Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publication date: Sept 2, 2014
Source: an ARC provided from the publisher for an honest review
Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.
While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?
In Throne of Glass, I was enthralled and couldn't wait to start the second book. It involved a love triangle, but hey, meeting Celaena rocked. During the sequel, Crown of Midnight, things became more tense. Then the ending absolutely killed me because I felt like someone was taking me off oxygen. So imagine combining my feelings for those two and how they ended...and you won't even get close to how I felt for this ending.
Granted, the beginning was slow. Sloooooow. The thing that kept me going was how much I love the series, knew how great it WILL be, and that I was already invested into the story. The book is big, but it isn't even that. Nothing felt progressive or that interesting in the beginning to keep me connected. I read and then waited a long period until I read again (aka the worst reading pattern ever). Comparing it to its predecessors, it loses in that area. For me, the others were better paced and kept me wanting more. With Heir of Fire, I only reached that point after many pages.
Maas introduced us to a couple people and placed some stepping stones into the story for later use. Then finally, FINALLY, we reached around the midpoint or sooner and things started picking up. Like I said, we met a few important people.
1. Manon. Manon, the Blackbeak witch and ruthless leader, really intrigued me. We meet her in a gruesome, creepy way (which I don't think is fair to you if I divulge how). At first, I actually wondered if we should sympathize for her (hint: no) because of how we meet. But while it's a little jarring to be introduced to a supposedly random character, believe me, she's fun to know. As Jen mentioned in her review and in our own conversation with each other, Manon's wyvern, Abraxos, is VERY alike to Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon (the movie version). So you can see that Manon is all kinds of awesome.
2. Aedion. Celaena's (or Aelin's) cousin and the mysterious fellow. I say mysterious because for me, I wasn't sure how I should feel about him. He's presented as a threat to the other characters then as a potential backstabber before becoming a possible love interest. But no matter what you think or believe, Aedion comes with surprises. Oh, the surprise.
3. Rowan. Most importantly, we meet Rowan. CURSE YOU, ROWAN.
I NEEDED to hate Rowan. I felt the threat and dread immediately and wanted to make it stop. I felt like a train was barging through and it was only me against this huge train to not trample a couple strapped to the train tracks. But you can guess what happened.
Rowan charmed me. Unintentionally, of course. You can really give Maas those powerful applauses for achieving this kind of character depth. In my opinion, it's hard to charm readers when the character isn't charming. Rowan is hard. Soldierly. Tough. Unemotional. We don't know much about him. He gives Celaena bruises and no excuses. Mysterious. For a major portion of his story, we don't really know much about him. But somehow, some way, Maas makes us like him. Because he's teased as upcoming competition for Chaol, I wanted him far, far away. Despite all this, Maas made me like him. I was determined not to and completely failed.
Romance isn't emphasized and if it's mentioned at all, it's mostly between Dorian and his new girl. However, Celaena mentions Chaol, but we see her resigning that they have no hope together (GIRL, NO). It's amazing to me that even though apart, I still felt their strong tether to each other. Chaol was pushed to tweak his thinking (thank you, Dorian). Celaena matured. Through their separate changes, their relationship actually strengthened in some ways. For all of you who are worrying about a love triangle (again) with Celaena, so far, there's no actual evidence that there'll be one. But like so many books these days (fantasy, nonetheless), there's that feeling that it will happen. Implication, assumption, instinct...whatever you want to call it. Rowan does become even more desirable towards the end, but I Chaol is still in it!
While things picked up in the latter half of the book, the last couple of chapters contained the biggest emotional punches. THINGS HAPPEN. Confessions are made throughout the book and tensions rise, but the last few chapters gave me whiplash. I repeat, things happen. Things I wish I could capitalize, rant about, and just talk about. I looked like a zombie after finishing, disbelieving what happened in, I think, the last 50 pages of the book. My sister even laughed at my mutterings and exclamations. If any book deserved tons of exclamation marks, it's this one.