- Page Count: 562
- Release Date: September 2, 2014
- My Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads book description:
She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one. Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.
Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.
The king’s assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Crown of Midnight.
Fireheart – why do you cry? “Because I am lost,” she whispered onto the earth. “And I do not know the way.”
This seriously might be the most emotional book I’ve ever read. I’m going through this series for the fourth time and need to rewrite this whole fangirling review in some attempt to explain how amazing Maas is…
(There might be a minor spoiler with how I refer to Celaena in the next sentence, buuuut I’m not sure how anyone’s avoided that by this point): this is the book where it’s kind of confusing whether I should call her Celaena or Aelin because she’s both, yet neither…
The series has always been about Celaena’s journey for me, so this is definitely my favorite Throne of Glass book. This is the point where she faces her past, tries to forgive herself, and finally accepts herself as Aelin. She completely breaks apart, finds herself at rock bottom, and rebuilds herself into a new person. Her character growth is brutally raw and just incredibly & painfully realistic. Like my personality is COMPLETELY different from hers, yet I have never connected with a character this much. You can actually feelher despair, isolation, grief, and guilt. The whole story is an emotional rollercoaster and is still one of the few books that can make me legitimately tear up (that whole “get up” scene towards the end… omg).
Celaena spends most of the book training with Rowan, who’s also trying to heal in his own way. (And the way that Feyre & Rhys helped each other recover from Under the Mountain really reminded me of Celaena & Rowan’s journey the first time I read ACOMAF). They’re both broken but figure it out together:
”Someone who might – who did understand what it was like to be crippled at your very core, someone who was still climbing inch by inch out of that abyss. Perhaps they would never get out of it, perhaps they would never be whole again, but…
“Together she said, and took his outstretched hand.
And somewhere far and deep inside her, an ember began to glow.
All of her character growth in this book is beyond impressive and SO well executed. The last 20% of this book is intense, but the rest of it moves at a slightly slower pace (which still totally works). So the second and fourth books are a lot more action-packed, but I think this third book REALLY gives the series the character growth and substance it needs in order to be so powerful.
Side note: I feel like people usually need to break and seriously remake themselves in order to be as strong as Aelin ends up being. Otherwise it’s just some hollow facade and the characters don’t work. (Like “badass assassin” is NOT Celaena’s identity or personality. It’s a persona she adopted in order to survive. She is more than that front… complex characters are ok).
Everyone else’s storylines here really pale in contrast to Celaena/Aelin’s, though. Like I absolutely adore Manon in the following books, but really didn’t care about much except for her scenes with Abraxos. Her wyvern is basically Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon and they’re just straight up adorable together.
And then the characters I initially thought I wanted to see more of, like Chaol and Dorian, weren’t terribly interesting in this book either. Dorian mostly tried to find ways to hide his magic and winds up in increasingly worse situations. Chaol sits in a lot of different chairs in different locations. Aedion walks a lot… they ponder stuff. Their stories were fine but mostly a lot of preparing for the next book.
And can someone please give Dorian a hug?!? That poor, lovable guy is so alone and ignored (even in Celaena’s flashbacks to when she met him as a kid). I adore his friendship with Celaena and how they can both see and accept each other as they are. And he knows Chaol loved a very narrow image of her:
”[Celaena] was not becoming anything different from what she always was and always had the capacity to be. You just finally saw everything. And once you saw that other part of her… you cannot pick and choose what parts of her to love.”
“As for Celaena, you do not have the right to wish she were not what she is. The only thing you have a right to do is decide whether you are her enemy or her friend.”
I really don’t understand how people say Chaol’s out of character in this book… he’s just in a confusing place and his entire identity is in question since he can no longer stand by everything he swore to defend. I actually don’t think anyone’s out of character here because people grow & change with life’s events and Maas does a great job of showing that. Especially with Aelin:
“She didn’t know what she needed… If she felt like admitting it, she actually didn’t have the faintest clue who the hell she was anymore. All she knew was that whatever and whoever climbed out of that abyss of despair and grief would not be the same person who had plummeted in. And maybe that was a good thing.”
Oh, and my favorite part of this book is actually the setting of Mistward. Is it horrible that I’m a tiny bit hopeful that the last book will go back there?