Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

2:30 PM

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

She looked at them, at the three males who meant everything—more than everything. Then she smiled with every last shred of courage, of desperation, of hope for the glimmer of that glorious future. “Let’s go rattle the stars.”

Well, there goes that book. I'm burning through this series like mad. Okay. So. I have a lot of feelings about Queen of Shadows and more than my fair share of disappointments. While I feel, 100%, that this was an improvement on Heir of Fire I will never not think that the series needs to live up to its full potential. Further, I felt that a lot of the characters were acting more out of their own traits than usual (Chaol, Aelin) and--frankly--was more than a bit confused by a lot of things.

First: Aelin is still one bad b*tch and I love her. It felt like a lot of her previous development from the first three books was wasted/ignored this go around but not everything. She was still partly the woman we love; the queen, the assassin, the lover, etc. Aelin is hands-down one of the best in this series and there's no going around that. What I didn't like, however, was the relationship with Rowan. I missed the focus on her relationship (i.e: friendships) with Dorian and Chaol (I missed both of them in general--Dorian was possessed the entire time basically and Chaol just... wasn't Chaol) and felt like it really deteriorated the quality of the novel.

That's not me being a petty shipper, either. Part of the reason I love Throne of Glass as much as I do is the fact that the bond between the three is very powerful. Each of them represented a different kind of love. I adored it. I swam in heartbreak when Dorian, in the last book, risked himself to save the other two and win them time. So, forgive me for saying so, the lack of focus on that connection was a massive hit to the quality.

Back to Rowan and the entire... romantic subplot between him and Aelin.

I'm probably--absolutely--never going to like him. Homeboy literally punched her in the book we are introduced him to. I'm sorry, I'm not going to ever be keen on this guy. However, he did seem a bit more... subdued this go around. A little more developed. A bit softer. But, that was kind of a huge problem for me as well because it didn't feel like his newfound soft/caring side was entirely Rowan. You know? It felt very left-lane and out of character and just... isn't my cup of tea.

The loss of Dorian in this book was heavy and I couldn't wait until they would be able to free him. I have no idea what the future holds for the remainder of the series but I knew that SJM wouldn't just kill him off, despite when all signs led to it. I didn't think it was completely in character for Chaol and Aelin to be taking the various stances they did when it came to his welbeing (see: Aelin keen on killing him because she believed there was no getting him back; Chaol fighting her on this only to decide to go with it in the end) and I mean, that just feeds into my general belief that the characters have become something of a muddled parody of what they were/were meant to be.

I was really unhappy with Chaol this time around, too. He just felt robotic and out of character. I am saying this phrase a lot. Out of character. Out. Of. Character. But, it has to be said. I just didn't enjoy the path his character took a majority of the book and while it was certainly sorted out a bit by the end, I missed Chaol as he was and not as he is.

Romance, romance, romance.

Ah. Well. Okay... so I didn't like any romantic points in this one? Except maybe that idea of Manon with literally everyone. In particular, Dorian. Is that going to happen? Because, I'm into it. I think I'd ship Manon with everyone at this point. Can you believe Manon invented Queen of Shadows?

Kidding. Mostly.

All right. Other things to note: LYSANDRA IS A GODDESS. I'm sorry. I didn't meant to do all caps on that? Except I kind of did. Whatever, that's not the point. The point is I'm completely obsessed with Lysandra and am beyond stoked to see more of her. More of her friendship with Aelin. How cute was that scene at the end of the book where her and Aelin were just curled up, asleep, and being the Queens? Honestly, just give Lysandra her own spin off.

While a lot of character development was wasted and we were just kind of pushed into a lot of dumb romantic plots that made no sense to me, personally, the rest of the novel was fantastic. Maybe not quite A Court of Thorns and Roses good but still really, really fun and easy to devour.

Queen of Shadows was a lot of things. Not its flaws. It was... action-packed. Suspenseful. Intriguing. As usual, the world building is on fire and I found myself swooning over details more than a dozen times. I'm sure my review comes across as harsh at times, or too bitter sounding, but don't let that take away from the fact that I did find it to be entertaining and certainly did not hate it.

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