Saturday, March 5, 2016

Review: Queen of Shadows

Sarah J. Maas has once again pulled at my heartstrings and completely made me fall in love with a fae warrior, a troubled prince, iron teeth witches, and a fire-breathing bitch queen. Though I wasn’t jumping for joy at every moment throughout this book, Queen of Shadows still took my breath away and had me hanging on to every word written, dying to jump in and fight right alongside Aelin. 
If you love action, you are in for some excitement. The fight scenes in this book have me gripping the pages like my life is dependent on it, the scenes are intense and the battle plans are meticulously brilliant. You will definitely be biting your nails and sitting on the edge of your seat. I mainly discuss the characters in this review, but the plot of Queen of Shadows is exceptional. I kept most of my thoughts to the characters because I want to avoid spoiling too much for anyone who hasn’t had the chance to grab this beauty of a book yet. When you do pick up this book, be forewarned your heart will be pounding and hands sweaty with nervousness, wondering what is going to happen as Sarah J. Maas once again sweeps you away into her world of Erilea, full of excitement, sword fights, and hell fire.

Before I tell you all the other reasons you have to go get this book and the whole series right now, I do have some grievances. I love the characters in this series. They possess unique qualities different from my own yet, they are each relatable in their own way. Because of this I am very attached to the characters in this book and when they have a personality change it seems unnatural. It’s like my best friends have changed. I love badass Celaena Sardothien and Aelin, but I feel like Aelin is much softer than the Celaena we know and love. I am not saying that Aelin can’t be softer because of everything that she has been through, I just don’t want the badass side of her to completely disappear. One of these reasons is the way she fawns over Rowan. Don't get me wrong, I think Rowan and Celaena are great for one another. But the transition in which they went from platonic friends to wanting to be all over each other was not like the Aelin/Celaena I have come to know. Their fascination with one another in this book bordered between admiration and obsession to the point where it was just too much. From time to time, they were adorable and I enjoyed it but at other moments I was thinking please slow down and let me enjoy their relationship growth. The bottom line is I like Aelin and Rowan together, they're adorable and badass together, I just wish their relationship from friends to more than friends had a little more time to grow before falling head over heels for each other. Another aspect that made me upset about Aelin was her willingness to kill Dorian. This wasn’t necessarily something caused by a shift in her character, but it definitely made me upset that she was going to give up on the fact that Dorian was still in there somewhere. (SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read the book yet, don’t read the next 2 sentences.) In the previous books, she would have never given up on Dorian, therefore, it was quite a shock for me when she held the sword over his head only to be stopped by Nesryn’s arrow. Her reasoning was logical; he had been possessed by a demon, but it still was hard for me to read that she actually contemplated and was seconds away from ending one of her best friends lives. The Chaol and Celaena dynamic of this book was rough to read. They had a lot of things happen to them in their past, but the fact that they never agreed on anything and were barely even friends throughout Queen of Shadows bothered me because they were so close in every other book. Their differences resulted in a strong bond when they worked and planned together. But in Queen of Shadows it seems like their differences and the past they shared between them had finally become too much for one another to handle. Fortunately by the end they seemed to be on much better terms again because a world without Chaol and Celaena caring about each other is just not acceptable.

Now that I've gotten my whining out of the way let me tell you about all of the reasons about why this book is so AMAZING. First of all, let me just say I jumped up and down upon discovering that this book was 656 pages long. I know some people get annoyed when the book is super long, but it fills me up with happiness and excitement. The more pages there are the more I get to read about my favorite characters and their adventures. Honestly, I never feel like the book is long enough. If it was up to me authors would write stories about the characters until they were gone from their world. I want to hear their whole story, from beginning to end and until then I will never stop wondering about their lives. The characters in my favorite books become a part of my life and I become invested, so the more I get to learn about them the better for the book nerd in me.

So did I mention how attached I get to the characters? Buckle down and get reading because I have some wonderful things to say about the lovely characters in Queen of Shadows. Sarah J. Maas has an entrancing way in which she writes her characters that just makes me want to be friends with each and every one of them. I literally want to be their best friends. Earlier I complained a little bit about Rowan and Aelin’s fast moving relationship, but I want to be clear that Rowan is a fantastic character and he adds to the greatness of this book. The way Rowan pushed and challenged Celaena in Heir of Fire as well as the way he began to care for her, I knew even then that their relationship was essential  to the story. Celaena/Aelin never opened up to anyone because of everything she had been through and everything she had lost, but that changed with Rowan as their relationship blossomed and that in itself is something significant. And although I still wish Rowan and Aelin’s relationship had been allowed to develop at a slower pace, the way that they interact with one another is special and intoxicating in a way that only two people who cared for each other very deeply could portray. Aedion Ashryver, Wolf of the North, is a man and a friend anyone would be lucky to have in their life. His dedication to serving his queen and being a friend to Aelin no matter what her past had been is moving and valiant. Plus I mean he’s kinda like a big, strong, awesome teddy bear. I love his relationship with Aelin and how much he cares for her but also how he messes with Aelin like when they were children. The closeness of their relationship and the way they bond and interact throughout the whole book really shows just how special their relationship is. Aelin needs her friends after everything she has been through and being able to reconnect with her cousin was really good for her. Aelin is a badass and doesn’t need others to protect her, but it is important for her to have friends again who she can trust to have her back and support her when she becomes queen. The male characters in this book were phenomenal and kick ass, but the female characters in this book definitely take the cake. I hope to one day be half as fierce, strong, and brave as Aelin, Lysandra, Manon, and Elide. Sarah J. Maas’ female characters, though all have their own individuals flaws and struggles that they have had to overcome, they are some of the most courageous female characters I have ever read about and I wish to embody their characters. Celaena/Aelin has been to hell and back and she is still going strong and fighting for everything that she believes in. She has lost so much and yet she still strives to not only survive but to live and fight for her people and her friends. Though going through a different kind of hell, Lysandra stood strong just like Aelin. Her life was changed when she was very young because of her abilities and this caused her to have strenuous obstacles to overcome that she took head on. The friendship between Lysandra and Aelin that developed throughout this book was like watching two people who thought they were so very different realize that they weren’t so different at all. They not only had an ally in one another but a good friend. I could go on and on for pages about the characters in this book, but honestly my words won’t allow you to fully understand them and just how amazing they are.

Thank you, Sarah J. Maas, for once again blowing me away with your exceptional fantasy writing. You have allowed me to travel into a world unbeknownst to us humans and make it and the wonderful characters seem real. Queen of Shadows has been added to my collection of favorites along with all the other Throne of Glass books. Though this book was not flawless, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and will be counting down the days until the next one hits the shelves. If you haven’t read Queen of Shadows or you haven’t read Throne of Glass, make sure they are next on your to be read list and allow those books to take you on an adventure.

My rating for Queen of Shadows is 5 out of 5 palm trees

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