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Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas Review

REVIEW + DISCUSSION: queen of shadows, by sarah j. maasQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 1st 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, High fantasy, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 656
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon // The 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.

queen of shadows by sarah j maas

sarah j. maas did not hold back from being an epic fire-breathing bitch-queen.

QUEEN OF SHADOWS was a whirlwind, a roller coaster ride in itself. you’d expect that since it’s one of the “middle books” of the series, it would be a bit slower, but NOPE. sarah j. maas threw me on a rocket ship and began flying before i’d even sat down. QoS is filled with action and plot twists and deceit… truly a masterpiece. it was – by far – one of my favorite reads this year.

it was beautiful and AMAZING to see her writing improve and develop. THRONE OF GLASS is one of those series that keep getting better. i feel myself grow with the characters AND the author. i’d started the series feeling ehhhh, but now it’s YES YES YES. there really isn’t much i can say without spoiling anything. i sincerely enjoyed every minute of this book and can’t find anything to complain about, unlike my HEIR OF FIRE review. i usually like being picky about what went wrong with the book, but i can’t find anything. it’s just that good.

personally, i think i enjoyed this book so much because i enjoyed HEIR OF FIRE. to me, the series continues to improve, but to others the series is getting worse. you should pick up this book depending on your thoughts of HEIR OF FIRE. if you’re not particularly keen of the direction it was going, i don’t think you’ll be super happy with this novel. but if you really loved it, as i did, definitely pick this installment up!

Rating Report
Overall: 5

spoiler-filled discussion beginning!! please do not read unless you’ve finished the book. you’ve been warned.

plot and recap

let’s get right to it, shall we? we start the novel with aelin back in rifthold and beginning her first task: stealing the final wyrdkey from arobynn and then murdering her former instructor. things kinda got sidetracked with the task of saving aedion from his death sentence. she made a bargain with arobynn in order to save her beloved cousin. she begins learning more about what arobynn did, with the help of her new friend and former nemesis, lysandra. they follow the assassin king’s plan and successfully save aedion from his demise.

the next part of her plan was to kill arobynn (slaughter the awful dude). but first, ROWAN COMES BACK!!! with news, of course. lorcan is trying to track aelin and hoping to get the third key for maeve. aelin, being her ever clever self, decides to trick him and have his scent on one of the wyrdhounds she found. HAH. he totally deserved it. she gives arobynn her end of the bargain and successfully gets her necklace with the wyrdkey back. YAS. then lysandra murders arobynn and all is well. (you go, lysandra!!) especially after aelin switched his will, making her the heir of all his property and money. the girl power in this book is really real.

once aelin found out how to restore magic, thanks to the help of chaol, she sets on doing that. along the way, a few problems rise: they find out that the king of adarlan is actually planning on releasing the demon king erawan and things are NOT GOOD. then, lysandra gets caught for murdering arobynn and HELLLLL NO. aelin finds out she is being sent off with the blackbeak witches and sets off to free her friend.

they manage to save lysandra but chaol – stupid, stupid chaol – decides to kill dorian to save him, but ends up (almost) getting himself killed by stumbling into a group of witches and their wyverns. *facepalm* aelin comes to save the day and ends up in an epic battle with manon blackbeak and nearly kills her, but ends up saving the witch in the end. they go back to the city and proceed with their plans for the next day.

aedion and rowan plan on destroying the tower while chaol and aelin plan on destroying the king. however, all hell breaks loose when things don’t go as planned. on aedion and rowan’s side, lorcan didn’t actually kill the wrydhounds but gave them rowan’s scent. WE ARE DOOMED. they end up succeeding because lorcan comes back to save aedion due to his heritage. magic is released but all is still hell-ish because they’re weak and can’t run away fast enough and THERE ARE SOLDIERS ON THEIR TAIL. lysandra comes to save the day because PRAISE that she’s a shape shifter.

meanwhile with aelin and chaol, she successfully made it into the castle but – OH NO – the king of adarlan know’s who she actually is. chaol sacrifices himself to kill the king while aelin runs far far away to defeat/try to find dorian inside the demon’s body. when magic is released, aelin releases the fire and somehow manages to burn away the demon inside him and DORIAN IS BACK ALL HAIL QUEEN AELIN. the two of them reunite and bind their powers to defeat the king. BUT, plot twist that i kinda saw coming, there was actually a demon inside the KING and he’s been waiting and wanting to be saved all this time. he told them lots of vital information – like what duke perrington ACTUALLY IS (erawan), why he banned magic, and more – until dorian lost it and killed his father by shattering the glass castle. the king of adarlan is dead. 

plot twist

then there’s that problem with kaltain and the witches. kaltain actually defeated her demon long ago and the clever, clever girl has kept quiet about it. she finds elide and saves her. then – OHMYGOD – cuts her arm to reveal that she has one of the wyrdkeys and says to give it to celaena. THE FEELINGS AND THE SHOCK. she ends up putting the mountain up in flame with her shadowfire. i never knew what to think of kaltain, but after those mere chapters with her, i truly felt and loved her character. she was such a fighter and often looked down upon, but that’s what’d made her stronger. in a way, she reminded me of lysandra because she pretended to forget, when actually her cunning heart was still beating and still fighting.

we end the novel with a lot of closure, which is what i love about sarah j maas’s writing. she clearly finishes everything in the plot but leaves lots of space for us readers to wonder what’s next. so many growing questions – how will they destroy perrington? what about maeve and her dreadful plans? how will it all work out with our crew of dorian, chaol, and aelin being seperated? will elide make it to the north and give aelin the second key? – and yet, i still feel complete after finishing this novel. there are some, especially the “middle books” of series, that fall short and feel like it ends in a middle of a sentence.


there were a lot of people complaining about how they thought the characters in this book weren’t portrayed as they actually were, but i beg to differ. in fact, i thought the characters were more themselves than the other books.

the first character i’d like to talk rant about is chaol. there’s been a lot of controversy over his character in some reviews i read. personally, i was never a fan of chaol’s character. i never understood why everyone was so obsessed with him; i didn’t particularly like or dislike him, but this novel was the lowest of lows for chaol. i’m not sorry to say this, but he’s probably my least favorite character in the series. about 60% of this entire novel had me complaining about him. it was probably because i stand by aelin and the two of them were constantly arguing; it was probably because i was reading things from aelin’s perspective, i couldn’t understand (or care for) his side of the story. in HEIR OF FIRE, he said he accepted aelin’s magic and the fact that celaena is an assassin, but god, he did NOT act like it. in one of their first conversations in this novel, he’s calling aelin a monster and hanging archer’s death over her head. if you really accepted her, you wouldn’t have done that. if you really knew who she was and really cared for how she felt, you wouldn’t have said that.

celaena/aelin was hard to read in this novel. celaena was always aelin, but we didn’t see or know her until HEIR OF FIRE. it seems to me that this is how she actually is and “celaena” was part of an act she put up to keep herself alive. but after being celaena for so long, it’s become a part of her, so aelin in rifthold acting as celeana is how she – i don’t even know what to call her at this point – is. my favorite moments with her were when she acted like a queen – demanding, yet sympathizing. specifically when she took the throne for herself when dorian was knocked out, or when she fought manon blackbeak to save her friends, that was when i admired and respected her the most. in the first two novels, she’d hardly had any humanity left in her, and many people found her to be badass. i didn’t think she was REALLY badass until this novel when aelin fights for her country and so much more. the development of her character throughout this series is very profound and i cannot wait for her to surprise me some more.

dorian broke my heart, but i think he was the most developed of all regardless of the fact that we hardly heard from him. reading his one-page chapters made me so emotional. you could see him trying so hard and it’s not working out. but somehow manon blackbeak kept him from being completely devoured by the demon and they ended up saving him. *happy tears* he finally woke up when he heard chaol was dead (but not actually dead) AND THE BROMANCE WAS SO REAL. when he was back to being himself, there was clearly a cold cloud over his mind from what the demon left in him. i seriously hope he recovers, stronger than ever as a king. DORIAAANNNN.

i've been impaled

i fell in love with all the girl characters in this novel: manon blackbeak, lysandra, and nesryn. i was growing to like manon in HEIR OF FIRE, but now i actually love her. she is a witch, a scary and powerful one, that has feelings! although she denies it, it is very very true. look at asteryn and elide. they are perfect examples of manon’s love. i hope her and the other blackbeaks find a way to help and be on aelin’s side. lysandra is AWESOME. i didn’t know what think of her at first, but now i’m just like YESSSSS. it was beautiful and refreshing to see aelin with a girl friend. nesryn is like a girl-version of chaol, but 100x better. also KALTAIN.

oh, and rowan. popping out of nowhere, joining in on their journey, staying epic without his magic, ALL THE THINGS. i loved reading from his perspective because we actually see that he has human feelings! an immortal fae warrior!! with human feelings! he gets hurt and jealous and adorably happy (and turned on by aelin’s night gowns) and I LOVE HIM.

excited merida


i’ve seen waaaaaay too many people hate on sarah j. maas because their “ship” sank. i find it very immature to rate a book one-star because the relationship you were rooting for didn’t work out. that being said…

sarah j. maas finished chaol and celaena’s relationship and i was quite happy. simply put, they weren’t fit for each other. i breifly talked about how chaol’s character and i don’t think they were meant for each other. at the time (aka CROWN OF MIDNIGHT), it worked fine but now that the truth is out there, there’s no going back. it was (kinda) nice while it lasted, but i’m just so glad it’s over.

aelin’s love life confuses me to no end. so far, she’s had four different love interests. it’s not even a triangle OR a square anymore. technically, sam doesn’t count because he died but he still sorta counts. i’m REALLY happy with aelin/rowan. actually, i’m just happy that aelin’s happy. as independent and fierce as she is, aelin is the type of person who needs someone by her side. i personally don’t care all that much who she ends up with (or if she ends up alone) as long as he brings her up as well. and as of right now, rowan is doing a great job. i know sarah j. maas mentioned they had a “non-romantic” relationship in HEIR OF FIRE, but i clearly saw it was more than that. the way they acted towards each other and the things they did together, i think it was more than “just friends” and so i knew (and hoped) they were going to end up together in QoS, which they did! if they don’t work out or something, i’ll be fine as long as aelin’s fine. #TEAMAELIN <333

overall thoughts:

glass case of emtion 1

what are your thoughts on queen of shadows?? did it leave you in an awful mess, as it did me? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!

Alexandra Ling

alexandra is a twenty-year-old content creator and avid reader. when she's not on the internet or hiding behind pages, you can find her training to be a professional ballet dancer or practicing yoga. she currently resides in los angeles, california.