Queen of Shadows Review
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
This book was soooooooo much better than the others in the series!! I'm so happy I finally like one.
Would I read it again? Sure. It wouldn't be a painful read at all (as long as I maintained my almost skimming pace).
I actually FELT what the characters were feeling this time. Each and every one of them (except for Manon. I really don't like her storyline. I'd honestly prefer for her to be cut from this series pls and thanks).
So many times I had to stop and go "AWWW" or sigh. The feels, man. The feels.
I had such low expectations after all the other books. Thanks for all my goodreads buddies for making me persist through the series.
Maybe this series is like twilight? You enjoy reading the first, the middle ones suck, and you're back to enjoying the final ending of the saga.
One of my favourite moments was at the end:
"Dorian said, 'So here we are.''The end of the road,' Aelin said with a half smile.'No,' Chaol said, his own smile faint, tentative. 'The beginning of the next'".
HOW DARE YOU, MAAS. THAT TORE ME APART.
Of course there's so many other quotable scenes in this book, but I'll leave like other 3 people in the world who haven't read this book to unearth that on their own.
I guess this is a super positive review because I literally groaned in reluctance when I finally picked up this book from my beside table. I really, really didn't want to waste anymore time on a series I wasn't enjoying. So hooray! I really liked this one. Celaena (or should I call her Aelin?)'s character development was so much better in this book.
I'm gonna be honest; not a lot of significant action scenes. The only remotely action useful to the plot was at the end, involving Dorian. Which, by the way, somehow reminded me of the rushed ending of The One by Kierra Cass. But with more demonic possession and less … love triangley business.
Speaking of cringe worthy, forced love stories; let's talk about Rowan.
Maas, I've said from the beginning, your books have been so original for the badass, feministic approaches to the YA high fantasy world.
So when I saw in Heir of Fire that Rowan and Ae bonded in such a sacred way, which has been so strongly emphasised as platonic; I honestly trusted you to create a refreshing, uncliche friendship between the opposite sex.
So you can imagine my feelings of betrayal when we suddenly have them separated for like, less than a month, and suddenly they're like; "I CANT LIVE WITHOUT YOU; OH ALSO, I WOULD V MUCH LIKE TO BE NAKED WITH YOU ALL DAY LONG. AND I LOVE YOU. HAVE A MENTIONED THIS IS LOVE? YEAH, WE R SUCH ROMANTIC BUDS NOW."
I don't think I'll ever recover from that. They're not too bad, but cmon, man. I thought I'd finally found the YA novel, with a decent opposite sex friendship. I thought since you'd already attempted (KEY WORD; ATTEMPTED) the cliche love triangle, you'd be over it.
And this is why the series over all disappoints me. It's evident across the entire fan base that Celaena wasn't a believable assassin. So that crosses off powerful protag as well as decent action. But if you also fail at the romance, having the most unoriginal plot twists thought the series??? Then HOW am I supposed to appreciate this to my full extent? This, for me, proves this series is way too overrated. I think it were to be turned into a movie franchise, it would be very successful. There's so much dialogue and set up given to make it an easy movie production, and usually in movies it's easier to dismiss cliche plots. The movie platform would be perfect for ToG.
The other reason I discovered why I was disappointed holistically with this series is how unrelatable (?) ALL the characters are. Celaena is an obvious example, I've read several reviews who mention issues surrounding her characterisation. I, personally, cannot find any of the following male characters (there's not a lot of female characters in this series??) relatable, including; Chaol (the lil shit head he was for the entire series I s2g who would resonate with him???), Dorian (who had character until he was suddenly unimportant to the storyline in books 2-3), and Rowan (he's either super angry or horny at Aelin and although I feel frustrated at Celaena; sexually frustrated, I am not).
Best relationship development (nope not Rowan sorry); Lyda and Aelin. But Maas a trend for this in literally all her characters from ToG:
Initial impression: "oh wow I want to kill u, u r my biggest enemy"
*moderately intense moment occurs*
Post- trauma: "wow we either are in love or bffs lets walk across the beach while the sun sets yay"
But really; I did enjoy this story way more than the others. I would probably reread the first and last one. I would hate to ever read Heir of Fire again.
Chaol's storyline was an emotional rollercoaster and Maas, I've gotta admit; you effectively made me hate him for a loooooong time. But the ending (I shan't spoil) made up for it. Just a little, but enough.
I really don't see how the series can progress, but I'll probably read it (once it's in the library-- I will never pay for this series). I'm dreading reading the prequel, but I'm hoping the writing style is at least decent for me to skim over. Like in this instalment.
My last point is I think this should be classified more onto the New Adult side. There's so much swearing (and I'm not one to one super sensitive to swearing, I'm pretty sure I've sworn at least twice in this review-- but it was way too strong for a YA novel). There's also (albeit, what I find as weak) graphic action and other topics that I either flinched at or at least begged internally to be reclassified as NA.
On a happy note, I did really like this book. I read it in about 2.5 hours. On average I can read 200 pages/hour. I DO NOT SKIM READ USUALLY. For this series, technically I skimmed. Some pages I flew over because it WASN'T EVER USEFUL TO THE PLOT. Too descriptive, not entertaining enough.
If you didn't enjoy the other instalments (particularly 2&3), give this one a go. The writing magically gets better, and the characters are somewhat loveable.
"And at long last, Aelin Ashryver Galathynius was home."
PS; I admit I sorta found Aedion x Rowan with more chemistry than Rolin (if that's there ship name??
PPS; I hate how Aelin's twin brother is called Aedion. Authors that write twins to have similar names need a reality check (even for their fantasy novel): Twins usually have very different names. They do no have matching names. There are no benefits besides cuteness factor in naming your twin children similar names. This also didn't add to the plot whatsoever, in extension most likely confused many initial readers like myself tying to navigate this very unclear world. It was hard enough with the map (*eye twitch*, see my Heir of Fire review to know what my problem is) so why make characters have similar names????? Like I said in my Sweet Peril review; name your characters uniquely so they are distinct.
I'm happily ending this book, and glad it's on a high note! I wish Aelin would have a consistent love interest, and secretly I want her "dear friend" Dorian to reunite with her. I wouldn't be terribly effected if she stuck with Rowan (though I'd still be a lil hopeful til the end of time for Dorian to be with her).