Leta’s Book Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (SPOILERS)



Seriously, this is ALL spoilers. It’s hard to even say that this is a review. It’s more of a rant, sorry!


Queen of Shadows is the turning point in the Throne of Glass series. We finally see Aelin step out of Celaena Sardothien’s shadow and live as her true self. She’s left Rowan behind in Wendlyn to come back to Rifthold and face the demons that have been haunting her footsteps for ten years.

All of the characters that were introduced in the last three books are brought together in important ways in Queen of Shadows. Dorian meets Manon, Rowan shows up in Rifthold and meets everyone, and Aelin begins to form her court from Rowan, Aedion, and Lysandra.

Aelin is a much more likeable character in this novel, as we see her switch between being herself (Aelin) and acting as Celaena and Ansel of Briarcliff in front of Arobynn Hamel and the other assassins. She feels like she’s growing up and accepting that her role in life is to become the Queen of Terrasen. It isn’t something she can cover up with Celaena and pretend isn’t real anymore. Rowan played a big part in that in the last book and Aedion and Lysandra continue helping her along in this one.

I forgot how quippy and laugh-out-loud these books can be. The side characters really make the world shine and help ground Aelin as a person. Lysandra is a favourite of mine this time around, despite how much I hated her last time. Something tells me I’ve grown up as well.

Aedion is a complex and likeable character as well. You can see his devotion to Aelin in many of his actions, but he still allows her to set her own boundaries once he gets to know her again. Chaol is beginning to fade into being a background character, but an important one. His journey apart from the others is going to be documented in Tower of Dawn.

At the beginning of the novel, Dorian is enslaved to a demon prince courtesy of the Wyrdstone collar around his neck. By the end of the novel, he undergoes a serious shift in his world. I personally love his development as a character and it’s starting now with his escape from the collar.

Manon is the last one I should talk about. The Wing Leader has taken Elide under her wing, a young Terrasen girl that Aelin has spoken about before. Manon begins learning exactly how terrible the King of Adarlan and Duke Perrington are and how far they’re willing to go into the depth of evil in order to win this war over the world. She hasn’t moved against the King and her mother yet, but you can tell that her priorities have changed and that Elide is a major part of that.

By the end of the novel, everything is in place for the penultimate act that will take place concurrently in both Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn. Aelin has her court, so far made up of Aedion, Rowan, and Lysandra, and has just stepped over the boundary into Terrasen when the novel ends. I do love that Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, and Queen of Shadows all end with a change of location. It makes it easy to remember what happened in which book and where the characters are headed next.

My feelings about Queen of Shadows are fairly similar to the last time I read it. I’m extremely excited for the race to the finish and I loved all of the reveals in this novel that will make that ending filled with more and more tension. The characters are all recovering from trauma while preparing themselves for more and the plot is following a lovely rise and climax like any good book should while bringing the tension up just enough for the midpoint of the series. I forgot that we learn about the true enemy in this book: Erawan, the demon king. It feels like the tipping point has come and I can’t wait for it to jump towards the end.

I wanted to briefly discuss the reading order I’ve chosen for the rest of the series. There’s a great deal of debate about whether to read them 5, 6, 7, or 5/6, 7, or 6, 5, 7. 5/6 means looking up a reading order that combines Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn into a single book and has you jumping back and forth every few chapters (you can look up the order online). Since I read the books while they were still being published originally, I read 4, 5, 6, and 7 with at least a year between each book. By the time I reached Kingdom of Ash, I’d forgotten most of what happened in the first four books. This time, knowing what I know about the ending of the last few books, I’ve decided to read them in this order: Tower of Dawn, Empire of Storms, Kingdom of Ash (6, 5, 7). I want to get Tower of Dawn out of the way and have the ending of Empire of Storms connect to Kingdom of Ash. If you’re just starting out with the series, I’d suggest the publication order since they’ve all been published, and you can read at your own pace. Tower of Dawn isn’t liked by many, but it does contain a good amount of very important information that will make the ending make sense.

Thanks for reading! Watch out for my review of Tower of Dawn in July!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5


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