Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, & Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
I’m going to include the first four books in this one post, so that I don’t drag it all out. I haven’t read the fifth book yet, but it is on my shelf. I’m waiting a bit till the release of the sixth book, so the wait doesn’t kill me. (Waiting for Sarah J. Maas books is seriously killer on me, I want to read them all right this instance!!) Let’s start with a brief overview of how I feel after reading the first four books! I love Celaena, she is badass and grows so much throughout the books! I love the world and all of the characters that have been introduced! I can’t wait to see what happens next and I love that it gets a little hot as it goes along, yes please.
So let’s start with book 1, Throne of Glass!
As this review goes on, there will be spoilers as I start talking about book 2, 3, & 4!! BE WARNED!
We meet Celaena, an assassin by trade who has wound up in a horrible labor camp that is basically a crime against humanity. She is freed from the camp in order to act as a champion for the crown prince, whom she immediately hates, because, well, obviously his father had her put in that camp. The king also runs the realm with an iron fist, killing all who oppose him without mercy or throwing them into the dreaded labor/mining camps, where rarely anyone lives longer than a year due to the brutal conditions. She’s hardened herself over the years, but still thirsts for revenge against those who have wronged her in the past. She’s a wonderfully complex character and a super strong lady, which I love.
As one can assume, there is also a love triangle to be had, which is almost always the case in YA. I must admit though, I didn’t favor one guy over the other this time, they were both pretty great dudes. They both appreciated her, it was wholesome and scandalous at the same time, which is a lovely combo. In rather sharp contrast to the romance was the brutal fighting during the tournament to decide the King’s champion. There is bloodshed, there is cheating, there is lying, and there are a lot of kick ass moments where ladies shine. Sweet, sweet wicked cool ladies. There is uncommon friendship, there is betrayal, there are near death experiences, and there is romance. Honestly, the book was a perfect blend that I almost couldn’t bear to put down and left me wanting to read the second book so badly that I literally Amazon Prime ordered the second, third, and fourth books immediately upon completion of book one. (I know Amazon is bad, but Prime delivery is just so good!)
The first book is a great introduction to the world, where magic has been repressed, where the fairies have fled, and where evil lurks somewhere just beyond reach.
FROM THIS POINT ON THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FROM BOOK ONE! FAIR WARNING!!
Book two picks up right where book one leaves us, the aftermath of the bloody competition to see who will become the King’s champion. Obviously, as one might expect, being that she is the lead of the series. Our hapless Celaena wins, but is probably the least loyal to the king that she can be. She keeps her walls up, being ruthless as ever, and her relationships with her friends are strained and kept at arms length. She is a damaged girl who has been through more than I could ever imagine, and it’s no surprise that she finds it hard to open up properly to anyone. She keeps thousands of secrets locked up inside of her, even if those secrets could cost her.
The second book is a whirlwind of action and more and more secrets about the world itself, and Celaena begin to bubble to the surface. I didn’t think I could have gotten more hooked on the series until I started reading this book. Seriously. Her relationship with Chaol is shaky as she still finds it hard to see how he can be loyal to such a rotten King, and he has to struggle knowing that she isn’t loyal to the King he serves, yet they still have strong feelings for each other and try to make it work. Her friendship with (gorgeous and lovely) Nehemia begins to cause her pain as she knows she can’t do much to help her friend, whose home is being attacked by the King and rebels are being sent to the slave mines, where they will certainly die.
There are so many revelations in this book, some I saw coming, and some that surprised me. It had me on the edge of my seat (bed, to be more precise) while I was reading and once again I didn’t want to put it down, even trying to sneak reading some at my desk while at work! (oops) Characters are changed through tragedy and layers are pulled back, revealing that not everyone is who you think they are. Obviously I had to read book three right away, I wasn’t going to wait around. I COULDN’T wait around! Not with that ending man, not with that ending.
TIME FOR SPOILERS FROM BOOK TWO AND ONE, SERIOUSLY! THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD! I’M WARNING YOU!
Everything has shattered, seriously. We start this book off with everything we know just shattered to pieces and Celaena is an angry, empty shell that doesn’t want anything to do with the world anymore. She’s stewing in her internal hatred of all things and would start a fight with just about anyone if they looked at her wrong. She blames herself for everything and hates herself with a furiously burning fire. Her secrets are out and now she’s in the land where she will be forced to come face to face with what she revealed herself to be back at the glass castle in a moment of life or death, which is part Fae. YEAH I KNOW! AHHHHH!
New characters are introduced, new romances blossom, and the evil becomes more and more obvious as it begins to mount to it’s finale. We get looks into more characters points of view during this book and more about the witches, which are introduced as another evil force in this world. The Ironteeth witches are intense, beautiful at times, ugly at times, and deadly all of the time. I loved reading more about them and learning more about the lore of this world, not to mention, more kick ass ladies. (since all the witches are girls, holla)
FINAL WARNING FOR SPOILERS, SPOILERS AHEAD FROM ALL THE BOOKS!
Celaena isn’t just Celaena anymore, now she has come into her true identity that she’s been hiding away all of these years. She was born Aelin Galathynius, and she is heir to the throne of Terrasen. She has also embraced a new romance that is better than all other previous romances and YES I AM ALL ABOUT THIS!! I’m loving this whole series especially with the parallel dialogues still going on between what’s going on between Aelin and the Ironteeth witches.
There is a lot of action in this book, lots of plotting, and lots of things begin coming to a head. It’s intense! It’s hard to talk too much about what goes in this book without spoiling how this book ends! But I will say, I LOVE the interactions during the witch chapters. The dynamic of the witch clans, how they interact, and how they are also dealing with the growing evil, is interesting. Manon Blackbeak is such an interesting character, it took me a while to warm up to her, but after the fourth book I was all about her and her thirteen. I love her struggle with how she perceives right and wrong. She is in a power struggle between the other clans and she also in a struggle with herself. She is one of the most interesting characters in my opinion and I loved watching her grow through this book.
Aelin grows a bit more in this book as well, and has her own battles, but I was more taken in by Manon’s narrative during the fourth book. I can’t wait to see how the consequences of everyone’s actions in this book turn out in book five! I have it on my shelf and soon I will partake in it’s marvelous pages, soon. If you like YA, romance, bloody battles, strong ladies, and fantasy then you should pick up this series! I don’t think you’d be disappointed in this series.