Thursday, December 24, 2015

Queen of Shadows: Book Review

Hello! YanderePanda here! As promised, I have the Throne of Glass: Queen of Shadows Book review here, immediately following the Heir of Fire Book Review! We are currently with the fourth book in the series, out of the possible six, and so much transition has taken place in this fourth installment!
BTW, I've noticed that there are hardly any book summaries out there. (I'm looking at you, Wikia.) Basically all my reviews from now on will consist of a summary and a review section, for anyone wishing to get the general run-down. Don't want spoilers? Then gee, idk, maybe one should not be looking at this. Just Super Saiyan.

Definitely the coolest cover so far!


So this book came out more recently, in September. So finally, I am actually caught up with the series in terms of updates. (As mentioned earlier, I kinda gave up on a lot of YA fiction prior to reading this series, hence the reason  why I haven't really discovered these books till a few months ago.) 
This book is definitely a lot faster paced than Heir of Fire, but still not as fast as the first two books. There's not as much buildup needed for this story, as the magical concepts and stuff with the Fae was pretty much explained for the most part in the predecessor. Now, actual schizz starts to happen, with Aelin back in Ardalan, ready to confront Arobynn, find the third Wyrdkey, destroy the King, etc. Celaena is truly gone, as in the book, she is always referred to as Aelin in the narrative and she makes people refer to her as such. It's clear that she's ready to take her throne, once all this crap is over.
Comes back to Ardalan via ship, goes to where Arobynn is, and the two reunite after quite some time. It's pretty clear that he's not this father-figure care-taker person that he was stated to be in Throne of Glass, as Aelin knows the full on truth of what exactly this a**hat has done. Found her frozen by a river, took her Amulet, aka the Third Wyrdkey, made her become an Assassin, turned her into a weapon, manipulated her for his own gain. He was the reason for the death of her first lover and had a role in her going to Endovier. Basically, a good chunk of Aelin's troubles were because of THIS GUY. But she can't do anything yet, as she needs the third Wyrdkey and needs to figure out what the heck was going on while she was away.
She runs into Chaol again, and things get a bit ugly. I mean, it's understandable, but come on... They were former lovers? So much buildup happened with their relationship in Book 1 and 2? Tbh, I was kinda annoyed when I saw the amount of animosity between these two. I mean, Chaol was kinda of a jerk to Aelin and vice versa, but I get why. She didn't tell him anything about her life as Aelin and lied to him. After he filled her in about everything, Aelin made it clear that she had to kill Dorian. Given her run-ins with the Valg Princes and the fact that there's one inside him, the only humane thing to do at this point is to end him. Chaol is against it, because Dorian was his dear friend and he sacrificed himself to save the Captain. Chaol is definitely one of the most realistic characters in the series; a lot of his actions and beliefs are justifiable, as so much as happened to the poor guy. He doesn't really have anyone anymore, and a lot of his beliefs are challenged and he doesn't know what to think. He was a loyal Captain of the Guard who worked for the King, but now with all this going on, he doesn't know what to do anymore. Chaol's frustrations towards Aelin are justafiable, but personally, I don't think he should've gone to the extreme for his former lover like that. I mean, this is the guy who wanted her for his wife and he imagined a future with her. Also, the Nehemia thing kept getting brought up as justification for Aelin to be so against Chaol, but I personally thought she was being too harsh. He did so much for her, and if he didn't send her to Wendlyn, much of this wouldn't have happened. Additionally, Aelin appeared to be a lot more female-dog-y in this book than ever. I still really like her, but some of the stuff was uncalled for.

Anyway, we get some introduction to Lysandra and Nesryn, two pretty cool female characters, one thing I loved about this book. In the first two, we just had Celaena and Nehemia. Now, we have Manon, Lysandra, Nesryn, the 13, and this other new character named Elide, who is in Manon's story arc. (Yes, Manon's arc continues in this book also. Yay.) I haven't read the prequels yet, but apparently Lysandra is in those as well. She's basically this prostitute that works for Arobynn (against her own will, in a way.) She and Celaena hated each other and competed for Arobynn's affections. Lysandra eventually grew on me, because we got to see her backstory, and then see a friendship grow between her and Aelin. Development! Yay! She becomes a vital ally for our heroine. Nesryn is a city guard who works alongside Chaol and the rebels. She's pretty cool in terms of abilities, but I personally thought she was kinda boring. Also, her and Chaol... Sorry, I just don't really ship it. Just like how I didn't ship Dorian and Sorscha.
So Aelin finds about her cousin, Aedion being trapped in the castle, and she works with her not-really-allies to free him. In the invasion, she runs into Dorian, who is clearly not himself and she almost kills him, but is stopped by Nesryn. Luckily, they get Aedion back and the cousins reunite. Yayyyy! More tension with Chaol and Aelin because of the Dorian thing! Gahhh! And we also get some Arobynn stuff going on, as the Third Wyrdkey isn't given to her just yet. In exchange for him helping her with rescuing Aedion, she has to give him a Valg monster thing. So Aelin's side of the story is basically her interacting with her cousin, the guards, trying to figure out what to do with Dorian, getting the Amulet back, and taking out Arobynn.
We sometimes get chapters with Dorian's narrative, consisting of him with the Valg Prince inside him, showing how he's lost himself and cannot remember anything or truly act on his own accord. Before, I stated that Dorian was kinda boring compared to Chaol, since all we knew was that he was some hot prince that girls fangirled over who liked puppies and was kind. Now he's a lot more interesting and I feel so bad for the poor thing.

We also see Duke Perrington and Kaltain again. And we also get more of a human-like side to Manon. She does some cruel things, but then we start to see a nicer side to her. Honestly, I love Manon. She's freaking awesome. So we get her and Elide, who is from Terrasen, hoping for her queen. And more info about the 13, witches in general, the Valg stuff, and more with the ginger Duke. He has no soul. Literally.

Rowan comes back! Yayyyy! Chaol sees RowAelin! Lalalala. Now here's the problem. In Heir of Fire, the two were clearly shown to have developed as friends... But then in this book, they just kinda instantly transition into lovers. I mean, I like the two together- Rowan's the only one who truly understands Aelin for Aelin. As Celaena, as a Fae, etc. I understand why Chaolena didn't work, because Chaol only loved Celaena. Not Aelin. But THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE BUILDUP FOR A RELATIONSHIP TO HAPPEN. There's quite a bit of scoodilypooping suggestiveness going on here. Anyway, I loved the interaction between Aelin, Aedion, and Rowan. Very entertaining. So more operations occur with the Valg stuff, blah blah blah. They capture a Valg Person, take him to Arobynn, Amulet is given back, Lysandra becomes closer to Aelin.
Finally, Arobynn gets slaughtered by Lysandra, as they don't have any use for him left and after a certain event, it's clear that he can't be trusted at all. I liked how Aelin allowed her to do it instead of Aelin just murdering him herself, because she believed Lysandra deserved to. The Keep ends up belonging to Aelin and she sells it to the other Assassin people in exchange for money for Aedion's army. 
Eventually, Manon and her 13 are sent over to Ardalan for the King's bidding. Some stuff happens, and they're seen in a forest with Dorian and the King, after Lysandra gets captured. They have to go rescue her and Chaol finally understands Aelin's desire to kill Dorian, as it's clear that he's suffering and it would be more human just to end the suffering at this point. He tries to kill him, but fails to, because of the 13. WE GET AN AWESOME MANON v. AELIN FIGHT! YASSS! It was pretty awesome. Manon almost dies but Aelin has a change of heart and decides to save her from getting crushed by a crumbling pillar thing, because of her 13's despair. I'd say that was some good development, on both sides. Manon is in Aelin's debt and eventually she helps her indirectly with the Dorian fiasco. Lysandra gets saved. Yay!
Finally, they plan an invasion into the castle to end things once in for all, at the Summer Solstice, because of magical stuff. Basically, they do stuff with the Wyrdkeys and stones and marks to release the magic that was sealed off so long ago. Then Aelin and Chaol head off to go fight Dorian and the King. They FINALLY respect each other again, after understanding each other for their actions and they are not longer jerks to one another anymore. Yay! Development!

Rowan and Aedion are busy with the whole Magic Freeing process, and the basic gameplan is that Aelin will pose as Celaena, with Chaol as her prisoner, pretending to return to the King. Unfortunately, this doesn't work, and confrontation occurs anyway. Chaol is stuck with the king, Dorian is stuck with Aelin, with Aelin trying to free him. Chaol almost dies, but survives thanks to the Amulet. Magic is freed and then Aelin is able to free Dorian, and the King ends up confroting them. Battle ensures and thanks to their combined magic, they get to overpower the king. He gets killed by Dorian, not before revealing the entire truth with the Valg Princes and the Valg King. Basically, Perrington released the King thing when they were younger and the King took over Perrington's body while a Prince took over the Ardalan King's. Crap happened. Magic was banned as a sort of protection. Then bam. Decapitation. The Glass Castle gets destroyed, Magic is permanently back, Dorian becomes the King. He starts to recover and become himself again. Chaol is bedridden, as he cannot walk, but at least he is safe. Things are amended and the book ends with Aedion, Aelin, Lysandra, and Rowan heading to Terrasen. Yayyyy! Chaol and Dorian's issues are resolved along with fixing of Ardalan once and for all!

The Review

Queen of Shadows was quite the powerhouse of a book. A lot of issues were resolved after things were built up. We finally get Aelin coming to terms with her past, ending Arobynn, getting magic back, destroying the King and the corruption of Ardalan, having Chaol and Dorian's life back together, Aelin and Aedion reuniting, and finally, Aelin's return to Terrasen. I believe this book had the most occured events out of the whole series so far and it was quite an action-packed adventure. Loved the introduction with the new characters and development with Manon. There were many strong points in this book, just like the ones before it. Plot is as complex and well thought-out as ever, and even though a lot was resolved, it was set up so new issues have been introduced. Maeve is still in power, and it's hinted that she will play a bigger role later, Aelin needs to be at her throne and fix Terrasen, the Valg stuff is still happening and is still a threat, and Perrington is still alive. Manon will continue to play a role, and I'm curious about what else will happen with Ardalan, now that Dorian is king. So many more questions to be answered. However, this book still has its flaws. There were some issues that I've stated before with Aelin. In Heir of Fire, it appeared that she accepted her role as Aelin and that she and Celaena were different. But she seemed so much like Celaena when she had her fire-breathing ***** queen moments. There were instances where she was stated to look like a queen, but I hope she fixes some of her attitude because we can't have a proper one with that behavior. Also some stuff with Chaol that I felt like was too extreme, but in the latter half of the book, he was the good old Chaol that we came to love in Book 1 and 2. Again, there were those issues with RowanxAelin shipping. It just seemed like an awkward transition from close friends to lovers like that. It seemed rushed and unexplained. And I question how the stuff with Arobynn was able to end so easily. The King of Assassins just dies from a slit to the throat from a prostitute? Seemed unrealistic to me to have a King of Assassins die so easily. He was just murdered in his sleep. You can't justify a King of Assassins dying in his sleep from a knife from a prostitute without actual training. Also, the stuff with Aelin sneaking out and doing things ahead of time that ended up becoming too convenient to the plot to help the good guys was kinda repetitive. The fake jewelry thing was helpful and interesting the first time, but then it became laughable and redundant. How could people just conveniently be fooled so easily by fake heirlooms and jewelry? Overall, a strong book with a complex plot that cannot bore anyone with some flaws and issues. 4.3/5 

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Happy Holidays! 

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