Top positive review
It keeps getting better!
Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2015
Well, holy cow. I don't even know where to start...
This book. This series. These characters. THIS AUTHOR.
We are in full on queen mode in Queen of Shadows, obviously. Hence the title. Calaena shows up some, for the sake of appearances, but she has completely accepted her heritage and now goes by Aelin. She's still the intense, no nonsense, scary-as-heck chick we've all grown to know and love, but there's tons more to her character that we only got a glimpse of in Heir of Fire. She's ready to go and taking names. Like literally taking names as she crosses the ocean back to Adarlan. Her cockiness and downright meanness in the first two books really rubbed me the wrong way at times. You can't help but to be drawn to her character, but the things she said and did were.. disturbing, to say the least. And she still has that fire, but there is so much more depth to her now that she has accepted who she truly is and, in the process, is opening her heart again to the people she loves instead of shutting them out and running off of pure rage. Her complexity makes her one of the best female protagonists I've ever read.
We start out back in Rifthold, and at this point everything is up in the air. We know why she's there and who she's after, but how she's going to go about doing this is anyone's guess. I will say this, A LOT gets resolved in this book. Granted, there are plenty of other monumental surprises that step into take their place, but I was surprised by how many plot lines got tied up. I was expecting two for sure, but the third one threw me for a complete loop. If anyone says they predicted that to happen, they are a liar. And my goodness, these last two books are going to be downright scary. I was on pins and needles the entire time. You thought present Erilea was bad.. it's about to get wayyyy worse.
And as for the book being 650 pages.. Why are people upset about this?! I say, the more the better!
Now onto the other characters, because there are quite a few POVs in this book...
I've always been partial to Dorian, so being in his POV was absolute torture. The ending of HoF about sent me over the edge and I didn't even want to think about what what was going to happen in this book. I was a nervous wreck. And then PAGE ONE happens. Like, literally as soon as I open the book, there it is. Chapter One. Pretty sure my heart dropped into my stomach. And then every time we were back in his POV after that. I did not handle it well. I hate Valg demons.
And while I've never particularly liked Chaol's character (I know I'm in the minority here), he sort of takes on a whole new persona in QoS. Maybe it's the fact of what all he's given up and how he sees the world changing that makes him into the person he's become. He's always seemed to me like a guy who is scared of change, and has an incredible ability to pick and choose which parts of people to accept. And I'm not just talking about Aelin, but also the king and Dorian. He sees only what he wants to see, and if he doesn't understand it or like it, he just shuts it out completely. He doesn't like magic. He's scared of it. He's also very scared of what will happen if people with magic have free reign again. We've known this since Crown of Midnight so I'm not sure why his continuing dislike of it surprises anyone. Chao is not going to be the same person he's been for the first three books. His life has completely change, so while his character is infuriating to me at times, he's still a vital part of this story and I don't dislike him. His character, by the end of this book, grows leaps and bounds and I was glad to see it happen.
Now for Rowan. Ah, Rowan. I still don't know how Sarah Maas did it. She gave us Dorian and Chaol in the first two books and everyone was on their respective team. Then in one book, ONE BOOK, she made me toss all my loyalties aside fall in love with Rowan's character. How anyone can not like him is beyond me. He's like the male version of Aelin, and the interaction between those two are some of the best dialogue of the book and they just work very well together. With his character showing up in Rifthold, you see him having to adjust to life without magic. And as the bond between them grows, you see different, softer sides of the Fae warrior. I love him.
We didn't get too much from Aedion in this book apart from the first few chapters as he awaits his execution. His reunion with Aelin was everything I thought it would be.. I ain't ashamed to say I may have teared up a bit. They are the only bit of family each other has left and they totally had their moment. It was perfect.
Manon's POV scares me. (Besides Abraxos, because who doesn't love Abraxos?) She is dark and wicked and infuriatingly loyal to that wretched grandmother of hers. I know she's redeemable, but for a good chunk of the book I was hoping Asterin would just overthrow her and become the new heir.. assuming that's how it works. Which it probably doesn't. BUT Manon has some feels going on that she's not even aware of and I think in this next book she will most definitely have to make a choice of which side she is on. It very well could've happened in this book, but we have no resolution where this is concerned. And that scene with Aelin.. on the edge of your seat stuff right there. I'm not sure how I feel about some illusions of her character, but I'm not completely against her playing an even bigger role in the last two books.
I'm not even going to spend time on Arobynn because I hate him. But some of the other characters, I loved. Calaena has been surrounded by a troupe of men for far too long and it's about time the women came out to play and they did not disappoint! Lysandra, wow. Love her. So much more to her character than meets the eye, and her and Aelin's relationship was refreshing. Nesryn, even though we don't get anything from her perspective is also a pretty bad chick and helping Chaol with the rebels. It's safe to say, unless you're in denial, you will know why she's there from the get go. And lastly, Elide, Lady Marion's daughter, is brought into the picture and hanging with the witches, no less. Very much excited about what role she will be playing in the future. She's got some surprises in store, I think.
For the most part, the book felt like long build-ups. Part one was a build-up and it was resolved. Part two also felt like a build-up, and it wasn't as cleanly resolved as the first. I still have some lingering questions about that. Prepare yourselves for part two. Big time game changer coming your way.
AllI can say, is that if you truly love this series, and I mean disregard the romances and all that, and are in love with the story, this book will not disappoint.
Some spoilers ahead...
I'm going to rant just for a sec. I keep seeing some low to mid reviews on this book and they all have one thing in common: Chaol Westfall. I know people shipped Calaena and Chaol really hard, but being this distraught over the downfall of their romantic relationship does a disservice to this series. And I can say that because I am completely Team Dorian and have had to put up with Chaol from day on. Not to mention Sorscha from HoF. Was not a fan of that little surprise. Never once have I given these books bad reviews simply because things weren't happening the way I wanted them to. If the romance aspect is your biggest concern, go read romance novels. The growth and maturity of the characters is wonderful, and I'm glad that Maas is not scared to kill off characters we love or sever relationships if it means progressing the story to where it needs to go. I'm completely okay with the direction Aelin and Rowan are headed because they work. Even if in my heart of hearts I had this small hope of King Dorian and Queen Aelin falling love... yada yada yada... Rowan is the dude and I'm okay with that. So if all you're going to do is get on here and rant about, "I want the old Calaena back," "Maas completely ruined Chaol's character," "These books are too long," Guess what? Go read another series! Or some watered down YA novel where everything works out just as it should in the end.
These books are gold. Sarah Maas is a genius. And you can't convince me otherwise.