Queen of Shadows: A Book Review

Posted September 14, 2015 by Carlisa in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Queen of Shadows: A Book ReviewQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Also by this author: The Assassin's Blade, Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books on September 1, 2015
Genres: YA, Adventure, Fantasy
Pages: 648
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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.

Okay. Queen of Shadows. I finally finished this beast of a book…because it’s a beast. At 648 pages, it’s my longest read of the year so far. And with school starting literally the day before it came out, it’s taken me almost two weeks to read this one. I have read a couple of books within that time period, but still. Twelve days is forever long for me to be reading one book. Seriously, forever long. BUT I FINISHED. Like an hour ago, so everything is fresh and raw in my brain. Which might mean that this review will be a rambling mess, but, you know, that’s okay. If you’re a follower of mine, you’re probably used to it anyway.

The Event

First, let’s just talk about the fact that I met the intimidatingly beautiful Sarah J. Maas. In the flesh. She came to a bookstore about an hour away from where I am at school, so I knew that I had to go. And it was awesome. Unfortunately, there were so many people there that they weren’t allowing one-on-one pictures so I didn’t get a picture with her. But I have an awesome signature and she pronounced my name right on the first try…something people are rarely able to do.

She was just awesome. I haven’t met many authors–like four total, I think–but she was definitely the most down-to-earth of all the ones I have met. She was just herself. Actually I think she just might be Celaena in hiding. Like the Throne of Glass version of Hannah Montana. Beautiful, blonde, not afraid to say what she’s thinking. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Rowan had walked out from the back to escort her to the next room for the signing (okay, okay, I would have been a little surprised).

Her and the moderator are both avid potty-mouths (is there a better word for this that doesn’t make me sound like a 2-year-old?) so they started a swear jar from the very beginning. And then they gave it away at the end, with a whopping $30 in it, if I remember correctly. It was actually pretty hilarious. At one point when she was talking about Arobynn, she was like “Is ‘douche-canoe’ a swear word in Utah? Because I don’t even care…Arobynn was a total douche-canoe.” And then she put a dollar in the swear jar.

But I hadn’t realized that she had practically written Throne of Glass completely on an online writing website. She built a fanbase there and then got it published. Except the online version and the published version were two completely different things. She said that she had re-written every word to make it the best it could be.

It was so great to hear her and meet her. Emily from Emily’s Reading Room posted a longer event recap (and giveaway) that you should check out here!

The Review

Okay, where do I even begin with this? Out of the five books published so far in this series (including the novella bind-up), this is probably my second-to-least favorite. BUT that’s not saying a lot because they were all epic and fantastical and taking my brain places I didn’t know it could go.

Okay, first: I loved everything about the second part of the book. It splits at page 388, I think, and everything after that was go-go-go, action-packed, and crazy. Like my jaw was just on the floor for all of the 260 remaining pages and I was almost in tears multiple times and my roommate was probably fed up with my numerous and dramatic gasping. And out of the 12 days it took me to read this book, the second part was read in the last two. The first part just took me forever because it seemed like all they were doing was talking and planning. And it was still awesome because Maas wrote it, so it’s going to be epic. But the first part I think was used to build, build, build up to the second part. Which it totally does. It builds up the biggest climax in the world. I don’t even know how I’m going to handle the next books in the series because they’re about to be messed up, that’s for sure.

But because I loved the first half so much, I have to say that the first half fell flat for me. It took me a looong time to get through it because it was a lot of planning and relationship-building, resulting in a slower pace.

Second: If you read my review of Heir of Fire, you’d know that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Manon chapters. They just felt disconnected and I didn’t sympathize with her at all and she was just a crazy witch monster with no feelings or soul. Until this book. I feel as if all of the Manon chapters in HoF and then in QoS were just building up to the second part of QoS. And it was epic and we actually saw Manon become a person instead of the crazy soul-less witch monster. She has a heart, guys. And I loved seeing that side of her.

Also in my review of Throne of Glass, I talked about how Celaena uses her arrogance as a mask to keep herself above her actions. It wasn’t until I read this book that I realized that Celaena Sardothien was the mask. Not the arrogance. The entire persona. I didn’t like calling her Aelin at first. I didn’t like the feel of it and I just liked Celaena better. But I think after reading this book, I know that she is truly Aelin. That’s who she is and that’s awesome.

Now I’m going to talk about some spoiler-y things, so I’m going to do that fancy spoiler-click thing. So here we go:
View Spoiler »

Notable Quotes

  • “Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stay the course, but also plot another one. Adapt.”
  • “Aelin fully believed in ghosts.
    She just didn’t think they usually came out during the day.”
  • “But you were never just Celaena, and I think you knew that, deep down, even before everything happened.”
  • “Let’s go rattle the stars.”
  • “He turned his head, an eye still on the wall of flickering flames. Such pain, and grief, and rage in those eyes. Yet, somehow, beneath it all–a spark of spirit. Of hope.
    Aelin extended her hand–a question and an offer and a promise.
    ‘To a better future,’ she said.
    ‘You came back,’ he said, as if that were an answer.
    They joined hands.
    So the world ended.
    And the next one began.”

  • I had the same problem with Arobynn/Lysandra, I talked about it a little in my review too, but I’m not totally satisfied with the explanation I came up with.
    Also, your last quote! *sobs*

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed that! It just confused me but your blog does a good job of trying to explain it.

      AND I KNOW. I had ALL the feelings at that moment. I looooove Dorian.

  • Chris Crowe

    What a terrific blog, Carli! Keep up the great work!

    • Thank you Professor Crowe!