Book Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)
Author: Sarah J. Maas 
Publishing: Bloomsbury, September 1st 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 645
Rating: 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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.

*This is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, so there will be some spoilers for the previous books, read at your own risk*

I thought Heir of Fire was the best book in the series so far, but Queen of Shadows was even better. The story and writing continue to get better and better with every book. This book is an emotional rollercoaster, I was literally in tears for the last 100 pages (happy and sad tears).

Queen of Shadows is thick, but don’t let that put you off. It’s fast-paced read, the action is non stop and the tension, oh my god, I have never felt so on edge whilst reading a book. Despite its size, I powered through it in just over 2 days, I couldn’t put it down!

The plot follows Aelin who is back in Rifthold once again, on a mission to retrieve a family heirloom, avenge her loved ones and tie up loose ends (and by that I mean… kill a lot of people). I can’t talk too much about the plot without giving away spoilers, so I’ll focus on the characters instead.

So, let’s get down to it!

Despite the huge amount of characters in this book as well as the action-packed plot, Maas manages to give each character their own plot points and development throughout the story. I can honestly say there is a single boring or useless character, but maybe I’m being biased. 

My love for Aelin only continues to grow. She is even stronger, braver and more incredible than before and in this book, she was without a doubt, a QUEEN (or a fire-breathing-bitch-queen as some might call her). Aelin and Rowan are so cute together it’s just my favourite thing ever I’m shipping them so hard! They have such a powerful bond, and I like seeing Aelin be vulnerable and letting herself depend on him.

Rowan and Aedion finally meet and their relationship is exactly what you would expect from two territorial Fae. It was very funny to watch them being overprotective with Aelin, even though we all know she’s perfectly capable of holding her own.  

Aelin rescues Aedion from the Glass Palace (in a very dramatic way, I might add). Their reunion was absolutely heart-melting, their bond still as strong as ever despite spending 10 years apart. Aedion is so kind-hearted I just want to pinch his cheeks! I love how he and Aelin are so similar and stubborn and they fight like brother and sister.

Manon and her Thirteen are now in Morath along with Duke Perrington and his Valg army. I have to admit I wasn’t a big fan of Manon in Heir of Fire, but my opinion of her has changed a lot after reading this book. Her development has been incredible, and her perspective really adds to the story. Manon is struggling to obey orders whilst also trying to please everybody, especially her grandmother. She is faced with some really difficult decisions, and despite being fierce, bloodthirsty and savage, Manon is not as heartless as she would like to believe.

This brings me to Elide, who has been brought to Morath as a slave by her cruel Uncle Vernon. We find out that her mother was from Terrasen and was actually the person responsible for protecting Aelin and helping her to escape 10 years ago. Despite a life of pain and misery, Elide is unbelievably brave and ends up making very unexpected and powerful allies.

We finally get to meet a few characters from Aelin’s past, including the famous King of Assasins, Arobynn, who was exactly how I imagined: handsome, sly, cunning and a complete a*****e. We are also introduced to Lysandra, Celeana’s former nemesis. After circumstances bring the two back together, they bond over their shared hatred of Arobynn and actually become good friends. Lysandra is brave, big-hearted and I absolutely adore her.

Heir of Fire ended with Chaol fleeing the castle and leaving Dorian in the hands of the King. Although in his defence, he didn’t have much of a choice. Now Chaol is working with the rebels and Nesryn, to save his best friend as well as save the people of Rifthold from the Valg guards. His reunion with Aelin was… well, exactly what you would expect from running into your ex, who also happens to be your kingdom’s enemy. The only bad thing I have to say about this book is that I feel like Chaol was done dirty. It kind of feels like Maas wanted us to hate him by making him petty and ignorant and act like a complete ass. 

I absolutely loved Queen of Shadows. It was an incredible read, the ending was fantastic, and the last 100 pages were absolutely crazy. So much happened and Maas just kept throwing surprises at me until the very end.

Did you love this book as much as I did? Are you team Rowan or Chaol? Let me know in the comments!

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