Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. MaasQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on September 1st 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 576
Buy on Amazon

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. Now she returns to the empire to confront the shadows of her past ... The fourth breathtaking instalment in the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series.
Bloodthirsty for revenge on the two men responsible for destroying her life, and desperate to find out if the prince and his captain are safe, Celaena returns to Rifthold, the seat of so much evil. She has accepted her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, there are dark truths to learn and debts to be paid. Aelin must stay hidden beneath her assassin's hood and draw on her mortal strength as Celaena to prevent the King of Adarlan from tearing her world apart. Only then can she fight for her people.
Readers will be held rapt as Celaena's story builds to an agonising crescendo, packed with heart-pounding action and swoon-worthy romance.

Many people know how I have felt about the books of this series. That I enjoyed the light, fluffy Throne of Glass. That I absolutely loved Crown of Midnight. That Heir of Fire was a slow, plodding disappointment.
Did I like Queen of Shadows more than its predecessor? Yes.
Do I think it’s a fantastic book? No.
Do I think you should read it? Well, it depends. It depends on whether you are committed enough to this series and these characters to read 650 pages of just okay.
This book is loooonnnng. I think – objectively – Maas has grown as a writer with every book, developing a complexity and density to her plot that wasn’t there in the beginning. But I also think that a lot of the delicious goodness that made me sprint through pages in the first two books has been sucked out.
Like other much-loved fantasy greats, her books have become more layered, with other characters, perspectives and side stories existing alongside Aelin/Celaena’s story. Though, I personally don’t care for many of these characters and I have to force myself not to skim-read through their chapters to get back to the main story.
And, to be honest, a whole lot of this huge book (about two thirds) feels like set-up for what is going to happen. Which might be fine until you consider that it is 650 pages long (and really didn’t need to be), which means there are about 400 pages of planning, angsting, conversation and obsessing over Aelin.
Because that is really starting to get to me. We’re about 2000 pages into this series and I honestly don’t think I can take any more about how amazing Aelin/Celaena is. Everyone is in love with her. Everyone is in awe of her and her endless ability to do no wrong. Rowan sees her again and has to spend half a page going on about how stunning she is.
And the badass speeches that are getting kind of old:

She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph.

The first one or two times this happened, I thought “Hell yeah!” but now I’m just like “Yeah, okay, I get it. She’s freaking amazing.”

My favourite thing about this book is Lysandra. Both what Maas has done with her characterization and the way she has developed the complex female friendship between her and Aelin. That was fantastic. But the romantic relationships have also turned sour, for me. My Chaol ship appears to have sunk and I find beautiful Rowan so boring – I have no interest in his relationship with Celaena or how good he is with his tongue.
I will read on because I’m too invested in this series to not know what happens, but I am resigned to the very likely probability that this series peaked at Crown of Midnight.

One StarOne StarOne Star


  1. Ah, I was waiting for this review. I agree the series has gotten more complex, but part of me thinks it’s not gonna get better than how it was in Crown of Midnight. Ikr? It’s so annoying the fact that EVERYONE admires Aelin. Ig et it, she’s awesome, but please shut up. And god… part of me is foolishly hoping there’s some redeeming for Chaol, because for me, Aelin SHOULD be with him. Hmm. Great review, Emily.

  2. Ahhh, I have to admit readinb reviews of this book is making me NERVOUS. I’ve adored every other of her books–especially HEIR OF FIRE, which I seem to be in the minority about!–but I think (the key word being “think”, here…) that I’ll love this one. I’ll be reading this one on a realllllllly long flight, so honestly, I’m glad it’s freakishly long. 😉 Lovely, honest review!

    • Emily May

      Thank you! I personally think you are much more likely to enjoy this if you loved Heir of Fire 🙂

  3. Oops — meant “reading”. How I wish there was an edit button. x_x

  4. Really great review. I actually quite liked QoS, but I agree that amazing Aelin us getting boring. I LOVED Rowan in HoF, but I so did not want a romance between him and Aelin…their relationship was perfect the way it was, at least in my opinion. >.<

    • Emily May

      Thank you! I completely agree. I said in my review of HoF that I loved how Maas had written a platonic relationship between a male and female character of similar age – then she had to turn it into a romance 🙁

  5. Oh my god, i have this on my book shelf. I really enjoyed the series but i do too find it so tedious when we constantly hear of how amazing she is. I enjoyed Chaol’s Character a lot more than i did Rowans, so i’m hoping that there will be a bit more of him than Rowan.
    I love your review, and can’t wait to read the book and post mine!

Leave a comment

Please be polite. We appreciate that. Your email address will not be published and required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.