Series: Throne of Glass #3
Published by Bloomsbury on September 2, 2014
Pages: 565 pages
Amazon • Indiebound • Barnes & Noble • Goodreads
Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.
While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?
Send help. Once again, the inimitable Sarah J. Maas has destroyed me.
Darker, more animalistic and complex, with a spate of awesome new characters, greater sense of magic, and ever expanding locations, this series has started to fully realize its potential as truly epic fantasy. At last, the world of Throne of Glass feels as though it’s living up to the promise of The Assassin’s Blade when it comes to the scale of the story.
This volume has a very different feel from its predecessors. The majority of the novel takes place outside of Rifthold, has Celaena separated from Dorian and Chaol, and features plots and locations that make the story fresh, new, and unpredictable. In many ways I can’t help but admire Maas for having the guts to to be true to her story when it’s so different from what readers have come to expect from previous books.
But there are key similarities that for sure identify this one as a Throne of Glass novel: betrayal, heart-stopping moments of tension and terror, shocking death, and the moments of deep emotional resonance I’ve come to associate so strongly with this series.
There is a maturity to Maas’ writing here that feels markedly different. Or maybe it’s because the characters themselves have all matured so much. This is a deeper and darker story. Crown of Midnight left us in such a dark place that this isn’t surprising. And Celaena begins this installment lower than she’s ever been. But holy wow is the character development in this book incredible. At last, Celaena is coming to terms with who she is, what that means, and whether she’ll be able to shoulder this responsibility. Our girl has already been through hell and back but her journey is far from over. I dare you to not be clapping in admiration by the time this book ends.
It’s not just the growth of individual character’s that is so striking in this installment, though. Whereas the preceding volumes had a more romantic focus, Heir of Fire is all about strong friendship.
Chaol and Dorian have their own journey to pursue. After the events of CoM relations between the two are strained. Both have difficulty grappling with the incredible changes in their lives. This book actually features one of my favorite bromance moments of all time. When I think of how much this small moment can affect me even months after I read it, I’m reminded of how good Maas is at emotionally connecting the reader to her characters and their incredible story.
We have Rowan, the aloof, no-nonsense, often harsh Fae prince who is Celaena’s guide through Wendlyn. The journey Celaena goes on with Rowan in both the literal and emotional sense is astounding. We should all be so lucky to have a friend who can push us to our very limits when we need it but be there to catch a fall no matter what. These two make a truly impressive magical badass warrior team.
There are other new characters. Aedion Ashryver, the King’s (hunky) general in the North and cousin to Aelin Galathynius, is in Rifthold and ready to shake things up. Maybe get a little rebellion going? And oh man. If you love badass, bloodthirsty, utterly creeptastic characters (as I do) than you are going to love the hell out of Manon. She’s an Ironteeth witch. She rides a wyvern(!!!!). She’s ruthless. She would totally kill you and think nothing of it. And she plays an integral part in giving us an inside look at what the King is up to in the Ferian Gap.
There are plot threads that were subtly sewn in the first two books that come into fruition here. And looking back I just marvel at the skill and attention to detail in Maas’ writing and plotting. Here we have the perfect balance of questions answered to questions raised. The myth and magic of the mysteries of the Wyrdkeys becomes ever more fascinating, compelling, and horrifying.
So what held me back from the full five stars? I sorely, sorely missed the romance. Yep, that’s literally it. Everything else about this book is amazing. Excuse my spoiler freakout here for a second, though: View Spoiler »CHAOLAENA!!!!!!!! MY SHIP. MY SHIP WHHHHHHHHHHHHHY?!?!?! Although, I am really, really happy that Celaena is in such a good place by the end of the book I need a Chaolaena reunion and I need them to rebuild their relationship. I need it. « Hide Spoiler
The cliffhanger is mercifully nowhere near Crown of Midnight levels of agony. It still packs quite the wallop, though. In traditional Maas style, the ending comes with punch after emotional punch of action and heartbreak. I was alternately gasping in shock and horror in one moment, to pumping my fist into the air in triumph the next, to getting one final little twist to the heart View Spoiler »NOOOOO DONT TAKE OFF CHAOL’S RING, CELAENA. NOOO HE LOVES YOU STILLL! « Hide Spoiler that will keep me in certain agony until Book 4.
There are very few series that reduce me to obsessive fangirlism but this one is right at the top of them. I finished with enough of a gaping void in my heart that I very much need to talk about it. After you’ve read this book do seek me out. I’m @KimReadsThings on Twitter. I can’t get enough of talking theories and headcanons. Please talk to me about this book. I’m utterly heartbroken.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.
Exciting news alert!
I am beyond thrilled (and still pinching myself) to tell you that I’ll be moderating the Q&A panel at the Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard, Tiffany Schmidt, and Elizabeth Norris author event at Children’s Book World in Haverford, PA on September 3rd at 7PM.
If you’re in the Philly area do come out! It promises to be a lot of fun! I hope I’ll see you there!