“Let’s go rattle the stars.”
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 has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.
She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. 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.
★★★★ 4/5 stars. Don’t murder me, I have my reasons.
I feel a little bit conflicted towards this book. It wasn’t as if I had a love-hate relationship with it, but I seemed to disagree with a lot of Maas’ choices.
First, let’s talk about the ugly.
What happened to Chaol? He was this admirable character in the first three books, even with all his flaws. The point is, I understood his purpose, his place within the story and within Aelin’s life, and I wasn’t even a Chaol and Aelin shipper. But literally what happened in this book to Chaol? I feel an overwhelming sense of pity for his character, not his actions mind you. It was as if Maas decided to throw away his character development. Chaol took five steps backwards and maybe one step forward. He was obnoxious, reckless, annoying, and self-pitiful. I guess Maas forgot that this character existed in the first three books, because to me, he sure seemed like a different person. My theory is that Maas was finally unsatisfied with the Aelin and Chaol combination because of the new hunky figure, Rowan. Now don’t get me wrong, I really like Rowan’s character development in this book, because he was a cruel, “misunderstood” person in the third, but his character cannot excuse Chaol’s haphazard development. All at once, Chaol became an unimportant, background character that really contradicted Mass’ earlier intentions. Also, what’s with Nesryn? I mean go women and everything, but their relationship felt really forced to me. Her character, overall, seemed to be a fill-in or “redemption” device for Chaol. She served no purpose other than to help Chaol be in a relationship after Aelin. And again, poor guy, when I read the ending development for him, I felt so much pity again. I guess Maas really does not like him.
On another note, I feel that there were some plot holes in this book. Things happened too easily for the characters, even if they underwent traumatic experiences. For instance, the good guys won 100%, and the bad guys lost to everything. Sure, the characters struggle to get there, but there are rarely any consequences for them. I don’t want to say anything specific for fear of spoilers, but this is what I observed while reading.
One more thing, I’ve heard a theory around Maas’ books, especially this series, that she likes to only “physically” hurt her female characters. Thus far, I can see where this argument is coming from, and this book did not help counter it. Let’s look at all the characters in the book, who endures the most with violence, torture, or abuse? The women, save for Dorian. I could only give you one male character (Dorian) who is an exemption to this rule. All other male characters do not have to face something devastating such as Aelin. I mean, excuse my language, but her life is shit, and we see that as we read. Everyone takes advantage of her, violates her, and abuses her, but then Chaol or Rowan only go through a mental or emotional experience, instead. Sure, we “hear” about Rowan’s internal struggles getting over his ex-girlfriend, but that’s it. He is completely safe from harm where Maas is concerned. There is also another character I am referring to, but I don’t want to name names. She, for me, had zero purpose in this book until the very end, but she somehow was given the brunt of the violence in this book.
Ok, I’ve had my speech. I hope I haven’t put you totally off of this series because there were some exciting and great aspects about it.
Now, let’s talk about the pretty.
If I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be revenge. (Mostly) everything that I wanted to happen, happened. We the readers finally saw Aelin shine and settle some scores that we’ve been dying to see. I smiled and jumped for joy when some characters died, and I’m so glad that they are out of Aelin’s progress now. The action of this book too, *whistle*, was definitely Maas’ best performance. I love it when my problematic fav rips peoples’ heads off.
Manon, oh, Manon. Maas understood how to hone this character development for sure. In fact, I enjoyed Manon so much, at first I didn’t because I did not comprehend her purpose quiet yet, but now she is one of my favorite characters. She is ruthless, unforgiving, and essentially an “anti-hero”, but Maas complicates her further than that. She becomes more complex with time, and now I can appreciate her character even more. (And now I won’t skim her chapters in order to just read Aelin’s).
Lastly, even though I have read some complaints, I still liked how Maas finally designed Rowan and Aelin’s relationship. Besides Sam, they seem the closest in their deep feelings for each other. It’s more than a flirt, it seems they need each other out of necessity. In contrast with Dorian and Chaol, their relationship appeared to have more soul supporting its purpose.
I know my “bad” list outweighs the “good” list, but it’s easier for me to rant about the things I didn’t like. I hope everyone still picks up this book if they enjoy this series.