Book Review: Queen of Shadows

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Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: Bloomsbury, September 2015
Pages: 645
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Read more about it on Add it on Goodreads
4 out of 5 stars
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Celaena Sardothien has returned to Rifthold, with one thing on her mind: revenge. She wants the King of Assassins to pay for what he did to her beloved Sam and for what he put her through all those years. But there’s more than one villain in Adarlan, the other being the King himself. Preparing to unleash a vicious army on all those who oppose him, Celaena/Aelin must plot to end his tyranny and free her people.

Where do I start with this book? It was most certainly a rollercoaster of a journey. First of all I should start by saying that I was extremely nervous going into this book. It started as excitement and that excitement didn’t entirely disappear, but after hearing things about Queen of Shadows, I wasn’t so sure I would like the direction it seemed to be going in. Then I started the book and well… Nope, I did not like the direction it was going in.

My main issue with QoS is that after falling in love with this series – mainly the first two books – and being fully on board with the relationships formed in the first two books, I just couldn’t wrap my head around the changes that took place in QoS. It made me grouchy and I’m desperately trying not to reveal any spoilers here, but when two certain characters were thinking romantically about each other, I just wasn’t invested. I can get on board with the friendship, be besties all you want, but I just don’t like that this particular change has taken place. Also, Rowan and Aedions alpha male, protectiveness issue is a little annoying – tone it down guys!

Celaena: I was feeling a little frosty towards her in the beginning. I can’t even refer to her as Aelin, which is what she goes by now; I know it is her actual name but I prefer to call her Celanea – I’m slowly coming round to it. What I noticed was that she seemed a bit colder to me in the beginning and what annoyed me was that she seemed to give up on Dorian so quickly; she has had to fight for everything for most of her life, so why do you think this will be any different? It won’t be easy, but you fight for him, damn it – just like Chaol is trying to do. There was also one more issue that I had, which ties into something already mentioned, but I don’t want to reveal any spoilers.

Despite the beginning though, I grew to like Celaena once again. Sarah J. Maas takes you on a journey and by the end I admired Celaena once more. During part of the book, I was screaming for Celaena and Chaol to have a heart-to-heart and was so happy when they actually took the time to really talk to each other. This was a key part of the book for me because I needed them to really talk to each other – I want so much more though, but I suppose I will just have to be satisfied with this. “We do not look back Chaol. It helps no one and nothing to look back. We can only go on.”

Speaking of Chaol: I love his dedication to Dorian. A moment must be taken to say how absolutely beautiful their friendship is. I was brought to tears on occasion. Being a Chaol fan I was pleased to see he still featured quite a lot – if I could, I’d have him present in almost every scene, but well, that’s not going to happen. It was nice to see his character development also, instead of just Aelins (yes, I’m switching to Aelin now. I suppose I should). Team Chaol always!

As took place in Heir of Fire, there are chapters featuring Manon and the other witches; just like in HoF, I didn’t immediately like these chapters, but they grew on me and I am now officially a Manon fan – I’m sure there’s a warm beating heart somewhere in her and not just ice. Watching her journey is one of my favourites because in someways she has furthest to go. One moment that I found deeply moving was a scene between Manon and Asterin – it brought me to tears. The introduction of new character Elide I liked and I love how it shows what a softie Abraxos is. I want a wyvern please. And omg, what a fierce team Manon and Aelin would make – that so needs to happens.

It would be very easy to continue going on about characters, however I will just say what a surprise some characters were; you will honestly come to maybe grudgingly respect a couple of characters that you would never expect to.

Moving away from the characters, Sarah’s writing must be mentioned: it was gloriously epic in places. One small example being: “‘What do I do?’ She had to swallow before she said, ‘You light up the darkness.'” With QoS, it feels as though there has been a shift, but – as is a theme in the book – change happens. It was almost at times more like reading a Sanderson book – and I don’t say that lightly – but it’s possible that the  length had something to do with this. Just like Sanderson is so accomplished at, Maas has weaved a truly intricate and clever story together – I feel as though this is the most intelligent book in the series, if that even makes sense? The way in which, slowly, secrets and details are revealed to the reader is wonderful to read. There were plot twists that I truly did not foresee and it was a pleasure to read and marvel at the intelligence.

Although, I do have small issues with certain relationships, I do love the journey that QoS takes the reader on, with all it’s intricate details and clever writing. I look forward to what else unfolds in the lives of the characters I have come to love.

Some quotes that I loved:
“Manon climbed into the saddle and was glad to lose herself in the sky.”

“You know, I’m really rather tired of being called that. You’d think five centuries would give you enough time to come up with something more creative.”

“I would fight with tooth and claw to get to her. But there are lines I would not cross. Because I don’t think I could face her if…if I couldn’t face myself for what I’d done.”

“Humans were remarkable. To be able to survive without leaning on magic…He had to give them credit.”

“It did not seem like a weakness to fight for those who could not defend themselves. Even if they weren’t true witches. Even if they meant nothing to her.”

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Okay, let it all out: who else is disappointed by certain relationships in this book? What did you think of the book as a whole? And what is your favourite book in the series?

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: Queen of Shadows

  1. I was not happy with QoS AT ALL (as evidenced by the 2 stars I gave it). I hate paranormal romance, so that was an automatic drawback for me. I also don’t understand how we went from Celaena going on and on about how much she loved Chaol in HoF to…this. I don’t know why there are two more books planned, since the two big deaths already occurred (and Celaena wasn’t even the one to kill them!!). Really, the only things I did like about the book were Manon and Dorian’s potential.

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    1. Woah, Maraia, you really didn’t like it, did you? 😉 Yes, I also don’t understand how she went from loving Chaol so much to what’s going on in this book, but I do like that she still cares for him. SPOILER FOR OTHERS READING THIS. There’s still Perrington to defeat and his army. I don’t mind that she didn’t kill them, as she was there when the king died and the other characters are also important so this was okay for me. It’s sad that you didn’t enjoy it. Maybe you’ll like the next one more…

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      1. Eek, sorry, I didn’t mean to be so intense, haha. I really think ACOTAR ruined SJM for me. I don’t think I can handle another 1500 pages, so I’ll probably just read spoilers for the next two books. 😀 I actually do think it was fitting that Dorian was the one to kill the King. The main reason it bothered me was because she also didn’t kill Arobynn. I guess she was too busy trying to seduce Rowan with her skimpy lingerie to actually do something USEFUL.

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      2. No, don’t be sorry. 🙂 Haha. The way Arobynn was killed was more clever and Lysandra was well placed to do it undetected. Lysandra also had a score to settle with him and maybe part of Celaena couldn’t quite bring herself to do it… They seem to like to wind each other up 😀 Their banter is quite funny. I think I will always be mourning the loss of my OTP Celaena and Chaol.

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  2. I love the series and the books. But I agree with the romance. There were times where I didn’t feel like I was reading about Aelin’s thoughts because it just didn’t feel right. They make great friends, their bond is tight and I like it, but going further than that… I’m not ready to accept that yet lol

    I was honestly hoping she would get back with Chaol ever since she left, but then they wouldn’t talk to each other and with Rowan there it didn’t seem possible. Idk, maybe Maas has something up her sleeves that’ll make us think she’s a genius for doing it.

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