Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, and it blew all the other books in the series out of the water!
Warning: I promise not to reveal any spoilers for THIS BOOK, but if you haven’t read Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire, you’ll definitely want to skip this review until you have. Spoilers for earlier books in the series will be revealed.
TRIGGER WARNING: slavery, torture, threatened rape, murder, gore
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.
Celaena’s epic journey continues, and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that just might shatter her world.
Celaena has returned to Adarlan, and while she’s evolving into Aelin, she still has to play Celaena. She is full of rage for a large portion of the book, and of her many titles, I’d have to say my favorite is “the fire-breathing bitch-queen.” She faces down obstacles that could have shattered someone without her resolve, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Even so, she’s admirable as always, and seems to have a bone to pick with everyone in Rifthold.
“She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph.”
After the last book closed, Dorian is trapped in darkness, enslaved by his father. Aedion is in a dungeon, waiting for his death. It’s tough to read their chapters, because they’re two of my favorite male characters, and they’re suffering.
Chaol is even more of a jerk than I remembered in previous books, and while I liked his character before, I struggle with being torn between frustration, anger, and outrage. He demonstrates an appalling inability to accept responsibility for some things, which was shocking to me, considering the role that he played in previous events.
Finally, Manon features pretty prominently in this story as well, and I like her more and more as I read further in. She definitely fits the mold of strong, capable, and lethal females that are common in Sarah J. Maas books, and I get the feeling that there’s a big role that she plays in the rest of the story.
Throughout the series, I’ve been so curious to find out what was brewing in Morath, and this book provides just a glimpse of what is happening there. After learning about part of it, I was terrified for all of the characters I liked.
“She’d overheard the other servants whisper about the dark, fell things that went on under those mountains: people being splayed open on black stone altars and then forged into something new, something other.”
When reading these books, it feels like following a bunch of clues that don’t allow me to see the big picture until the full story is revealed. However, there’s always a plot twist lurking, a flashback waiting to answer some questions, and a bunch of new questions popping up. The plot twists are incredible and unpredictable, and I’m always left wanting to start the next book immediately. Each time I read the next book, I feel like it’s the best book in the series, only to be eclipsed by the next one. It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger like the last book, but it doesn’t provide close to the amount of closure that would allow me to function without immediately diving into the next book.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn't an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 23
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars