Even before going into this one, I knew that it was going to be different from the first two books in this series. I’d heard so many people talk about how this book is really more of a scene setter for the next books, as well as how it spends alot of time expanding the world instead of moving along the plot. So, its safe to say that I went into this one with a few reservations, which probably also explains why it took me so long to get round to this book at all.
This book exceeded all my expectations and more.
One of main things I was really nervous about going into this one was the introduction of new characters, and so the lack of Chaol and Dorian now that Celaena had left Adarlan and Erilea all together. However, as soon as I started this book, I realized that in reality, I had nothing to worry about at all. Not only did I really enjoy the introduction of almost all of the new characters, but both Dorian and Chaol were still a major part of this book, with their own storylines developing entirely separate from Celaena’s.
Unlike the other books, this one sees three entirely different storylines develop at exactly the same time, a format that I really enjoyed and found worked so well for this book. It not only allowed the world to flesh out so much more, but also grew the story as we saw the plot expand and become more complex than it ever could have if we had continued to only followed Celaena. We got an insight into the world before the events of the books, whilst also exploring the Fae, and the witches and their own separate history.
Out of the all the storylines, I definitely loved Celaena’s the best. I really enjoyed watching her growth throughout this book, but most of all I adored seeing her learn how to use her powers and train in a way that she never has before. I loved how we got to explore more of her backstory, and learn about her past in a way we have never got to do before. She grew so much in this book, into a character who I adore even more than I loved her before.
She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.
Celaena’s story in this book also allowed us to explore the Fae so much more than I thought we would, something that was further helped by the introduction of Rowan. At first, I wasn’t too keen on Rowan’s character, but that all changed as soon as he started to open up and become a more complex character altogether. I adored the relationship that formed between him and Celaena, and how he managed to really help her after everything she had been through. By the end of the the book they had both grown so much together and had developed such a strong connection that I just loved so much.
Our second main storyline saw us introduced to a entirely new character – Manon Blackbeak – who soon became one of my favourites of this series so far. Similarly to Celaena and Rowan, through her we got to follow the witches, and got to explore the three main clans as they begin to train their wyverns in order to fight for the King of Adarlan, a plot I absolutely adored reading. I loved the conflict between the clans, and watching Manon and Abraxos become one of the best teams.
On top of that, I adored Manon’s character, and the growth we saw from her in just one book. She starts off as cold-hearted and wicked, but with the help her wyvern, slowly begins to learn that there is nothing wrong with emotion as she finally begins to rebels against her ruthless grandmother. I can’t wait to see more from her, as well as from some of the other members of her clan, in the later books, and am already anticipating the most amazing of meetings between her and Celaena.
The last storyline we followed was the one that took place right back where we started from, in Adarlan, in which got to see what was happening with Chaol and Dorian now that Celaena had left. One half of this saw us follow Chaol as he met and begin to work with Aedion, one of the king’s generals who has a fair few things hidden up his sleeve. Out of the two storyline’s in Adarlan, this was definitely the one that I enjoyed reading about the most, mainly because of how much I grew to like Aedion’s character as we got to know him better. He is so much more of a complex character than he appears to be at first, and I adored watching his character develop into someone I could really get behind and root for.
As for Chaol, whilst I did still like his character, he definitely wasn’t as much as a favourite of mine as he has been in the past. He seemed so conflicted throughout this book about both Celaena and Dorian, and I wasn’t a huge fan of how he let certain things affect his relationship or view of either of them. It wasn’t until the very end of the book until I really liked where his character was going and could once again see why he was my favourite character in the first two books. However, that said, I did really enjoy his relationship with Aedion, and loved watching the pair of them, who both didn’t want much to do with the other at first, work together and help each other.
He would see that world reborn, even if it took his last breath. Even if he had no name now, no position or title save Oath-Breaker, Traitor, Liar.
If there was one storyline I would have liked to have seen a little more from, it was Dorian’s. After the revelations in Crown of Midnight, I was really looking forward to discovering more about his magic and the huge complications he would face because of it. However, most of his story instead focused the relationship between him and Chaol, and then him and Sorscha, both of which I enjoyed, but at the same time I would have still liked a little more exploration of his powers.
However, my few early problems with this book were almost entirely extinguished by the time we neared the end of it. Firstly, Celaena’s storyline gave me the epic battle I was longing for, along with the spectacular moment when she finally found her strength again and fought for all those who she had lost. It was so amazing to see her do this and also cemented her extraordinary growth throughout this book. Meanwhile, I am still not over how much happened in the last 30 odd pages over in Adarlan. It ended the book so well in a way that I did not see coming, and really set up the storyline for the next book.
Overall, I absolutely adored this third book.
So much happened within it that I still keep remembering events that happened within it. I loved how much the world was fleshed out, and could not get enough of all of the new characters we met. But what I loved most about this book was how well it stepped every single aspect of this book up so many levels, and set everything up so well for the fourth book. This series is really starting to feel like such an amazing epic fantasy now that I can not wait to read Queen of Shadows!