Book Reviews

Review: Queen of Shadows (Sarah J. Maas)

Review: Queen of Shadows (Sarah J. Maas)Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens on 01-09-2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 656
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series contrinues Celaena's epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

SPOILER ALERT: As Queen of Shadows is book 4 in the series, there will probably be spoilers for Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire.

Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Readability: ★★★★★

The storyAs in Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows has multiple plot threads and point of views.  We see Aelin, Rowan and Aedion in Rifthold, Dorian in the glass castle, Manon and her Thirteen in Morath, and obviously we also get to see more of Chaol too.  While I enjoyed all of the threads, Manon and the story at Morath was probably my favourite thread in Queen of Shadows (I didn’t see that coming either!).  Queen of Shadows isn’t a small book, but I was hooked by it, and I happily read it in just under a week.  As always, Maas sent me on a rollercoaster of emotions, and it felt like every five minutes I was telling Matt “This happened and it was awesome” or “Oh! Listen to this, it’s so sad” or giggling out loud and getting strange looks.

The characters
In Heir of Fire, I fell in love with Manon and her Thirteen, and Queen of Shadows just reinforced that love: I still love Manon and I adored learning more about Asterin and some of the other witches.  We met new characters in Queen of Shadows too, and the biggest additions are probably Lysandra, Nesryn and Eilide.  While Eilide and Nesryn are perfectly interesting and likeable enough, Lysandra is clearly the show-stealer: she’s an awesome character in her own right, and her interactions with the others are priceless.

While I loved most of the characters, I did have a few concerns, mostly that I felt like Aelin became a little less likeable and Chaol felt like a stranger at times.  I’m also a little confused by Rowan and Aelin’s mental communication: maybe I missed something, but I didn’t think it was true telepathy so much as reading a lot in glances, but if that’s the case, there were times they read too much in a look for me to find it truly plausible!

And of course, it’s difficult to talk about Queen of Shadows without mentioning the relationships.  Queen of Shadows seems to have absolutely polarized readers and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that a lot of those strong feelings probably come about from fans of different ships.  With so many different ships, there was absolutely no way Sarah could please everyone, so I wasn’t particularly surprised when I didn’t adore the way the romance went. I did feel like the romance was a little heavy-handed at times, and I wonder whether that was perhaps to satisfy the ship fans, or try and convert non-fans.   I found myself occasionally frustrated with endless male posturing and dominance, and I think that almost certainly contributed to my love of the Manon storyline.  Having said that however, I still loved the book, and although it wasn’t the ship I’d have chosen, it did grow on me so I definitely don’t think you should let negative reviews put you off reading!

final thoughts

I said in my review of Throne of Glass that it wasn’t a book that had you hooked only for the storyline, or only for the characters, and that remains true even now: Maas manages to combine epic storylines with great pacing and a cast of characters that you wish you could meet in real life (even if they might be a little intimidating!).  Where some books sometimes feel like wonderful characters, fantastic world-building or gripping plots are ‘making up’ for another area which may disappoint, the Throne of Glass series genuinely feels like it does all three areas well.  I debated back and forwards for a long time whether to give Queen of Shadows four or five stars – I definitely didn’t think it was perfect, I found the romance frustrating, and I found both Aelin and Chaol a little less likeable.  On the other hand, Manon and the Thirteen’s story was brilliantly addictive, I adored Lysandra and learning more about Asterin, and the story sent me on an emotional whirlwind.  It took me a long time to decide, so in the end I took a step back and just thought about what a four or five star rating truly means – four stars means I really liked it, and five stars means I loved it.  At the end of the day, despite my issues with Queen of Shadows, on the whole, I loved it (I’d have loved it enough for Manon’s thread alone), I’ll happily re-read it, and the series is a favourite, so for me, that makes it a five star read.

Buy it? This one is definitely worth buying from my perspective!
In a nutshell: Not perfect, but nonetheless an epic, emotional, gripping read that I didn’t want to end.

Other Reviews of Queen of Shadows: Not another dumb blonde | Alexa Loves Books | The Perpetual Page-Turner (This one has spoilers but if you’ve read the book it’s well worth reading this review for Jamie’s perspective on the ship!)

1 thought on “Review: Queen of Shadows (Sarah J. Maas)

  1. As usual, lovely, lovely review Faith^^ I had a lot of fun chatting with you about QoS so I was looking forward to reading your review. Like you, I wasn’t 100% behind the jumping ships, but in the end, I ended up completely sold…mostly. A part of me does still wish for the romance from CoM and I still think that that’s how Maas intended it to go down initially. Anyways, the world, as always, sucks you right in, the action is always solid and there is SO MUCH to love about these characters ♥ I already can’t wait till ToG5 😀
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday *121*My Profile

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