Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas – Book Discussion (SPOILERS)


“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.”

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Aelin Galathynius returns to Rifthold, becoming Celaena Sardothian for one last time. After finding the answers she sought in Wendylin, and cloaked with the knowledge of who holds the third wyrdkey, she must become her Assassin-self one last time. With a revenge plot to enact, those she loves to save, and the King who ruined her past to destroy, she is about to uncover more secrets behind the mysteries and plots that have surrounded her crown.

(I plan to write non-spoiler book reviews for each of the Throne of Glass books in the next few weeks, however, to continue with the spoiler discussions I have been writing recently for the series, I will first write and post my spoilery thoughts! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK! You have been warned!)

I had so many expectations for this book. And while most were met, not all were.

I feel like I must compartmentalise this book to coherently express my views on this fourth instalment of the Throne of Glass series.

First of all: Character development. One of the things that I loved so much about Heir of Fire was the amazing, moving, heart-wrenching character development: of Celaena/Aelin, Rowan, Dorian, Aedion and even Sorscha. In Queen of Shadows however, the very little character development that there was, was just odd. Chaol in particular, felt completely foreign in this book. I was really confused…


Sure, he was always blindly loyal, indecisive and prideful, but he was never horrible. In this book, he was just nasty – I actually really hated his character. And when his ‘character development’ did happen, it was completely out of nowhere, and for absolutely no reason. There were other characters who just felt completely different in this book too, for no apparent reason, and I didn’t like it.

The one character development that I did like though, was Manon’s. I loved her character in Heir of Fire, but in this book, she is so interesting, as she struggles with inner moral battles, is faced with the submissive leadership thrust upon her under Duke Perrington, and as she starts to discover and unravel some of the secrets being held in Morath. Her relationships with her Thirteen (particularly Asterin) and Elide were really well done, transitioned really naturally and were realistic. If only this had been the case for all of the characters!

Next: Plot. The plot twists in this book were exceptional! I did not expect the revelation from the King at the end, I didn’t expect that Arobynn would be killed, and there were a lot of tiny little plot points that shocked and surprised me. It kept me on my toes and caused me to keep guessing.

However, while individually picked apart, the plot was very twisty and interesting, I don’t think it flowed very well as a whole. It felt a bit jumpy to me: with the first part being about saving Aedion, then about revenge on Arobynn and gaining that necklace wyrdstone, then about bringing back magic and killing the King. There was a lot that happened, but separated they all seemed a bit too easy to have accomplished. I was honestly surprised that the clock tower – the thing that held the whole plan of abolishing magic and using the wyrd magic instead – was taken out so easily by an explosion.

But then we get to the relationships in the book – my favourite part of the book. Aelin and Rowan are the most beautiful thing ever. When I had read Heir of Fire I had kind of shipped them, but in this book, I LOVED them together. All of their scenes were so lovely, and the scene where Rowan arrives in Rifthold, and he and Aelin are reunited…



Despite the issues I had with this book, I did still enjoy it. It just had some amazing books to compare to…

Throne of Glass gave me the cheesy smile, heart-warming, romantic feels.

Crown of Midnight made me ridiculously emotional, and is one of the very few books that actually caused me to cry.

Heir of Fire was powerful, with characters I felt so instantly connected to, and kept me on the edge of my seat.

But Queen of Shadows didn’t really give me any strong emotional attachment. I still enjoyed it. I still really liked it actually. I just didn’t love it, and it wasn’t a progression from Heir of Fire (which is still my favourite of the series). But I still have high hopes and expectations for the rest of the series, and know that this is probably only a slight dip in what will still be one of my all-time favourite series!


2 thoughts on “Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas – Book Discussion (SPOILERS)

  1. Aelin and Rowan in this book, oh my goodness, it was just so much unrelenting, beautiful, sexy, squeal worthy, breathtaking shippy goodness. I am so scared that my beloved ship will sink by the next book given SJM’s track record, though. Chaol is unrecognisable, he’s become so hardheaded and bitter, it makes me sad. Though his love for Dorian makes me like him a little more?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aelin and Rowan were by far the best thing about this book! I’m trying not to think about that ship sinking! Chaol’s character was the main reason I couldn’t give this book a 5 stars – he was so so different from what we had seen from him before (even his distant attitude in HoF was still recognisable as him). But yes, his love for Dorian was his redeeming point!!


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