Wow…. What can I say about this series.. I know I am very very late to the party but after finally finishing all the books, I really think my decision was right. And kudos to all the fans who managed to wait for the books year after year after year. I mean, these books have some insane cliffhangers and I was so engrossed and thrilled and tensed that I binge read the whole freaking series in a week. And obviously didn’t find any time to write reviews in the middle of my reading, so this is going to be a single SPOILERY rant and mostly gushing about my love for all the books and characters.
I liked the first book enough to make me want to continue even though it wasn’t great. The whole competition for the Champion had a Hunger Games effect and thankfully it wasn’t the major part of the plot, because we always knew that Celaena would win. What makes the beginning enjoyable are the characters. I just loved all of them – Celaena, Dorian, Chaol, Nehemia. I have a special place in my heart for the female friendship here. And as the series continued, the plot became more intriguing, the world building exploded and the characters went through such highs and lows that at any point in time, I didn’t know who I liked more.
Celaena/Aelin is a super badass character who is both good and bad, murderous, extremely protective, obviously “the fire-breathing bitch queen” but what really endeared me to her was her love of books, chocolates and clothes. I mean, how can I not love her. I think I especially liked her from Heir of Fire when she got to finally acknowledge her royal heritage and her magical powers. Her mastery over her powers, her absolute love for her friends and her wrath when she starts fighting are a sight to see. I especially love her insane plans whether it’s to rescue Aedion, kill Arobynn Hamel, save Dorian or finally amass the armies for Terrasen all the while not letting anyone in on them. I really hope she starts trusting her court a little more but first… I really hope they all meet up soon. I mean what the hell was that ending in Empire of Storms. I was amazed at her audacity and emotionally devastated at her sacrifice and I can’t believe that they are all separated now. Even though I am in love with Aelin Galathynius, I absolutely enjoyed the exploits of Celaena as Adarlan’s Assassin in the prequel novellas. Assassin’s Blade truly gives us a portrait of what she is capable of even without her magic.
Dorian is the sweetest character in the whole series. I adored him right from the beginning. His transformation from a happy go lucky Prince flirting with the ladies of the court to trying to control his magic to being tortured by the Valg to finally killing his father is very emotional to watch. After Aelin, he is probably one who undergoes a lot of pain because he is so good at heart and if given a chance, I think he will be a great King, probably better than Aelin. I really liked both of them together in the first book and though they broke up, I am happy that they remain friends. It was heart breaking to see when she finally frees him from the Valg’s control because she promised that she would come back for him. I wept during that scene. I really think they both understood each other very well, could really see through each other’s strengths and weaknesses and trust each other totally.
Chaol Westfall is probably one of the most contradictory character I have ever read. I was not very impressed with him in the first book and was just about okay to like him in Crown of Midnight because she loved him. I avoided all spoilers about this series because I wanted to make up my own mind and I had an idea that there are multiple ships in this series. After reading the series, I can really say that I was never Team Chaol. Even though he is loyal to Dorian, he never really understood Aelin, could never accept her completely, couldn’t embrace her as a person with a ruthless past and magical powers and a world changing destiny. I agree that he loses a lot of himself during the course of the series, but he never seems to accept his own decisions and I obviously hated him when he blamed Celaena for the actions of the King. I didn’t miss him at all in Empire of Storms and I enjoyed reading Tower of Dawn, but mostly because of the characters from the Khagan’s court and not for him.
Nehemia is another badass female character and I was sorry to see her die in the second book itself. She and Celaena shared such a sweet friendship and I loved that Nehemia had such a beautiful heart full of dreams for a better world. I guess it was really fitting that her sacrifice propels Celaena to finally acknowledge her bloodline and every time she remembers her, I feel tears rolling from my eyes.
Lysandra is probably the one character who comes closest to match Celaena in her passion and temper and fierce nature. I was very happy that they could become friends, especially because of their shared grief and Lysandra’s killing of Arobynn is one of the most satisfying scenes of the books. And knowing that she is a shape shifter was awesome and her action sequences in Empire of Storms are a sight to behold. I just can’t wait to see what she will do in the next book while impersonating Aelin and leading all of her armies. It is truly heartbreaking but I don’t think anyone else could have really served the Queen this loyally.
Manon was really terrifying in the beginning and I hated her on sight. But what great character development does she have. Her relationship with Abraxos and Asterin and Elide bring out this compassionate side of her heart that she didn’t even know existed and it was wonderful to see her change. Her confrontation with her grandmother was brutal but I hope she gets to return the favor in kind. I am not sure how I feel about her with Dorian but we will have to wait and watch.
Prince Rowan – I obviously didn’t like him initially because he was very very mean to Aelin and troubled her so much during their training. But I really liked how their relationship progressed, how they began to trust each other and depend on each other so much. But I really loved them as friends and would have been very happy if they remained as best friends with a deep sense of loyalty. I don’t really have a problem with their ship but he is over three centuries old and she is nineteen. Obviously, when I see them together, I understand how they are perfect like fire and ice. He really treats her with respect and sees her for who she truly is and that is what makes him such a great partner.
The only reason I am mentioning Aedion last is because he is my most favorite character in the series. I just absolutely totally love him. He is brave and loyal and fierce and kind and everything that I can think of. His relationship with Aelin is probably the most beautiful sibling relationship I have ever read. He loves her so much and after ten years of believing her to be dead and then almost on the verge of execution, all he wants is to see her once. I mean, how devastatingly emotional is that. The first scene after they reunite where they just instantly understand and accept each other completely made me weep tears of joy. I love that their pasts don’t matter to each other, they are just loyal and protective because they have this soul connection, it’s just amazing. Even with all the great warrior Fae males in the series, I think he is the bravest and his introduction in Heir of Fire was the best thing that happened to this series.
So, this has been a really really long rant. But I really didn’t know how else to express my feelings about these awesome characters and their amazing kickass plots. This series made me gasp out loud, cry buckets of tears and shout at the cruel villains. Sarah J. Maas really knows how to bring out emotions from the readers. Now, I have no freaking idea how I am supposed to wait for the finale… 🙄🙄🙄