Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Book #4 in the Throne of Glass series
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
Format: Purchased Hardcover
As this is the fourth book in this series, there will most likely be spoilers.
Also, this is a really long review.
From Goodreads: 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 will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. 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.
Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.
This book tore my heart out, ripped it to shreds, mended it back together, and let it soar.
I cannot express the amount of feelings I had throughout this book, but I can tell you some of what I felt: anger, annoyance, passion, love, betrayal, triumph, fear, curiosity, and more.
I felt that this book is definitely the best in the series thus far, and there’s still two more books to go… I don’t know how my heart is going to handle it.
Let’s start with the character development and world building, both of which exceeded my expectations.
The character development was nothing short of promising and amazing. Not only did Aelin (Celaena) go through some major changes, but several of the other characters such as Manon, Lysandra, Rowan, Chaol, all went through some sort of change at one point or another. Each developed at their own time and speed, and from the first book to now, the characters have grown into their own skin, have grown as individuals, and have just become so magnificently part of this story that I couldn’t imagine it without them.
The world building in this book continues to grow as we got introduced to Morath, the mountain in which the King of Adarlan is building an army to conquer the world – but not just any army: an army of demons. And he does it with the help of the Witch clans. But not only do we get a lot of time spent at Morath, we also get more development into Rifthold and how it’s changed since Aelin went to Wendlyn and came back, and how things have kind of gone down hill. The end of this book promises more of Terrasen, and I can’t wait to see what it’ll be like there.
The plot continued to follow what the main points of the series talk about, but there was so much more. So much I just don’t even know where I could begin to explain what happened.
Okay, let me talk about some individual characters:
Aelin Ashryver Galathynius is the most badass woman in this story. Mind you, she’s not the only one, but she still kind of takes the cake. She started with just wanting to wipe out the King, but other factors kept piling in as she learned Dorian was under control by a Wyrdstone collar that allowed a Valg demon prince inside of him; that the rebel forces Chaol is leading is struggling just to rescue people; that her cousin, Aedion, is imprisoned in the castle. Her plans changed, but not entirely. In this book Aelin grows so much as a character as she battles not only with the obvious enemy of the Valg soldiers, but also the game she and Arrobyn have been playing for a long time now, as well as her own assumptions and opinions she once thought to be true. But in this book she grows and breaks those barriers, shattering Arrobyn at his own game, befriending someone she never thought she would, and learning what it means to be strong and believe in oneself, and in others.
Rowan! My dear, sweet Rowan came back and I was so, so happy. He wasn’t the stickler of a commander anymore, but rather Aelin’s friend and protector, their blood oath connecting them in ways I knew that MY SHIP WOULD SAIL. Ahem. He is the badass male to Aelin’s female and I loved him so much in this book. He was a fierce protector, loyal companion, and we got glimpses of the story from him and I love his trains of thought and how he wrestles with how he should keep his distance from Aelin, even though he doesn’t want to. He made me laugh more than once at some of the things he thought or said and I was happy to have read some bits from him. I’m interested in seeing how he is in Aelin’s court and what role he’ll play.
Aedion Ashryver is just so… brotherly! I love him to bits and I want him to be my friend. He may be a big pain in the butt to Aelin sometimes, but he’s still so fiercely loyal and protective that I just love his interactions with Aelin and how they can fight like siblings and make up like siblings and it’s just, well, a much needed relationship, I think. He can provide that sort of comfort for Aelin that only a family member can provide, but he also knows when to take that step back and to just let things be and let his queen take care of herself.
Dorian was trapped by a Valg prince for the majority of the book, and I just… I felt so bad for him! He went through so much at the end of Heir of Fire and now he was being trapped and abused by this demon and… ugh! I was so sad. And then there were some glimpses of him a few times and I had hope! I really want to see his part played out in the next book.
Chaol was a royal pain in the ass. Oh my God, he pissed me off so much during the first half of this book. I don’t know what his deal was but wow, I wanted to punch him so much whenever he interacted with Aelin. Both of them acted like spoiled brats whenever they talked to each other, even when one tried to be the bigger person. I understood he was under a lot of pressure being on the run and trying to free people who were being captured for wielding magic before the ban and whatnot, but wow. I was also interested in finding out more about his past before Aelin and oh my, I’m definitely intrigued to see where that goes. But during the latter half, he kind of went back to being the Chaol I liked, but not quite. I was shocked about his condition at the end, though, for sure.
Manon was still cruel in this book, but the others around her, especially her Thirteen (specifically Asterin) and a servant girl, Elide, really started to crack the shell around her heart and she actually started to feel some other emotions other than hatred and bloodlust. I really think that she had some of the best development because not only was it the slowest, but there was a promise for greater things to come and I can’t wait to see where she’s at in the upcoming books.
Speaking of Manon… when she and Aelin meet? YES. Super awesome battle scene.
There were other characters that I was surprised of, that were introduced, or that were fleshed out more such as Kaltain, one of the ladies of the court that were dragged to Morath; Lysandra, the courtesan that’s been at odds with Aelin forever; Elide, the quick-witted servant girl for Manon; and even the King of Adarlan had a surprising bit in there. I was thoroughly surprised.
Now this isn’t to say that this book didn’t have its flaws (more spoilers):
- I felt Rowan could have been more useful other than just having such strong feelings for Aelin. I wish I could have seen more fight scenes with him, less restraint, and more of that warrior Fae prince I’ve come to know and love. (Not that I didn’t love the feelings, but more would’ve been awesome.)
- I wish Arrobyn’s death would have been grander. He deserved it and I’m glad who did it, but I wished for more talking and whatnot.
- I felt like it was almost too easy to just let the King of Adarlan be possessed the way he was. Like, I really wished he was that cruel. Who knows what actually happened?
I am excited to see what happens in the next upcoming volumes because now we’ll be facing new enemies, new lands, new ways of life, and I’m really, really excited to see what happens.
In this book my heart was ripped out and sewn back together; there was amazing friendships, romance, adventure, death, destruction, discoveries, and so, so much more.
If you couldn’t guess, I rate this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.