yasssss. I summon thee, Chuck Norris
thx doge (is it pronounced DOG-E or DOHGE?)
So, like I said before, in case any of you haven't noticed, I stated that this is the THIRD book in the series. Therefore, there will be spoilers for those who have not read the first and second. So keep your salt away from my chocolate flavored Lays chips if you "accidentally" see spoilers. (MURICA I tell you. Murica. Who the poop puts potatoes and chocolate together? Also, it's like four bucks for like what... Ten chips? Madness.)
As seen in the second book, Crown of Midnight, our beloved protagonist and one of my favorite female characters of all time, Celaena Sardothien aka Aelin Galathynius, the heir to the throne of Terrasen, and part Fae woman, was sent to Wendlyn at the end of the book. She is now here to find out about the Wyrdkeys and Wyrdmarks and other magical mumbo jumbo. (Kudos to you, Maas. You continue to amaze me with the development of the characters and the added complexity to this fantasy tale's plot and concept.) CelAelin has to deal with her identity, accept who she is as a Fae, come to terms with her fully revealed backstory, and figure out how to fix the crisis in the world. In the first two books, Celaena dealt with getting out of the Salt Mines and working for the very king who destroyed everything she had at a young age, in order to survive. She was born Aelin, but then she became Celaena, when Arobynn took her into the Assassin's Keep. Now that push came to shove, she's back as Aelin, the very identity that she abandoned when her family was murdered and she was taken away from Terrasen. Now she has to take action, accept her fate, and save the lands. It's hard for her to accept who she is, because she didn't WANT to become a queen, as stated when she was little, in a flashback. She felt like she had no role in doing so and wanted to be free from everything, as she already failed to save so many already.
CeAelin meets Rowan, a Fae Prince aka her next love interest. Now calm down, please withhold your eyerolls. I know. She has love interests. A decent amount of them. Sam from the prequels, Dorian, Chaol, and now Rowan. But hey, at least it's not a stereotypical romance and love triangle thing going on. At first, I thought Rowan was a complete buttface(for lack of a better word.) However, I eventually warmed up to him. He is part of the Fae Queen's court, in this land, Maeve, aka Aelin's great aunt or great great aunt or something. (They're immortal, okay?) She has information about the Wyrdkeys and basically a good chunk of information CelAelin needs to know. I don't need to go too much into detail, since it's a decent amount of stuff to talk about, but you people have the general idea. In order to get the information she needs, our protagonist needs to prove her worthiness, by training her Fae Powers. Rowan is her personal trainer/tutor/mentor person. Oh, and we also find out more with Maeve's connection to CelAelin. There's more detail about the deaths of her family and some more stuff about how Maeve is actually an evil, demonic swampface.
Instead of typically sticking to CelAelin's POV most of the time and with a little bit of Chaol and Dorian's, we actually get a Chaol/Dorian side every few chapters to see what's up in Ardalan. We also get a new character, Manon, this witch that is trying to win these War Games, taking place with other witch clans, to determine the Head. We get some insight into Chaol's life, and he continues to develop. He starts to get a bit more out of his loyal to the king, narrow-minded ways. I still feel so bad for him, as he truly sacrificed so much for the greater good. His intentions are good, he just doesn't know exactly what's right and wrong anymore. Sadly, he and Dorian drift apart, and Dorian continues his discoveries about his magical abilities, while getting a new love interest, a healer named Sorscha. (Personally, I wasn't a fan of those two together. Granted, she was a nice lady with good intentions but it was just... Ugh... I can't picture Dorian with different love interests tbh. Perhaps its my Yandere tendencies.)
Also on Chaol/Dorian's side, we get General Aedion, Aelin's cousin. He's very loyal to his queen, but has no idea that she is still alive, as most people believe that she's dead. We get some Chaol and Aedion partnership going on here to try to do something about the evil King that we all hate. Aedion is in a similar position to Chaol and Celaena, as he's pretty much forced to work for the King and the two men basically are there to work alongside the rebels. Meanwhile, Sorscha and Dorian get interaction and they try to find out more about forbidden magic.
Back to Rowan and CeAelin. They are in this Fortress-like area, with some civilian people where he trains her and makes her do kitchen duty at first. Yes, make a future queen help out in the kitchen. Nice going, ***hat. She befriends two part fae dudes and we find out more about Her Royal *****ness and more things about Fae in general. Later, when Rowan actually gets to training her, he makes her shift into Fae form and refuses to do anything else until she does. Unfortunately, she cannot do it right away and it takes a LONNNGGGGG time for her to do it. She gets frustrated with him a few times and he gets all physical and hits her and they get into some nasty fights. Like, worse than Chaol and Celaena fights in Book 1. At least Chaol didn't try to give her black eyes and damage her face multiple times. Like I said earlier, Rowan is a SHOWERBAG. At least... At first. He calls her childish and insults her to no end, not understanding her true backstory, as he believes she just ran away from everything like a spoiled child, not knowing about everything with Endovier, the brutalities of the Assassin's Keep, and pretty much most of the trauma she's been through. Eventually, CeAelin's buddy tells Rowan to stop being a Sack of Narts and eventually Rowan learns about her horrid past. We start to see some softer sides to Rowan, and they eventually become friends, when he opens up to her about how he lost his lover and ever since then, has been sworn to Maeve, not caring about anything else. He finds out about her scars from Endovier and the softer sides to her.
And of course, she finally is able to shift and have access to her powers, but it's still very difficult for her to control. She continues to work harder and harder, to master her abilities. This, I respect her greatly for. She's no longer the Most Powerful Assassin in Ardalan. She's this struggling heir to the throne of Terrasen, trying to figure out how to use her magical abilities, getting her derriere kicked by Rowan and being outmatched in general by other Fae. For those accusing her of being a "Mary Sue" (I'm looking at YOU, some of you GoodReads and Wikia People.) Read this book, and see how she's not. A Mary Sue doesn't struggle like this and deal with the effects of hardship in this way. She earned Rowan's respect through her development, desire to work harder, and when he found out about her past. We see a strong friendship develop between these two.
Manon Blackbeak deals with stuff with her clan, her grandmother, and dealing with the War Games, after finding a Wyvern and training with it. She's kinda like Celaena in terms of Chuck Norrisness, except she's far more heartless. She's not exactly as human as Celaena, as she's technically not even human, being a witch.
Chaol and Aedion deal with more stuff with the rebellion, and eventually... Some bad situations happen. They and Dorian and Sorscha end up getting caught and in a set of events, they all get tricked. Aedion is revealed to be working with them to the King, Chaol is shown to be conspiring with the rebels, Sorscha is Dorian's lover. Long story short, Chaol gets away safely thanks to Dorian's magic protecting him. Unfortunately, when the magic is finally revealed to the King, he ends up getting trapped with a Valg Collar and ends up getting possessed by a Dark being, called a Valg Prince.
On CelAelin and Rowan's side, they deal with some Valg Princes also and other magical issues and other dangerous situations that I don't need to go too much into detail for. CelAelin is able to use her powerful Fire magic to take down Valg Princes and then she is finally ready to face Maeve, as she is clearly very powerful at this point. Stuff is revealed, as promised, and then CelAelin is able to get Rowan to be freed and is able to have him bloodsworn to her instead. (Bloodsworn concept is kinda like a mate thing.) Maeve is ticked off and even though it's the last time we see her, it's pretty obvious that she will probably be a threat in Book 5 and 6. (The review for Book 4 is coming up right after this one, since I read them back to back.) The book ends with CelAelin heading back to Ardalan, with Rowan not coming with her just yet. She now knows where the third Wyrdkey is, as the first two belong to the king. With the third one, she can finally take him down and fulfill her promise to the late Nehemia, as she struggled with fulfilling it this entire book, due to her grief. First off, she needs to go back to her old master: Arobynn, the one who knows about the third, after she was able to piece it together.
The first two books were faster paced, while this one was definitely a lot slower, and there's a good reason why. First two focused on Celaena the Assassin, getting out of the Salt Mines, and establishing her new life as the King's Champion. This one focuses on Celaena transitioning back into Aelin, accepting her role as the heir, etc. There's so much more build-up to the magical aspects of the world and the concept of Fae. With the subplots for Manon and Chaol/Dorian, there HAS to be a more slowly-paced plot. Heir of Fire needs to build up this transition with Aelin's character and lead the story into Book 4, combining all of the sub-plots together. If this book was fast-paced like the first two, it wouldn't work very well. Overall, I enjoyed this one, as Maas continues to amaze me with the narrative, descriptions, transitioning, development of all the characters once again, etc. However, I would also like to point out that it was a bit shaky when it came to explaining all of the concepts; there were almost too many things going on at once, being somewhat confusing at times to the reader, when elements from the prequels were thrown in along with all of these names put together. 4.5/5 Still impressive, still a good series to read for those who like Action+Fantasy+Concepts-once-cliche-turned-into-something-great.
Recently, I have been referred to as the "Queen of Shade" by NotYourBlendedFruit.