Author: Sarah J. Maas
Overall Rating: 5/5
Spicy Rating: 1/5
Queen of Shadows has quickly become one of my favorite books of all time. I already loved Aelin with her ability to rip men to shreds with her knives and her witty sarcastic fire-breathing bitch personality.
Throughout the course of this book, I was experiencing the full spectrum of emotions. It was a roller coaster from start to finish, whether it was encountering the people who had known her as Celaena in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight and no longer recognized the person she had become now that she was Aelin Galathynius and no longer wearing the mask of Celaena Sardothien whenever it wasn’t necessary.
From the very beginning, Celaena had a complex web of plans that she played like a carefully arranged game of chess in which she had control over every piece and was constantly viewing it ten steps ahead with the outcome already within her grasp.
No matter what was thrown at her, she had the ability to spin it to her advantage with an almost cavalier sense of virtuousness and justice. She proved that she may not have her crown atop her head yet but she is adept at playing at the political gamblings of bureaucrats and nobility.
In this novel Aelin returns to Rifthold despite the threat of imminent danger, a guillotine hovering narrowly above her pretty little neck. She discovers that while she’s been in Wendlyn training with Rowan, things have gone perilously awry in Rifthold.
Chaol is no longer Captain of the Guard and is now leading the rebellion against the King of Adarlan, who are saving the demi-fae that have been in hiding but are now being hunted, kidnapped, and killed by the monsters the King controls while hiding from his own threats of persecution and execution.
Dorian is now collared and Aelin knows from her own experience fighting the Valg Princes in Mistward while in Wendlyn that he is likely already too far gone and trapped within his own mind, incapable of defeating the monstrous demon that has control over his body.
Lyssandra turns out to have changed completely from the young snide girl that Aelin knew her as in Assassin’s Blade, the prequel to the Throne of Glass Series.
And Aelin is constantly reminded of the deaths that she experienced in Rifthold, that of Sam Cortland in Assassin’s Blade, and that of Nehemia Ytger in Crown of Midnight, which both hurt her deeply because they were caused by the betrayals of her friends.
While Aelin is plotting to save her cousin Aedion, release magic in the realm, and assassinate the King of Adarlan, she is also still being hunted by Queen Maeve who isn’t pleased about how Aelin showed her up in Doranelle and managed to steal Rowan Whitethorn from Maeve’s enslavement of him. The immense show of power that Aelin released in front of Queen Maeve would have been insulting enough to her, but by negotiating Rowan’s release and then Aelin and Rowan taking their own blood oath that is made out of love rather than obedience Aelin threaten to topple Queen Maeve’s carefully devised throne by weakening the Cadre that she spent centuries collecting and sharpening as a weapon that will defend her to their own deaths.
Additionally, in this book, we get more of the other perspectives that are taking place in the book including that of Manon Blackbeak and Elide Lochan, both of whom I loved for their own reasons. I felt that Manon’s character arc from blind obedience to making decisions for herself about whether this alliance with the Valg King was truly what was best for her and her people was powerful.
Elide is one of the only mortals in the novel and seeing her overcome the innumerous obstacles thrown in her path by her uncle and the Valg King was impressive and made her stand out among the other characters, especially other mortal characters like Chaol, who is as plain as a saltine cracker.
This book was filled with so much action and drama and I was hanging on the edge of my seat for the entire novel. I couldn’t put it down, I took it with me everywhere and to do everything. I read it while I ate, which can I just say twirling pasta without looking at it is a feat unto itself. I devoured this book, starting it at six in the morning and finishing it by ten that night and it left me so starving to know what was coming next that I picked up the next book early the next morning as soon as I’d gotten enough sleep to function. This is one of very few five stars that I give out but it was truly a spectacular read and I would give my left tit to be able to read it for the first time again.
If you enjoyed Queen of Shadows you might also enjoy the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series, the Crescent City Series, the From Blood and Ash Trilogy, The Folk of the Air Trilogy (also known as the Cruel Prince Trilogy), the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, and its follow-up the Six of Crows Duology, the Serpent and Dove Trilogy, and The Shadows Between Us.
Buy the book here:
Thriftbooks: Queen of Shadows
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If you can’t afford to purchase the book, consider subscriptions like Scribd which I reviewed here, or by visiting your local library or using the app Libby to borrow books from the library digitally on your own devices.