So many threads are being brought together and so many things are coming into play. You can tell that a fuck load of thought and planning has gone into this series. I said in my video review that it feels like a George R R Martin series due to the sheer scale of it. This series and this world is becoming mahoosive, and when I realised that it hit me like a fucking tidal wave. Seriously. So many characters are currently going through so many arcs and experiencing plot points and they’re all related in some way and some things are like a bloody butterfly effect and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Sarah J Maas is rivalling Brandon Sanderson with this fantasy series and that takes some doing.
Sarah J Maas is actually becoming an absolute legend (LIKE THE QUEEN OF TERRASEN MHMMM) and every book of hers improves on the last. I said in my Throne of Glass review three years ago that it was an average YA fantasy and “I might continue with the series but I won’t rush to buy it”. I only read Crown of Midnight because Judith pushed me into doing it. And then Heir of Fire happened and got me hooked on the series. But Queen of Shadows got me hooked on the world and made me fall head over fucking heels with the characters and their journeys. How did I last this long without loving them? I don’t know. I now need to go back and reread the entire series so far so that I can get my dose because I swear to god, after Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows, the Throne of Glass series is the most addictive drug on Earth right now.
I don’t know what else to say about this book because it’s just flawless in every single way and while I have no problem repeating myself over and over again, I feel like I might lose your attention at some point. So, as is now tradition with my Throne of Glass reviews, I’m going to leave you with some quotes and some gifs. You should probably experience the actual book before you read these quotes, because context is everything.
Also, ROWAN AND AELIN AND MANON AND DORIAN AND QUEEN OF SHADOWS AND LYSANDRA AND EVERYONE IS FUCKING AMAZING AND I WILL CRY FOREVER OVER THESE CHARACTERS WHO HAVE FINALLY, FINALLY STOLEN MY HEART AND I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL NOT SURVIVE THIS SERIES.
If you’re a monster, I’m a monster.
She was a whirling cloud of death, a queen of shadows, and these men were already carrion.
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.
[spoiler]You make me want to live, Rowan. Not survive; not exist. Live.[/spoiler]
“It’s Aelin now,” she snapped as loudly as she dared. “Celaena Sardothien doesn’t exist anymore.”
There were two men in this city responsible for destroying her life and the people she’d loved. She would not leave Rifthold until she’d buried them both.
I spent centuries wandering the world, from empires to kingdoms to wastelands, never settling, never stopping—not for one moment. I was always looking toward the horizon, always wondering what waited across the next ocean, over the next mountain. But I think … I think that whole time, all those centuries, I was just looking for you.
But she was her own champion now.
Elegant, feminine, and utterly wild. Warm, and steadfast—unbreakable, his queen.
She moved like a midnight storm. Whatever training she’d had in Wendlyn, whatever that prince had taught her … Gods help them all.