I’m sorry this review wasn’t posted yesterday. I was laid up with a migraine again (either injection induced, weather fluctuation induced, or just a general ‘fuck you’ from my Fibro) so there was absolutely no way I was writing anything.
This is becoming a familiar title because I absolutely LOVE this series. I remember the first book was good, but could have been better, and it’s like she used the first book to feel out the characters and scenarios she was creating, and then just barreled on ahead. Plot wise, she might be a little predictable, but when it comes to the characters and what happens to them, she’s not quite as predictable.
This is book Four of the series, and takes place back in Adarlan with Aelin’s return. Aelin is Celaena’s real name – Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen.
To summarize up her history, her family was murdered by the King of Adarlan, and she was left in a frozen river to die. From there she was found by the King of Assassins Arobynn. He took her family amulet, and trained her to be the assassin she is today. In the last book she learned that amulet was actually a piece she needed to defeat the King and his plans.
His plans so far are to raise an army of Valg demons and Princes to take over the world. Through special black collars and rings, they can force these Valg into human bodies, as long as the bodies have ties to magic. The King locked magic away, and even though people can’t USE their magic, that doesn’t mean it’s not locked somewhere deep inside them. One thing that shocked me in the last book, was he clamped a collar on his son Dorian. The collars are needed to hold the Valg Princes (rings are the minor Valg), and with Dorian’s magic abilities strong enough to overpower whatever dampens them in the country, he was a prime choice. I should have expected it, but I just figured with him being a main character and a previous love interest, he was safe from anything too bad. I was wrong.
The first book started standard typical, girl has a crush on pretty Prince, but starts to fall for the rugged Captain of the Guard who is training her. It was so cliche I just kind of rolled my eyes. But Maas crushed those relationships. Aelin and Dorian became more like siblings; Chaol and Aelin went from lovers, to enemies, to barely tolerating one another. The triangle that YA loves so much was set up, and then smashed to pieces and that was when I was starting to realize this book series wasn’t as predictable as I was expecting. Aelin was sent by the King to assassinate another Royal family and that was where she met Rowan. She left him there because magic still existed in that area and he was far from the King (aka safe), as she went back to find Arobynn.
Another thing I found interesting is in the first book, it was rife with girl-hate, which we all know is my least favorite thing. Book four throws that narrative out the window. Girls are saving girls just because they need saving, girls are being friends with girls even if they have the same history with a boy, girls are mending broken relationships of the past and becoming stronger friends …and I am here for this shit! I love seeing the “girls hating girls for plot” BS thrown out. I’m so tired of it. Once upon a time (and probably still) people believed women couldn’t truly have friends because they were too catty. Only men could forge true friendships. That girl-hate perpetuated by mass media just reinforced the narrative. So to see it turned and showing true and beautiful friendships either starting or being mended between women is amazing!
The last two books have been telling more of the story through different points of view, one of them being Manon Blackbeak. Wing Leader of the Kings Wyvern army. In this book her story and Aelin’s story finally meet. I love Manon and everything about her and her 13. They are ruthless, cruel, cold, and strong. She is basically ice to Aelin’s fire (yes, I am aware of how corny that sounds, but I can’t think of a better analogy). But through Manon we get to see a different side of the King’s plan that Aelin doesn’t. It rounds out the story and drives up the terror of what he plans to do. Building an army is one thing …what he is doing to the witches is something completely different. And what is Manon’s Grandmother, who is the High Witch of all the clans, making for him?
I can rave forever about these stupid books, I love them that much. No they’re not the most amazing book ever written, but they are well written, interesting, fast-paced, with enough weird stuff mixed in to keep it interesting.