Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. MaasQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 648
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 1st 2015

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 continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

I can honestly say I’ve never been this disappointed about a series before. Yes, I’ve read my fare share of terrible series (still trying to scrub my brain from Dorothy Must Die) but I keep just waiting for more with this series. And so far I’ve gotten nothing. The story is mildly entertaining but I don’t care about any of the characters enough to actually want them to succeed. The relationships are so shallow and unimpressive. There is constantly the feeling that this series could be so much more, if things had been expanded.

The story has developed some complexity and Maas is balancing out the story with multiple characters and story-lines that will eventually diverge in the center of the plot here. This is far better than Throne of Glass, but she doesn’t quite deliver on some levels for me. Again spoilers below if you haven’t read the books and back to bullet point to stop me from ranting and raving!

  • Maas is still prioritizing romance over the plot here. It’s neither compelling nor consistent. The relationships are not pushing these characters into any great kind of development, nor are they directly relating to the large scale plot.
  • There is little doubt that the characters will not succeed. This is clearly a story where the main characters are slated to live through it all. For a world at war there is a little threat to them, and even when on the “brink of death” they always find their way back in a too-dramatic fashion. The best kind of situations are where the author actually tricks you into believing people are at risk.
    • Nehemia was almost too off the radar, and really the only impact she had been in pushing Celaena to accept who she was and to stand up and fight.
  • Celaena / Aelin → THIS COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH MORE. I never really felt like the transition between the two was that hard. I know Maas has stated she views these as two different characters but that doesn’t mean they are physically two different people. Between Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows they become almost physically different and experience a huge personality shift. The transition was too easy, but being Celaena was a survival tool and now she just drops everything she was to be Aelin – a queen who wants to rule her kingdom once more? I don’t even know how to accurately express my level of emotion with this whole story line. There should have been MORE. She was Celaena for ten years, with no end in sight and now she just wakes up and is Aelin? It just could have been handled better, and probably more realistically.
  • Killing Ardylnn was far too easy and simple. Especially when Maas spent so much time in the lead up to it. This whole plot was too blah for me.
  • Yeah the king being possessed – saw that coming a mile away. I felt no sympathy for him or his story — just felt like it fell into place too conveniently.
  • Dorian’s character while taken over by a Vlag prince was one of the highlights. These chapters and scenes, his interaction with Manon were what I looked forward too. This gave me more insight to the ongoing plot with the Vlag and a huge insight into Manon’s character. So well done Maas.

Overall very little to be impressed about with this installment. Onward to Empire of Storms. . .

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