Rating: 5 STARS
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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.
Okay, so this took me forever to get to, even though I had been obsessively stalking Goodreads and Pinterest and every other possible outlet relating to this series. But . . . college. I had college, and my education overrides my desire to do nothing but wake up, eat, read, repeat. (At least this is what I tell myself as I remember how much I am paying for said education to get a degree that has absolutely nothing to do with my love of books.)
So speaking of which, I currently live in an apartment on my campus with some other girls, and one of these girls has this habit of saying “WOW” every time we finish watching an episode or movie on the TV. It doesn’t matter what it was we were watching or if it even ended in a cliffhanger or anything, but she will always, without fail, say “WOW” in the cutest manner you can possibly imagine.
I was basically doing this at the end of every chapter of this book. “WOW” was my new favorite (and only) word during the duration of this novel.
Aelin comes back?
Aelin confronts Arobynn?
Aelin is badass?
Rowan shows up in all his glory?
Aelin being heartbreaking and badass and amazing and sexy and inspiring and an assassin and a queen and HIS FREAKIN’ FIREHEART!?
(Personally, I would like to point out to all you Choal and Dorian shippers that I TOLD YOU SO.)(MWAHAHAHAHAH.)
Okay . . . I’m done.
I think Heir of Fire is still my favorite of this series so far, but Queen of Shadows is a very close second. The reason being that Heir of Fire had so much magic and fae and, well . . . and Rowan Whitethorn. Sooooo . . . no competition, really.
Don’t get me wrong – there is much, much Rowan action going on here. There are many Rowan and Aelin scenes going on.
There are also bathtub scenes.
(Rowan may or may not be a part of these scenes.)
I think the only problem I encountered in this book seems to be the same thing everyone is having trouble swallowing. And that would be the unabashed three-sixty Choal’s character took here.
He becomes so bitter and angry and points the blame at everyone but himself for where Dorian is now and why the world is the way it is now. He blames Aelin for not being there when everything went down in the last book, Heir of Fire, and basically takes every hurtful thing he could possibly say to Aelin and shoves it all in her face.
“If you’re a monster, I’m a monster.”
The amount of unjust there is overwhelming. because while Choal blames everything on Aelin – even the things that she had absolutely no control over – he isn’t really trying to make anything better himself. At least when Aelin messes up or looses someone she loves (*coughSamcough*), she doesn’t roll over and die or blame anyone else. No, Aelin gets back up and plots and schemes and gets her revenge. She takes the broken pieces of her soul and pieces it all back together to make herself stronger.
“Sometimes there won’t be a right choice, just the best of several bad options.”
To be fair, I never particularly liked Choal to begin with. He and Dorian never did anything for me, personally, and the only reason I gave either of them any real thought was because I expected Aelin to end up with one of them. But I never really cared all that much. All I care about is Aelin. (And now, Rowan, thank goodness.)
If you had asked me after the second book who I preferred, I would have said Choal. Because while I don’t care about him and never did, I did not hate him, either. But now . . . now there isn’t much of a redeeming factor.
It was like Choal’s character was taken and made into the most unappealing character imaginable, and I felt that it might have been a little overdone.
I don’t know. But, again, this whole aspect of the book is so minor to me that it had no impact of my overall rating anyways. I’m rating this book for Aelin, not Choal.
I need to talk about Arobynn now.
It’s no secret that everyone hates, loathes Arobynn Hamel. I think I can confidently say that we were all just waiting for Aelin to go back just so we could see her kill the man.
However, I was very happy with how all those scenes with Aelin and Arobynn were handled. Personally, I didn’t know what I was hoping for, but I got it nonetheless.
While Arobynn Hamel is a despicable character, has been one of two people who have caused Aelin the most pain in her life – both emotionally and physically – he is also the man who rescued Aelin and raised her. And he may have raised her in the most bloodthirsty and brutal way possible, but he also made her strong.
But mostly, this is still the man who raised Aelin, who taught her most of everything she knows. And even though Aelin may hate the man – as she should – there will still be that little bit of her soul that won’t want to kill him. He deserves death, of course . . . but Aelin may want to give him one last chance, one last chance for her to get rid of him without having to kill him. Because she will kill him without hesitation, gladly, but she’ll offer Arobynn the chance he never gave her: to run.
I admired this about her. Aelin knew exactly what was going to happen, what Arobynn was going to say, what he was going to plan, but she still had the inkling of hope that he would prove her wrong, even after all this time and after all the pain he has caused her. Because ultimately this is still the man who raised her, the man who she wanted nothing more than love from when she was growing up.
I understand that.
There was just a lot of great relief in this book for me. The right people die (finally!) and even though things are far from over, Aelin in back, and she’s breathing fire.