Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: September 1st, 2015
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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 will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. 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.
Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.
As with the previous books in the series, I really enjoyed this. There's something about these books that just gets me SO excited. I love the action and the fact you never know what's around the corner. Queen of Shadows was no exception to that and I loved the thrilling ride. However, there was one aspect that left me a little disappointed: the romance. (Hence the half-star off, everything else was still too good for a lesser rating).
The romance side is going to please some and disappoint others depending on who you ship. That's all I can say without spoiling the decisions that are made so the rest is in the spoiler tag:
I'm a big Chaolaena shipper. I like Rowan as a warrior and as a friend to Aelin, the perfect addition to her court in Terrasen due to his loyalty. Unfortunately my ship appears to be no more. :( Chaol is officially in the friend zone (as is Dorian which I'm fine with, I think he's suited to someone sweet like Sorscha) and she has chosen Rowan. I'm sorry Rowan shippers but I really just don't get it. The sexual tension was apparent in Queen of Shadows but I can't help but remember when he referred to Aelin as a child in Heir of Fire. Chaol was also turned into a bit of an ass for some of the book and it feels like the purpose of that was to justify the relationship with Rowan. He was literally unrecognisable at times. Is Rowan still going to want to make her moan when she's ancient and he's still in his young body? (I'm pretty sure she's going to become immortal by the end of the series though which would tie that up). I do like Rowan, I do. I just prefer Aelin with Chaol. Chaol has also moved on though with a new romance blossoming between him and Nesryn so it does appear to be the end. There are two books left though so I'm not giving up all hope just yet!
Aelin is back in Rifthold and preparing for battle with all of her enemies. She prepares to destory Arobynn, the king and anyone else who has done her wrong over the years. She has finally accepted her heritage and that she has a kingdom, and its people, waiting for her. Waiting for her to get vengeance and build up her glorious kingdom again. She no longer wants to hide behind Celaena but keeps that badass brutality that we have always seen from her. She schemes and plots and is very much on the warpath.
Chaol and Dorian aren't in this book as much compared to the others. Dorian hardly makes an appearance at all until the end of the book due to the demon imprisoning him. It was truly heartbreaking to see him incapacitated in such a way. He is a good person and I was urging for him to break through the horrific barrier. Chaol is working with the rebels and has finally realised that there are a lot more important things to be doing than worrying about being honourable. He feels guilty about Dorian and his biggest mission is to find a way to set his friend, his king, free.
Aedion has well and truly won me around. I was never quite 100% about whether he could be trusted or not but his unfaltering loyalty towards Aelin, despite the fact he hasn't seen her in over ten years, was beautiful. He is willing to die to protect her and if I was to ever rule a kingdom (ha) he would be my first choice to be in my court. Rowan is also a good addition to Aelin's court: a strong fae-warrior with centuries of knowledge and battles behind him. He has Aelin's back at every turn and it was interesting to have a point of view from him this time around.
The perspective from Manon in Heir of Fire wasn't my favourite but it was so much better this time around. I really enjoyed it. Manon is as evil and as brutal as ever but we also see a different side to her. She begins to question the way things are instead of just blindly accepting and I loved her inner battle between following tradition, the question of what is right and wrong and her mortal feelings.
Lysandra was absolutely one of my favourite things about this book. Her strength, her determination, her bravery. Her friendship with Aelin is outstanding and the best female friendship I have read. I like her so much more than I liked Nehemia. It is SO good to see two strong and powerful women being friends without any jealousy or angst. I really can't praise this friendship enough!
There is a hint of a new romance brewing at the end of the novel which I am completely on board with. I really want to see how that one turns out! Queen of Shadows is another thoroughly crazy ride with plot twists, revelations and action resulting in a satisfying conclusion but with the promise of a lot more still to come.