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. (From: Goodreads)
Actual rating: 5+++ spectacular stars
Wow, just wow. This is my most favorite book among the Throne of Glass series, including those novellas. All I can say is that the entire series got more and more intriguing and the fighting scenes took the brutality and bloodshed to a whole new level. Because of the magic elements, even though the means those main characters used were extremely cruel (duh, typical Sarah J. Maas’ writing style); the casualty and damage they caused were incomprehensible, and the aftermath was hard to endure, this book still fascinated me from the first page throughout the ending.
Let me start with a brief, non-spoiler review here.
As usual, the story was written in a third-person POV, but this time, we could see the whole picture through several characters’ eyes, such as Dorian, Chaol, Aelin, Manon, and even Rowan, to name a few. I gradually got used to this sort of presentation and Sarah managed to express the various emotions perfectly with different protagonists. As for the story, so many things happened in this single book and most of them were amazingly unexpected to me. You never knew what they were going to do, what plans they had in mind, or how their strategies would map out. Honestly, I was overwhelmed with endless curiosity, high expectation, and unbearable excitement while flipping pages after pages of this book. The author always kept the secret for a certain mission and you would figure out what was going on only when you’ve experienced them by yourself later. I mean, it was the tremendous anticipation that drew my attention to all the trivial stuff they did.
My favorite part of the story. You would meet our previous acquaintances from the first to third book, but you would also make new friends here. What surprised me most was the witchlings. I didn’t particularly like them before, but in Queen of Shadows, OMG, they were AWESOME! In a nutshell, some of the good guys before turned out to the evil demons, and some of the bad
people or should I say…”creatures” ended up to be the best characters I’ve ever read so far. I really love the dramatic transformation in them. After all, it was a weird combination of Fae, Demi-Fae, Shapeshifter, the Valg Princes, dark forces of magic, and humans. Hence, nothing seemed to be a surprise when magic and immortals existed, right?
Well, I don’t think there was a specific ending in this book because as you know, 2 more sequels are waiting for us! So basically, there was a cliffhanger in the end. Need the 5th book…RIGHT NOW!
Overall, Queen of Shadows was a brilliant sequel to this series and Sarah never failed to reveal much more shocking truths with the flow of the story. Anyway, go pick it up or start this series right away!
I’d like to share
some all the impressive moments/scenes for me in this book, so take a deep breath, and here we go!
There were several incredible characters I’ve come to love in Queen of Shadows. The most obvious one was the Witchlings. To be honest, I didn’t have a good time(not really) reading their story in the previous sequels, but much to my astonishment, Manon Blackbeak and her Thirteen were extraordinarily awesome. So did Elide.
Manon changed a lot in a single book, from that obedient, heartless, brutal Wing Leader(who daren’t disobey her terrible Grandmother, aka the High Witch) to this considerate, pragmatic, sympathetic “young lady”. All thanks to our beloved Asterin and Elide. If Asterin didn’t tell Manon her deeply buried secret that she used to be ashamed of, she would never understand what it was like to feel something so…desperate, so human.
Moreover, if it weren’t for Elide’s hopeful
pep talk speech, not in a million years would Manon ever consider the possibility of hope. Never knew that either the Queen of Terrasan or simply Elide’s hometown, Terrasan, was the only thing kept her fighting, living, and clinging to. Perhaps with a little help of magic made her hope came true. Who knows?
The story of the Witchlings won’t be complete without mentioning one of my favorite creatures, the wyverns! Actually, I just want to introduce the cutest beast I’ve ever seen, Abraxos, to you. He was Manon’s flying taxi, and also the smallest, friendliest,
weirdest among all of them. He liked WILDFLOWERS! And ELIDE! He acted like a decent man(well, most of the time, except suppertime…), thought like a human, and even had feelings like us. Just go see how he got along with Elide.
Suddenly, the animals went silent, and the leaves rustled and whispered. A moment later, thirteen great shadows passed overhead. One of them—the smallest—lingered, sweeping back a second time, as if in farewell.
Also, Lysandra and Kaltain turned out to be one of the admirable heroines for me. I’ve always hated Lysandra because of her relationship with Arobynn and the horrible way she treated Celaena(when she was still Celaena). But the author once again made a brilliant twist in the plot, allowing her to be someone full of badassary and all that energetic vibe. The moment she received the small note from Aelin, writing simply 3 words, He’s all yours., and what she truly done after that made my mind blow! Seriously, Lysandra!? Since when you became so
helpful interested in an assassin’s job? Wasn’t it supposed to be Celaena Sardothien’s assignment? Anyway, you killed it, girl. No wonder Aelin would ask you something like this:
“There’s one more task,” Aelin said, holding the box out to Lysandra. “You’ll probably hate me for it later. But you can start by saying yes.”
“Proposing to me? How unexpected.” Lysandra took the box but didn’t open it.
Since they successfully rescued Aelin’s long lost cousin, Aedion, they spent quite a long time together in this book. I wasn’t really familiar with him but I guess I like him. Although I couldn’t remember anything impressive about him, all I could think of was his demi-fae status. Believe me, those with Fae blood flowing in their veins possessed a certain level of charisma
that almost made all the ladies flock to them. LOL.
She gazed at the closed bedroom door, as if she could still see the prince and queen inside. “That,” she said, more to herself than to him. “That is what I am going to find one day.”
“A gorgeous Fae warrior?” Aedion said, shifting a bit.
Furthermore, Duke Perrington’s marionette, Kaltain, behaved utterly unpredictable. The author lured you into believing she was manipulated badly and even harnessed a lethal weapon called shadowfire, but the truth was shocking. Her sacrifice was necessary and by doing so, she not only saved lots of innocent denizens but fulfilled her own vengeance in the meanwhile.
As for our favorite “queen”, Aelin Galathynius, she was as stealthy as she used to be, but with everyone around her made some incredible changes, she was no exception. I think she was more mature in her ways of dealing with important tasks, and she could empathize “her people” at the same time. She’d grown into a smarter woman, and no longer that spoiled, ungrateful girl. I’m so relieved that she eventually knew the consequences along with possible risks when she planned something huge.
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.
Besides, she was her own Champion and she was going to rattle the stars anyway. She was still that bold the last time I checked.
In my opinion, this book is an excruciating torture for Team Dorian. I mean, almost 90% of the book was from the evil Dorian’s perspective with a devious Valg Prince dwelling inside him and wielded his dark force under the control of his father, the King of Adarlan. Despite the fact that we knew the real Dorian was still fighting consciously but trapped in his body, every time he was coerced to kill someone, beat someone, or kneel helplessly at the presence of the King, that wasn’t him at all. And it agonized me to watch him like that, regardless of my little likeness for him.
“What if we go on,” he said, “only to more pain and despair? What if we go on, only to find a horrible end waiting for us?”
Aelin looked northward, as if she could see all the way to Terrasen. “Then it is not the end.”
Before we talked about the OTP in this book, I have a teeny, tiny complaint here. I think most of you have the right guess of whom I’m going to grumble about: Chaol.
At first, I knew for sure he’d be happy to see his former lover, Celaena(if she was still her) after living without her for months, but things never went smoothly the way they were supposed to be. On the contrary, he started blaming every unfortunate, disastrous incident occurred in Rifthold on her, and even worse, calling her a monster. He really didn’t have a right to make that call at all! I hate the way he dealt with their relationship; it seemed like she meant nothing for him because she played Aelin Galathynius after her return from Wendlyn. I mean, just because she decided to reveal her true identity as Aelin the Queen doesn’t mean she wasn’t that Celaena he used to love. Although I also didn’t like that Aelin wanted to bury Celaena Sardothien six feet under, Chaol’s irresponsible reaction was what pissed me off most. Mercifully, though Aelin was heartbroken and hurt after his rude behavior, she at least tried to think another way, a better, supportive way for her own good.
But perhaps the monsters needed to look out for each other every now and then.
Last but not least, I finally get to talk about one of the best couples in this series: Rowan x Aelin!
It wasn’t until nearly half of the book that Rowan Whitethorn, the gorgeous Fae-Warrior-Prince came to Adarlan; partly because the magic was banned there, and partly because Aelin told him not to come with her. Their reunion was so beautiful, yet they had tons of hilarious banters from then on.
“Why are you crying?” he asked, trying to push her back far enough to read her face again.
“I’m crying,” she sniffled, “because you smell so rutting bad my eyes are watering.”
In spite of Aelin admitted that she missed him dearly when she was there alone, Rowan still put his poker face—that stone cold expression—on and even told her any affection would only become a burden, a weakness; thus, it was apparent that he didn’t miss her at all. Well, we’d see if that was true later. By the way, I loved his new hairstyle! Undoubtedly, it’d make his form as a white-tailed hawk more handsome.
“Hush. Your hair was so pretty. I was hoping you’d let me braid it one day. I suppose I’ll have to buy a pony instead.” She cocked her head. “When you shift, will your hawk form be plucked, then?”
However, it was hard for a male to control himself when an irresistibly young female slept next to you every night, wearing one of those ridiculously sexy nightgowns, and tried her best to keep a healthy, proper distance from you, Fae or not. As a result, Rowan EVENTUALLY
erased blurred the invisible line between them!
Rowan touched her elbow. Gods, his self-control had to be in shreds tonight; he couldn’t stop making excuses to touch her.
Yay! He didn’t let Aelin down in this book. AT ALL.
And the feeling was mutual. Aelin never failed to tell him what she thought. Never.
“You make me want to live, Rowan. Not survive; not exist. Live.”
That was just the beginning of their blazing, passionate love story.
“Just once,” she said. “I want to kiss you just once.”
Every thought went out of his head. “That sounds like you’re expecting not to do it again.”
Whoa. I didn’t expect anything more than pummeling each other in the face or beating the other up when it came to Rowaelin in the 3rd book, but it surprised me by how far they’d went in their relationship. My favorite scenes were Rowan’s confession to her. Sweet. Heartwarming. Genuine. Swoon. Perhaps a wee bit romantic.
” I kept thinking about how you might never know that I missed you with only an ocean between us. But if it was death separating us … I would find you. I don’t care how many rules it would break. Even if I had to get all three keys myself and open a gate, I would find you again. Always.”
I knew you would find her no matter what was separating you from her, Rowan.
Here comes the BEST quote I love in Queen of Shadows:
“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.”
Lastly, (I’m finally able to wrap up my extremely long review now!) I honestly think Rowan and Aelin are meant to be a perfect match because they’ll find the way back TOGETHER. Just as their promise in Wendlyn:
P.S. Thanks for reading this super long review(I know you’re exhausted by the time you read this. Sorry for that! :P) and I appreciate your attention a lot! I always have a splendid time here on Goodreads and I hope you feel the same, too. Happy reading! 🙂