Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, #4
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Release Date: September 1st 2015
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 will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. 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 has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
As much as I enjoyed Heir of Fire I felt it was more of a filler novel than anything else; the plot was slow and it was only the last quarter that the action seemed to kick into high gear. Queen of Shadows however was pretty much non-stop action from the beginning and I couldn’t put it down. All the characters introduced in Heir of Fire played their part and came together in what is currently my favourite book of the series so far. Queen of Shadows was everything I had hoped it would be and more.
Celaena Sardothien has accepted who she really is and returned to Rifthold, but not as the King’s Champion, as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen, who has a score to settle with the King himself. She sneaks back into Rifthold, past the guards, and immediately seeks out the King of Assassins and her old master, Arobynn Hamel. Aelin plays a dangerous game with her old master, she needs his help but Arobynn is cruel, scheming and controlling and he seems determined to drag Celaena back into his web.
Meanwhile Chaol has joined with the rebels, having finally seen the truth about who the King really is, too late to save either Dorian or Sorscha. He fled from the castle and has since been doing everything he can to help the prisoners escape from the Valg Princes. Chaol main concern however is Dorian. He wants to save his friend, believes he can be saved. however the collar around Dorian’s neck which has allowed the Valg Prince to take control of his body has left him a shadow of his former self.
Teaming up with Aelin Galathynius is not something Chaol is happy about. They both have very different goals but they need the other’s help. In order to bring magic back to Adarlan, especially with the Valg Princes and Wyrdhounds guarding the city, Celaena needs all the help she can get.
Queen of Shadows is where everything that has been building up over the course of the first three books comes to its conclusion; Aelin’s journey from the King’s champion – Celaena Sardothien – to the Queen of Terrasen – Aelin Galathynius – and everything she discovered about the Wyrdmarks and what the King has been using them for. But in spite of everything she faced in Queen of Shadows her battle, her journey, is only just beginning.
Aelin Galathynius’s journey from Celaena Sardothien to the Queen of Terrasen has been brilliant to read, and her character development from Throne of Glass to Queen of Shadows was wonderful to explore. She changed from an arrogant assassin, content to hide in the King’s castle and only caring of her own freedom, to an actual Queen, powerful and strong and determined to stand up to the tyrant who took her lands and enslaved her people. Seeing Aelin slip back into Celaena at one point in this story was shocking to read because it was only then I realised how much she really has changed. Her journey over the course of the four books has been gradual but the biggest change is that she now has people she can trust and rely on; forming the beginnings of her new court with Rowan, Aedion, and Lysandra.
Chaol, like Celaena, has changed so much since we first met him in Throne of Glass but unlike Celaena he has almost gone the other way. He started out strong, his loyalty absolute and his belief in the King unblemished, he didn’t blink at the many slaves when he collected Celaena from Endovier. Now he has been dishonoured; he ran when Dorian was in danger and has lost his friend, seemingly for good, to the Valg Prince inhabiting Dorian’s body. Chaol cannot forgive himself so he throws his all into helping the Rebels still within Rifthold.
When Chaol and Celaena meet face to face once again, for the first time since he discovered the truth about who she really is, it seems like their relationship has been fractured beyond repair; the two too different to reach any common ground again. Celaena cannot forgive what happened to Nehemia and after discovering what happened to Dorian in her absence she lashes out. Despite having the same ultimate end goal the two have very different ideas about what they need to do to get there, and different priorities. Chaol remains wary of Celaena now he knows who she truly is; he fears her a little not knowing what she will be capable of, what she would do to Rifthold, if she had the full extent of her magic once more.
Manon was a favourite character of mine back in Heir of Fire and I loved her even more in Queen of Shadows. Her and her Thirteen have been placed in a dangerous situation, and Manon is being forced to make decisions which end up hurting her fellow witches. By the end of Heir of Fire Manon had seemed to change in small ways. She started to feel more empathy and we saw her as more than a heartless witch.
In Queen of Shadow that journey continues but it is her relationships with the people around her that really cements it. Asterin, Manon’s Second who is just as strong but whom has a dark past which still haunts her and shapes her actions, and Elide, who has not been broken despite everything done to her and who remains determined to escape. While her grandmother may have joined forces with the King and the Duke Manon’s loyalty is first to her Thirteen and her fellow witches.
Celaena is back in Rifthold once more, and as she is laying low not yet ready to face the King as either Celaena or Aelin, we see a lot of Arobynn Hamel and his role as King of Assassins. While we always knew bits and pieces of Celaena’s time with Arobynn Queen of Shadows paints a much fuller picture as we finally meet him. I loved reading more about Celaena’s past with her master and Sam as well as reading all the interactions between Celaena and Arobynn, and Celaena and Lysandra. After having learnt in Mistward how to access and control her power Celaena is lost without them back in Rifthold which was interesting to read.
Everything Celaena learnt in the past three books; about the Wyrdmarks and the Wyrdkeys themselves, comes into play once more and we finally see the full extent of what the King has planned for them. This book felt like a conclusion to part of Celaena’s journey. Though there is still much further for her to go a lot of her questions were answered; and the things she discovered along the way, Elena’s tomb and the tower in the castle, seemed to fall into place.
I left it a long time before finally started Maas’s Throne of Glass series; on one hand I had four books to read pretty much one after the other, but on the other I now feel like there a horrible long wait for the fifth book to be released. This happens every time I start a series which hasn’t yet ended. You’d think I’d have learnt by now.
As for everyone who hasn’t yet read Queen of Shadows; if you thought Heir of Fire was heartbreaking just wait until you read this one!
What did you think of Queen of Shadows? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.