Queen of Shadows – Sarah J. Maas

Title: Queen of Shadows
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: September 1st, 2015 (Bloomsbury USA)

Synopsis: 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.

I’m finally back to this series re-read with most of this year’s books on my TBR complete, and this is probably the book I’ve been looking forward to rereading the most in the Throne of Glass series. Queen of Shadows is my favourite, second only to Kingdom of Ash, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, picking up on a lot more this time around that I’d skimmed through previously. On with the review, and of course, mild spoilers.

Following the events in Wendlyn, Aelin has returned to Adarlan, having embraced her true identity with the aim of settling some old debts, being Celaena Sardothien one last time, before she can finally claim her throne. But first, she plans to free her cousin Aedion who has been imprisoned by the king as a way to capture her. Then of course, there is also the matter of Dorian, who is trapped within his own mind by the Valg prince who is slowly consuming him. Having fought the valg before, Aelin knows that killing the host is the only way, but Chaol refuses to accept this and continues to believe that Dorian is still in there and can be saved without killing him.

“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.”

I absolutely loved Aelin in this book. Over the past three books, we see many different aspects of her and all these have melded together to form a truly fierce and determined queen who will reclaim everything that was taken from her over the years – and do so in style. The early books, Throne of Glass in particular, may have been a little dull in comparison, but to fully appreciate what Aelin has grown into and her amazing character arc, those books are necessary. And to think that this is just the beginning!

I also want to note that when I originally read this book, I’d just finished The Assassin’s Blade (and needless to say, was pretty much in floods of tears), so Aelin settling her score with Arobynn Hamel was undoubtedly one of my favourite parts of this book. What rather irked me was that she didn’t do it herself – I do understand the reasoning behind letting Lysandra do it, but I was really looking forward to that particular showdown. This was also the book where I started to find Manon’s chapters slightly drawn out and Elide’s too were much less exciting in comparison, but it was much better on the second read (still not that exciting though), now that I know exactly how important Manon and Elide are going to be going forward. Manon and Aelin’s interactions going forward promises to be entertaining however. What was more interesting though, was Asterin’s backstory and surprisingly enough, the reappearance of Kaltain, whose path has taken a very dark turn indeed, and the very unexpected choices she makes.

And Dorian – with his POVs being few and far between, the only glimpses we get are his state of mind as he struggles with the monster who has taken over his body, continuing to fight against it and refusing to let it destroy him completely – undoubtedly the most upsetting and heart breaking chapters in the book, as it really doesn’t seem that there is a way out of this for him.

“Behind them, across the hall, the dancers shattered
their roses on the floor, and Aedion grinned at his
queen as the entire world went to hell.”

Aedion is probably my favourite new character in this book (though he was technically introduced in Heir of Fire). It was wonderful that he got his own POV this time around which really drove in just how loyal he is to Aelin and what he is willing to go through for her. Their reunion was so beautiful! The revelation of his father was quite the surprise and I’m really looking forward to that particular meeting!

In contrast to Heir of Fire, which was a rather emotional read, Queen of Shadows is a completely wild ride that can only be described as epic, and that’s without even getting into the battle at the end! I loved how the book ended on such a hopeful note with Aelin coming home to Terrasen after all those years despite the chaos that is poised to unfold in the following books. Now then, time to clear my schedule so I can read Empire of Storms!

“They joined hands.
So the world ended.
And the next one began.”

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series:


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