SPOILERS and lots and lots of GUSHING coming up!!!!!!
Celaena is in Wendlyn, utterly heartbroken after the death of Nehemia and Chaol’s unintentional deception but hopes to find out more about the wyrdkeys and how to defeat the King by destroying them. Her only option is to meet Queen Maeve of the Fae. In exchange for answers, she makes a bargain to train her magical powers under Prince Rowan. Dorian is trying very hard to control his magic so as not to expose himself unwittingly to his father and is helped in his attempt by a healer Sorscha. Chaol is trying to work with the rebels and Aedion to free magic so that Dorian could be protected from the wrath of the King and hopefully Celaena too. But all hell breaks loose towards the end, lives are lost, oaths are broken and none of them are ever going to be the same again. We are also introduced to the Ironteeth witches who have aligned with the King to form an aerial legion flying the deadly wyverns.
This book is by far the best in the series in terms of world building because the plot is no more restricted to Rifthold. The witches are getting trained in another part of Erilea and it was good to see most of the places in the map navigated in the plot. We also get to know more about the kingdom of Wendlyn, its royalty, the immortal lands of Doranelle and the fraught relationships between humans, pure blooded Fae and the demi-Fae. All this gives the series a feel of being an epic fantasy which is what I have been waiting for. There is also a lot of display of magic and I really enjoyed it.
Dorian and Sorscha’s love track felt a little forced for me and I didn’t really feel invested in it much (okay may be I am biased coz I used to love the idea of Celaena and Dorian together). But he is also very lonely at this point in the story, so I could understand his need for a companion. But the ending is so sudden and brutal and Dorian’s fate just left me devastated and numb and utterly dreadful for the next installment. It was good to see Chaol finally do something against the King, even if it was just to make sure Dorian is not caught, but his apprehension of Celaena every step of the way just makes me not like him more and more. His loss at the end is probably the most profound and he is left utterly alone with his world shattered but I hope he will be able to come back from it.
Manon Blackbeak is absolutely scary in the beginning as the cruel, bloodthirsty and vicious witch. I couldn’t believe we were getting another villain to hate along with those beastly killer wyverns. Until everything changes midway through when Manon and Abraxos choose each other. The sweet flower sniffing wyvern is anything but beastly and the way their bond changes Manon in irrevocable ways was very interesting to read. The scene before she is made Wing Leader is so emotional and made me sobbb (as usual) and I am waiting to see how this pair is going to change the fate of the upcoming war.
Aedion Ashryver is officially one of my new favorite character of the series (there can’t just be one favorite now… I love all of them!!!). He is arrogant, strong, brave but what is most striking is his blind loyalty and love for his cousin whom he believed dead for a decade. Any scene where he reminisces about her and their childhood makes me very emotional. The one scene where Celaena dreams about an incident from their younger days brought a big smile on my face but also sadness for their long separation. I am really looking forward to what lengths she will go to after she learns of his fate.
Now coming to our best badass assassin ever. Celaena is no more the sassy arrogant one but a broken shell drowning in her own sorrow and guilt. Rowan doesn’t help when on the pretext of training, he beats her up both physically and emotionally. It was really difficult for me to get through the first half of their story because of all his abuse. But the second half totally turned their relationship on its head. Not only do we get to know his painful history, we also see how both of them are essentially punishing themselves. The evolution of their friendship is very organic and well written. I loved the trust they came to have in each other to the point that they were ready to sacrifice their lives for the other. They both help each other to walk the path out of the darkness in their lives and accept their future. The display of her true powers was a delight to read about and she does it in her own flamboyant arrogant way. The choices they make at the end make for very interesting plotlines in the next books. Also special mention to Emrys and Luca who give her friendship and trust and space when she needed it the most and I hope we’ll meet them again.
With all the revelations in this book, the excellent plot and the exciting possibilities for the next book, this series is turning into one of my favorites ever. I expect Queen of Shadows to have so much more action and I can’t wait for the lives of all these awesome characters to converge.
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟