Friday, 12 October 2018

Throne of Glass re-read: Queen of Shadows

Publication date: 1st September 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 645 pages

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .
She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.
Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

You know, after re-reading this one, I think this might be my favourite book of the series. It's a tough call, but oh my word this book is truly EPIC. I get chills every time I read the last quarter, as everything kicks into an insanely high gear and the world goes to hell and it's all AMAZING.

Whilst "Heir of Fire" is the point where you realise that this series is about so much more than you originally thought, "Queen of Shadows" is the point where everything kicks off and you end up flinging yourself head first into the story whilst everything goes horribly wrong and horribly right and you realise that this, THIS, is what you've been waiting for and building to.

There's something about being back in Rifthold again, getting all of the major players together, unfolding these relationships that have been building both on and off the page for several books, that makes this book fly. I adore how centred Aelin is in this book, I love seeing more of how her mind works and her plans unfold. I love the number of OH DAMN moments where I stop breathing as I desperately read to find out what will happen next. I love the relationship that builds between her and Lysandra because dammit the world needs more female friendships, and whilst I loved Nehemia, there's something really wonderful and equal about the relationship between Lysandra and Aelin.

I love that no-one is entirely good or bad, I love the shades of grey that creep into every character. I love that we get to see more of these character's fleshed out. We get more of Chaol's complete break down in preparation for him to be built back up even greater than before in "Tower of Dawn", I love Aedion and the history between them and the new facets that show with Aelin as a result of their interactions. And I love Rowan. I've always loved Rowan, but I think I'm appreciating him even more this time around.

Basically this is one big love fest. I knew I was going to enjoy this re-read, I'd been carefully holding off going back to the series in preparation for exactly this splurge just before the final book, but I'd never really appreciated how much I would enjoy it. It's been such a joy to re-experience these books, in some cases for the first time since my first read of them. To get to really savour the characters and know a vague idea of where the story is going, that only serves to highlight just how good the writing and storytelling is.

If you've struggled to get into this series, I cannot recommend enough pushing through and getting to this point, because the pay off is glorious. I adore this series, there is so much depth to it, so many layers to unpack, and I am clearly going to end up crying like a small child when I finish "Kingdom of Ash". But for now, I'm on to "Empire of Storms" where I will be happy and joyful crushed anew by the emotional turmoil experienced within those pages...

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