Tag Archives: The Assassin’s Blade

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) – Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: September 1, 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Amazon
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 29, 2015
Related Posts: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5), Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3), A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

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.

bookreview1

** This review will contain spoilers for the previous three books in the series but NO specific plot spoilers for QUEEN OF SHADOWS, however, if you have not read QUEEN OF SHADOWS yet, you may consider some things I talk about in my review to be minor spoilers (about the romance!) so reader beware! ** 

QUEEN OF SHADOWS was just utter, utter perfection for me. I was a bit of a late-comer to the Sarah J. Maas fandom having just started the Throne of Glass series last year (I binge read the first three books right as HEIR OF FIRE came out) and I absolutely fell in love. Even though it’s been a year since I’ve been immersed in this world, picking up QUEEN OF SHADOWS just felt so comfortable and I easily fell back into all of the magic that this series has to offer. It’s hard to review the 4th book in a major series without giving plot points away so I’m going to stay off of plot (for the most part) and try to talk about more about specific elements of the book that I enjoyed as well as how the book seems to be standing up to criticisms (yes, people have them and I don’t understand them).

One thing that I’m always incredibly impressed with is Sarah’s ability to really make this series one long story. Even though it’s broken up into six books, each novel relates back to another in the series and I’m always so impressed with not only how they tie in to one another but also how they are constantly connected right from the beginning and we only get to find out those connections as we dive further into the series.

I also really just love how this book feels like “coming home”. Reading QUEEN OF SHADOWS gave me that feeling of “Yes, I love this world. I know this world. This is where my heart belongs” and I feel that each time I read the next book in the series. Sarah J. Maas does a fantastic job of making these books come alive in every possible way. The settings and world building are incredible and I really do feel like I’m experiencing the novel as I’m reading it — I’m fully immersed. The characters and their personalities really just come to life and I feel like I’ve really come to know these people and places.

I’m constantly impressed with the character growth throughout this series as well. If you look at Celaena/Aelin from THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE or THRONE OF GLASS and Aelin in QUEEN OF SHADOWS, she’s a totally different person and I love seeing how much she’s grown throughout the course of these books. She went from arrogant teenager into blossoming queen and it’s been amazing to witness that slow and subtle transition. She’s really grown so much and she’s starting to own this queen-business and I am 100% behind her!
I was actually surprised that character growth seemed to be a negative thing in some reviews… I did a rather silly thing and read some one and two star reviews because I couldn’t fathom why people were so put off by the this book when I felt so in love with it and some people said that Aelin was totally different and where is old Celaena. But… YES! Of course she’s different! If the whole series had been about arrogant and cocky Celaena, I wouldn’t have liked it. There would have been no character growth at all. She’s been growing and changing this whole time and I think most of that happened in HEIR OF FIRE so I was kind of shocked that this — what I felt was slight — change in demeanor was so surprising and so many people were taken aback. I think Aelin has been growing up this whole series and I’ve been so impressed with the changes she’s made! I think she still has the same personality but because of her goals, because of what she’s been through, and because of what she’s learned, she’s changing from a girl into a young woman and handling herself differently. You can’t be a spoiled and arrogant queen.

The way the romantic feelings have evolved and changed have also been handled extremely well. Personally, I was never a Chaol/Celaena shipper. I would have been happy if they ended up together (hey, they still might — series isn’t over yet) but I was never fully invested in it for some reason. Things really start to change in QUEEN OF SHADOWS and as these characters grow, they start to explore their true romantic feelings and pulls even more and in some cases, they’re not quite what they used to be. It sort of felt like growing out of your old high school crush or boyfriend — what you had in common when you were younger may no longer be applicable and as people grow, they tend to change and refocus their goals, what’s important in life, and who a perfect match for them might be. I felt like that’s what happened with Aelin and Chaol. Maybe Celaena and Chaol would have worked well together but I don’t think Aelin and Chaol are meant to be. They’ve both been through a lot throughout the course of this series and their end goal is still the same but their paths may not be quite identical anymore. I think both characters started to realize this, especially in QUEEN OF SHADOWS.

Of course, the story itself was just amazing. QUEEN OF SHADOWS was a hefty book at over 650 pages and there was so much that happened… and none of it ever felt unnecessary. I never tired while reading QUEEN OF SHADOWS and wished I could stay within these pages long after the book ended. I was constantly captivated and didn’t want to put the book down! Sarah J. Maas is an expert story teller and I could get lost in the pages of her books forever. I’m a huge fan of this series and Sarah’s stories and I will be forever anticipating new works from her! This series is incredibly well-done and I can’t wait to see where else this plot takes us.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

queen of shadows goodreads

character_breakdown1

Aelin // Character Obsessions: Defeat of the Valg, protecting the kingdom.
I am so impressed with how much Aelin has grown throughout this series. I’ve loved witnessing her changes and how she’s been handling things in the past couple books. She’s still the same badass and has that same personality/attitude, but her focus has changed so much more now that she’s owned being the Queen of Terrasen.
Lysandra // Character Obsessions: Evangeline, debts, revenge.
There is SO much of THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE that we see coming back in QUEEN OF SHADOWS and guess what! Lysandra is back! I loved seeing the role she ended up playing in this book and I LOVE that it ties all the back to THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Epic epic fantasy. This is some EPIC epic fantasy. I love how books and series like this just fully pull me in and make me feel like I’m a part of the story.
Left Me Wanting More: Manon/Aelin encounters. I’m still enjoying the Blackbeak side of the story BUT I do wish there was a bit more connection to the main plot. I love Manon and I’ve been so happy to learn more about her but I can’t wait for this half of the book to tie in some more!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT NOW!

This is easily one of my all-time favorite series. The books, the characters, the world-building, the writing — all have grown throughout the series and I just can’t get enough.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE QUEEN OF SHADOWS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) – Patrick Rothfuss   A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) – George R.R. Martin

The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 – 0.5) – Sarah J. Maas

The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 – 0.5) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: March 4th 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens by Bloomsbury Publishing
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 13, 2014
Related Posts: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3), A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out

bookreview1

** In full disclosure, I actually read the novellas individually but for conveniency’s sake, I’m reviewing as the full book, The Assassin’s Blade; therefore, I am missing the one novella that was not available for purchase outside of TAB **

I had been meaning to start THRONE OF GLASS for a long time and was juuuust about to start it when Nikki from There Were Books Involved advised me to read the novellas first. See, this would haven’t been my first read of THRONE OF GLASS. I had actually tried back when the book first came out in 2012 and made it about 80 pages before my book was due back the library… But I hadn’t been really interested it in. I had found it a bit hard to get into and I think I wasn’t at a point in my reading life at that point in time where I could really appreciate fantasy as much as I do now. When Nikki advised me to read the novellas first because they actually helped her appreciate THRONE OF GLASS that much more, I decided that was definitely the best route for me.

The funny story is… I was only able to borrow some digitally from my local library so I had to purchase the others… and ended up accidentally reading them out of order (I read the third one first and the first one third). It didn’t really affect my overall opinion too much, but more of a funny little story which obviously wouldn’t have happened if I was actually reading THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE. Oh well!

THE ASSASSIN AND THE PIRATE LORD is the first novella of the bunch (and the one I ended up reading third. Oops) and I’m actually kind of glad I ended up reading it out of order. I really loved all of the novellas but I think this one was my least favorite. Since I read the third one first, I already knew essentially what happened here and it wasn’t that it was anticlimactic but more so that I had already seen a more mature Celaena — even two novellas later — so I grew a bit impatient with her at times. It wasn’t a huge deal for me, but I did notice it a bit. I also felt like the plot was probably the least interesting out of the four that I read and felt more like a string of sequences than something that really flowed. It did have quite a bit of important foreshadowing in there, though, and it was really great to get that foundation for both the world and the characters. This was also an extremely important story because it really sets to motion absolutely everything that leads up to THRONE OF GLASS.

The second novella (skipping over the one that is only in TaB… so technically # 0.3) is THE ASSASSIN AND THE DESERT. I think I enjoyed this more than THE ASSASSIN AND THE PIRATE LORD because Celaena really starts to learn things about herself and is both mentally and physically pushed to the limits on so many levels. It’s easy to know who you think you are but once you’re put in extremely trying situations, you start to see the person you really are and what weaknesses emerge. It was heartbreaking too, because I think Celaena really opened up and discovered a lot about herself but then both of those things made her close herself off again. I really loved the relationships in this novella a lot and I think it was a really important piece of Celaena’s background that we got to know.

The next novella was THE ASSASSIN AND THE UNDERWORLD (that I accidentally read first) and I just fell in love. It was so intriguing and so complex for a novella! I really felt like I got to know all of the characters so intimately and each of the characters — as well as the plot lines — really begin to grow. There were TWISTS and things I did not see coming and it was probably one of the best novellas I have read in a long time (maybe ever?)… That is until….

THE ASSASSIN AND THE EMPIRE — HOLY CRAP, you guys. This novella BROKE me. It was flat out amazing and also set up a lot for THRONE OF GLASS but there were so many things I didn’t expect and so many things that completely floored me. If you read the main novels first — as goes for any of these novellas — you already know what happens in the end but I got to experience all of that backstory first hand and it was… well it was a wild ride. This is one of THE best novellas I’ve ever read and all of these are worth the read, whether you’ve already read all of the books so far in the series or not.

My overall opinion of the novellas is that they’re must-reads for fans of this series. I know a lot of people actually aren’t a fan of novellas but these four (and I’m assuming the fifth that I haven’t read yet) all fit together to really kind of form a whole new story in one book. I read them all before I started THRONE OF GLASS which you don’t have to do, but I really enjoyed it because these are all prequel novellas and I really felt like I was reading the series in chronological order. Given what I’ve learned so far in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, I think it’s important to read these novellas before book two because there is a lot of history explained there that really makes more sense and draws on more emotions if you’ve read the novellas first.  

character_breakdown1

Celaena // Character Obsessions: Clothes, books, training, fighting, Sam, and erm… kiling.
Celaena is totally badass. She’s not always my favorite heroine in terms of the way she handles herself and reacts to certain situations but I really respect her and hell. It’s not like I could ever be in her shoes. I really enjoy her stories and I loved learning about her past in these novellas.
Sam // Character Obsessions: Working his way up in the ranks, loyalty, pride, Celaena.
Oh, Sam Cortland. I just loved him. I thought he was the perfect balance for Celaena in so many ways. I actually think he’s still one of my favorite characters in the entire series so far.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Prequels. Even though I read this before I started the series so it was like “starting at the beginning” for me, I just love prequel novellas. I’m sure authors have tons of background that they probably have to write down in order to really round out some of their characters so I love reading that extra information and getting that info in a novella!
Left Me Wanting More: Connection with Celaena. I actually really grew to like her a lot more in each novella the more I got to know about her, but it wasn’t a little bit hard to really feel like I related to her in the very beginning.

Addiction Rating
READ THE NOVELLAS!!

If you’re a fan of this series at all, I think the novellas are really important to both world building and character development, but especially character development for me. There’s so much history in them and I think it’s really important to know and see it firsthand.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

Graceling    The winner's Curse