Review: Queen of Shadows

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Goodreads Summary:

The queen has returned.

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 has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. 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.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series contrinues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world. 

Overall, I wasn’t as enthralled with this installment as I was any of the previous three, and I thought it was a little longer than really necessary. However, I was never bored with it and it was still thoroughly enjoyable. Warning though, these first two paragraphs are going to be a bit ranty. . .

I didn’t read this the day I bought it so I was able to see some of the initial reactions to it, and I get what everyone was ranting about. I hate how Chaol and Aelin treat each other in the first half of the book. And I empathized more with Chaol then Aelin with all this angst. I definitely didn’t recognize these two characters as the ones I left in the third book.

Aelin reminded me so much of how she was in the first book: hell bent on her endgame no matter who gets hurt on the way, vengeful, and careless. She didn’t seem to care about taking back her thrown until about the last third of the book, which really annoyed me. She was so secretive and distrusting. She went back on promises to Aedion, she continued to blame Chaol for everything that was wrong in her life, and she was so immature. I was really disappointed with her for so much of this book. However, to make up for Aelin’s lacking, Manon became such a strong character in this one, I loved her chapters and her interactions with Elide and her thirteen. This was also the first book I felt truely interested in Dorian, his chapters were so short but so powerful.

On Chaoleana: I’m pretty upset about how this has played out. I still think they could have been a great couple, especially with their different nationalities, they could help bridge the gap! I just don’t like the Aelin/Rowan thing. There are so many issues with it, and I really liked that there was a strong platonic relationship going since she’s been with Dorian and Chaol already.I’m going to agree with a lot of other people out there, who think Maas changed her mind on things between the 3rd and 4th books. I mean there were all those moments with the symbolism of Brannon and Eleana / Celeana and Chaol. Rowan saying she’s another man’s woman, as if she’s already mated (seemed like Maas tried to convince us that was Sam in this book, I didn’t fall for that), and then with Rowan already having mated and then being so consumed with love for Aelin. I just don’t buy it. And most dissapointing, these two new romances I think are the most lacking Maas has given us, it’s so flat and cheesy. At least we’ll always have Crown of Midnight.

About mid way through the book there was a turning point. Aelin finally seems to really understand the risks to everyone on this whole continent with the war she is planning. And Chaol is slowly pulling himself out of the self-pity party he’s been raging. The two of them are becoming allies again, finding new ways to respect and care about each other, and getting some major character development. They also finally have a heart-to-heart and admit that they still care about each other, but that they can’t work as a couple anymore (I don’t believe that, but whatever!). And a ton of new things are revealed about the magic, the demons, who is behind everything, and just how deep into all this evil they actually are. It’s daunting and I am very interested in seeing how everything plays out, there is a lot that still needs to be handled.

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