Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas: Review

Title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Buy this book: Amazon (UK) / Amazon (US) / Book Depository
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.

It's finally time for me to review Queen of Shadows and it's impossible! I finished this book and felt like one conflicted bookworm. It took me on a rollercoaster of a journey, and left me with no idea how I actually felt about the book. Did I love it? Did I hate it? Or was I somewhere in between.

This was basically me by the time I reached the end of this book:


I didn't know how I felt or what to even think. This book had broken my heart about a million times. It had made me want to hurt Celaena so much, it even made me lose some respect for her and some of my love for her. But I enjoyed the book overall. Despite all of the things I disliked about it, I couldn't put the book down and found myself completely engrossed in it. It didn't go how I expected or wanted, but I trusted Maas to tell this story and had to trust her decisions. I didn't agree with all of them, nor understand them all. But I enjoyed the book as a whole, and felt it was a satisfying addition to the series in a lot of ways.

This is one mammoth book, coming in at over 650 pages. I love this series, the world and the characters that Maas has created, so getting a lot more story didn't seem like a bad thing to me. I did enjoy the book, but I personally felt like the pacing was a little off and that the book was a bit too long. There are really only a few major plot points that take place in this book, followed with lots and lots of talking and not a lot of action. I just wish it had been a little shorter, so it could have felt like there was more action in this book.

Celaena frustrated me so much in this book and I found myself starting to dislike her. She just felt like she treated a lot of people badly, not how she should have treated them. She found it easy to thrust blame on others, but didn't seem to take a lot of responsibility for her own actions. She could make rash and stupid decisions, and she had me shaking my head at her quite a bit. I felt like she was a bit of a bitch throughout this book, and it made it hard to read. She had seemed to build such a strong friendship with Chaol and Dorian, but that did not seem obvious in this book. She was kind of happy to write off one as lost forever and screw the other one over quite a bit. I was confused! Where was there awesome, wonderful friendship?!?


We get introduced to some new characters, some of whom I have little to no real feelings about. They were okay, but they just felt like they were there. But I did love seeing Lysandra again, a courtesan we met during The Asssassin's Blade. She was awesome and I absolutely loved her in this, and her friendship with Celaena. She was such an interesting character and I loved finding out more about her.

Some people hate Manon and her chapters, something I will never understand. I LOVE HER!!! I think she is an absolutely fascinating character and can't wait to see where her story goes next. I liked her way more in this than I liked Celaena, which is really saying something. I find the witches so fascinating and was happy to continue following them. I like that Manon is going through a ton of character growth. She started Heir of Fire as this psychotic witch, who has no feelings and who loves to kill humans and drink their blood. SCARY STUFF! But she's strong, an in control and doesn't take anybody's shit. I LOVE THAT ABOUT HER! I love her. I love that she is like the Grinch, slowly gaining feelings as this goes on. 

Manon is basically the Grinch!


The main things that need to be achieved in this book are simple: Kill Arobynn and retrieve the amulet, free Dorian and free magic. Those need to be achieved and I felt it took so long for them to start actually working towards them. I hated the lack of caring for Dorian and his situation, Celaena was so cold when it came to that. The last third of the book is very action packed, where it feels like everything is happening. But I LOVED the ending. I couldn't put the book down and I was kind of in awe of Maas. She'd managed to turn me into a lover of this book. when I had been adamant that it was only getting 3/5 from me. 

5/5

I am definitely conflicted when it comes to this book. On the one hand, I hated some aspects of it and got very frustrated with Celaena. It was angering me and making me want to shout in frustration. It also broke my heart in places, I especially wasn't a fan of the direction the romance went in this. I had a lot to complain about. But I enjoyed the story and the reading experience. I couldn't put the book down and I am beyond eager to get my mitts on the fifth book. I have to give Maas her dues, that girl can write a story. I hated some aspects, but I loved the journey this book took me on. I'm learning to deal with the things I didn't like, and appreciate the story as a whole. 



Discussion:





I wanted to talk about the book in full detail, so I filmed a spoiler-filled discussion video where I talk about all my thoughts in detail. 

27 comments:

  1. I have heard and read so many conflicting comments and reviews for this that I am so torn about reading it. I love, no adore this series and I don't want my opinion of it to be different but at the same time, I know that I need to suck it up and trust Maas. I mean this is only book four of six right? Lots of things can change between now and the ending.

    Wonderful review. I am so nervous about this but I know I will love it more than I will hate it.

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    1. Exactly. I have faith that Maas will get it right in the end, but I am still nervous. I both loved and hated this. But it was what I needed, but didn't know I wanted. I am happy with it for the most part.

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  2. Ooh, I actually haven't read a book of this very much hyped book yet! It did sound like it was a long book, and I had no idea it was 650 pages! It seems like it was the ending you wanted and even if some things didn't go your way, like the main characters choices, it was still a fantastic read that you sped through like crazy. For some reason I thought this was the end of the series... but it isn't lol xD

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    1. It was kind of what I needed, but not what I wanted. I'm upset about some things but happy overall. And very excited for the next book in the series.

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  3. I was beginning to think it wasn't going to get a good review, or more importantly, that you weren't enjoying it. Then, it gets a big 5. I'm glad it had redeeming value and glad you enjoyed it. :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

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    1. It did. There was so much I didn't like about it. But then it still turned out to be an amazing book and I had to love it.

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  4. OH I agree SO MUCH About Lysanndra! I was just surprised at how she came in and was SUCH a big deal and so awesome. That moment where she's all like "oh you love chocolate, I stole some from you while you were out killing someone" is just so perfect. XD I love how they both mutual eat all the sweet stuff with zero shame. #heroes
    Glad you ultimately enjoyed it though! :D

    (*whispers* I don't know if this is just my computer being a psycho, but your header is missing!?? It could totally just be my internet though. D:)

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    1. I loved Lysandra! NOPE! My header was missing!!! *CRIES* But, thankfully, Evie fixed it for me before I sobbed like a crazy person haha

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  5. Are you in my head?! Because EVERYTHING you said is EXACTLY how I felt. I was also on the fence about it until the ending and then I was back on board with Maas' vision. I loved your video discussion too!

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    1. Thank you!!! :) I know, that ending just totally won me over. Before that I was kinda sad and kinda annoyed. But I loved it in the end. Maas is a genius.

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  6. I loved your video and I totally agreed. The problem is that I loved Celaena but I don't really like Aelin. I hated how no one was allowed to question her without Rowan and Aedion freaking out and threatening to kill them. And the romance read like teen girl fan fiction to me. I love Manon and Elide though. I'm intrigued enough to read the next two but not as excited as I was prior to this. It seems like the underdog aspect has been lost now that the super team has been assembled and I'm a little sad about that.

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    1. I KNOW! I really loved Celaena, but I kind of hate Aelin. A LOT. The girl gets on my frigging nerves. YES!!! The romance just felt far too forced to me and didn't seem real. I didn't buy it at all.

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  7. AHH. I'll have to admit that while I really liked Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire was a bit meh for me. But I am definitely going to have to still give this a try Charnell since your enthusiasm makes me so excited! Thank you for sharing this wonderful review! ♥

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    1. Heir of Fire was like that the first time I read it, I did enjoy it more the second time around. That was probably because I knew what to expect from it. I both loved and loathed QoS for various reasons.

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  8. *sighs* I really don't think I am going to read this book. I have totally lost my love for this series. Call me shallow, but the ship is one of the main aspects I love in this series, and I really can't get past that! And I have a feeling that I am going to hate Aelin as much as I love Celaena.
    Great review Charnell!

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    1. I think that will probably be the case. It kind of feels like the two are separate beings, which is a little weird to me. I just couldn't get behind Aelin in this book the same way I could with Celaena. THE SHIP WAS MY LIFE :'(

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  9. Ahh, I really just adored this book along with all of Sarah's other masterpieces! I definitely see where you're coming, though. Celaena was a bit frustrating at times, but overall, I thought this book was wonderful. I can't wait for book five.

    Julia Anne @ Peach Print

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    1. I did really enjoy it, I just had a few issues with aspects of the story and way certain characters suddenly seemed to change.

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  10. Just watched the video and I completely agree with you. I actually wrote a spoiler discussion of the book and posted it last week because I couldn't review the book without spoiling things and ranting. But YES to every single point you make. I wanted to punch Aelin too. Selfish bitch for much of the book, caring about no one but herself and Rowan. I still loved the book, as you did, but the romance did not go the way I wanted it to go and in a way I wouldn't mind as long as it felt like it happened in a way that made sense. IT DIDN'T MAKE SENSE. It came out of nowhere. It cheapened all of the other relationships and as you put it, made them seem less serious and real. So frustrating. She basically hops from guy to guy, not caring at all and blaming them for everything when really, almost every bad thing that happens is her fault. I love what you pointed out about Nehemia. Yes, her fault. Has she ever owned that? No. Still Chaol's fault. My only complaint about Chaol is that he wore blinders for so long and was so loyal to the king even when he should have known the king was evil. Other than that, Chaol was, has been, is, and always will be, AMAZING. Loyal, such a good guy, etc. I know I should let my ship go but it's so hard. Because maybe Maas is going to surprise us? Have them be totally blown apart but somehow make it back? I know I know, it's not going to happen. And, unless Aelin does a complete 180, Chaol deserves better. Oh, I could go on and on. Come visit sometime and read my spoiler discussion and comment! Great video, really enjoyed it. ~Pam

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    1. I am definitely going to go and hunt down your review so that we can discuss.

      IT DID NOT MAKE SENSE AT ALL! That was what frustrated me so much. It just seemed to go from 0-100 in this book. They were great friends last book, now suddenly Celaena is a blubbering crying mess?!?! WHAT! Gah... NOPE!!

      She did hop from every single guy so far. Sam first. Then Dorian. Then Chaol. Now Rowan. Maybe normal for your average teenage girl. Not so average for a girl who is dealing with as much crap as she is and has way bigger things to worry about.

      Glad you enjoyed the video. I WILL BE BY TO COMMENT ASAP!!!

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  11. I'm leaving this series after this book, such a big dissapoinment, the characters that I learn to love are gone, the character development was zero what we got was new characters that I don't care about, the friendship as you said between chaol, dorian and celaena was f* amazing! the new ot3 with aelin, rowan and aedion is nothing compared to that, I hate aelin so much!! just because she changed her name that doesn't mean that she can erase the life that she got from 10 years being an Assasin, the instant hate between chaol and celaena had for each other was so random, after they were missing each other in hof? I wasn't expecting hug and kisses with their reunion but this was the worst.

    She forgets all her faults and wants to kill the useless human a lot of times but what about her, "the gorgeous queen" trying to have her freedom and she didn't care about her people, she was going to work for the evil king for that and blames chaol for his loyalty to dorian all this time? because chaol said it, he was there for dorian not for the king who deserved a better death by the way lol even arobynn poor guys. the whole lust between aelin and rowan made me sick, he was very wise in hof and I loved their friendship! all of that ruined because the author fell in love with that character, he was a horny teenager all the time in qos. even Aedion became rowan's fangirl rofl

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    1. I know. The characters were just suddenly not acting like themselves at all. It really upset me but I feel like I can't or won't abandon the series yet. I need to see how it ends.

      Aelin bugged me so much, it was like her whole personality was changed. I just did't get how she acted at all. IT BUGGED THE CRAP OUT OF ME!!! I know, that reunion was just sooo disappointing.

      I know. I think QoS might have ruined Rowan for me for good. I'm not sure I will like him again after that book.

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  12. I'm surprised you felt like Maas was writing off Dorian and Choal. I know Celaena was a bit heartless when it came to Dorian, but I think it was more an act of tough love, especially after everything she experienced training and fighting with the demifae.

    I think it's interesting how much you like Manon, I can totally see your point! I guess I just have a hard time with the switch to her chapters because I get so wrapped up in the others.

    I really enjoyed the introduction of Elide and while she wasn't important in this book, she is clearly going to be important very soon.

    Great review! I love all the talking points.

    Emily @ Follow the Yellow Book Road

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    1. I really did feel like she wrote them off. Celaena treated them both so horribly. NOT A FAN >.<

      I LOVE Manon. She's fast becoming my favourite character of the series. She shows great character development, that feels like it actually makes sense to her character.

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  13. Oh my goodness! I totally agree with you on all points! I feel like you had just read my mind and write it over here!
    Yeah, ikr, Aelin behaves like a madwoman when Nehemia died, but when Dorian isn't even dead, she practically refuses to believe he still can be saved and decided to kill him. Um, isn't Dorian her good friend too? Without him she will be still enslaved in Endovier. And she comfortably forgets all about Dorian for the most part of the book and spends most of her time lusting after Rowan. She also still blames Chaol for Nehemia's death, when it is totally not his fault! I want to punch her so bad.
    Manon is amazing. The rest of the witches are also awesome and honestly a lot more interesting than Aelin. Maybe Maas should just make Manon the new MC. Which also pisses me off is how Aelin defeated Manon so easily, I mean we know Aelin is great at fighting, but she shouldn't be able to compete with Manon.
    I really love the bromance between Dorian and Chaol though. I like Nesryn too, she's a lot better for Chaol than Aelin.
    I love Rowan from HoF, but he transforms into a horny short minded irrational guy in QoS. What a disappointment.
    I also think that the plot is very inconsistent. The main enemy from the previous books suddenly got defeated so easily and they gain a completely new enemy
    In my opinion only blinde Rowan×Aelin shipper will think this book is completely satisfying.

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    1. I KNOW! She was frustrating me so much with how quickly she just wrote him off. Then making Chaol out to be this complete arsehole, when he is the guy actually being loyal to Dorian. The whole forgetting about EVERYTHING and just turning into a horny teenager in this book totally bothered me too. I WANTED TO SHAKE HER SO BADLY!!! >.<

      I really wanted Manon to kick her arse and teach her a lesson!!!

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  14. See, I don't get the annoyance at Celaena. If anything, she was more rational, calculated and clever. And she assumed that the Valg consumed the persons soul, with plenty of evidence to support that, and when we read about Dorian's misery you can understand Celaena is coming from a place of compassion, not cold indifference. Hell, if it wasn't for that ring, Dorian would have been lost. And ultimately she fought so hard for him at the end. The person that pissed me off was Chaol. He could not accept Celaena for who she was. And the way he called her a monster, "bloodthirsty and unyielding", when he served the King and did nothing to interfere with his brutality for so many years? What a jackhole. Putting all that guilt on her was a dick move. And I adore Celaena and Rowan together. He grounds her. And can I just shout a HELL YES to a possible Manon and Dorian ship?

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