Queen of Shadows by: Sarah J. Maas- #4 in the Throne of Glass series!
AGE GROUP: 14 and up// GENRE: Fantasy/ Romance// AMOUNT OF PAGES: 645// RATING: 4/5
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…
She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.
She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.
*Sorry I didn’t write my own summary this time; Queen of Shadows isn’t very fresh in my mind so I wouldn’t have been able to write a good one anyway*
I’m so sorry I’ve been so inactive. I have been reading non-stop these past months (like usual) but I didn’t feel like writing a review and when I finished the second and third book I immediately got the fourth book and read and finished it. Because I’m now reading the last I felt like I should do a review on the fourth because it’s when I got attached to the series and I can say a lot about it and the series in general. Now onto the review (and rant).
So far this has been my favourite book in the series because I started to actually enjoy reading one of the perspectives that was introduced in the previous book and I hated her. On top of that, so many different things were happening at the same time and they all tied together which I found really cool and I loved that. Lastly, the characters started really growing on me and some of people’s pasts began to unravel, but the one thing that I found a little interesting was the fact that everyone had had horrible things happen to them and I guess in Maas’s books that is what moulds an intricate fantasy novel. Anyway, I will go more deeply into the characters later on.
The plot was fast paced meaning something was always happening, whether it was rescuing someone or planning to slaughter another (dark, I know😂). It definitely kept me reading all the way to the last word because all that was happening was a constant page turner, which I loved. Everything that happened felt like it had a place in the book and nothing was extra information. Despite the fact that I devoured this book and then went on to the fifth because I loved it so much, I do have a few complaints or rather things that annoyed me. Okay, first off… THE PARAGRAPH FORMATTING. This killed me throughout the entire book. I swear it only became an actual issue for me in this book and believe or not, it played quite a big part in making me so frustrated with Maas’s writing. The full book read like it was one big dramatic moment that was 645 pages long. There might be a total of around fifteen actual paragraphs in the book because what Maas did was indent basically every single line on its own. I get she’s trying to be dramatic and yes, you can do that every two pages or so, but when one page is full of paragraphs with no more than two lines, then it’s not a paragraph! Anyway, since I’ve ranted about that long enough, now we can go onto the world building. Since I haven’t written reviews for the two books before this one, I’m including my world building pros and cons in this review… yay! I know I compare most of the books I read to Harry Potter and that’s because Harry Potter will always be my number one and it is literally how high my expectations of a book are. In the Throne of Glass series I loved the world because my idea of a good book is where I can get lost in a new world and that is exactly what the Throne of Glass series did for me! Nevertheless, what makes up a great book isn’t only the plot but the whole world that the book revolves around. Maas managed to create a whole world, yet I still felt like instead of creating a wholly fantasy based series, she should’ve created a fantasy world in the real world like what J.K Rowling did for Harry Potter. One of the things that makes Harry Potter so good is just that: a small chunk of it is in the muggle world; however, the actual fantasy world, like Hogwarts, is still in the ordinary world because all of the made up places are in London, England, rather than some random fantasy world. I’m trailing on but the point I’m trying to make is this: books that are entirely fantasy based, meaning the worlds are all made up, are less captivating because there is so much less to them than books that are fantasy but based in the real world. The reason for this is: creating a world is so much work on its own that once you have your world everything’s too rigid because there aren’t a lot of possibilities to write about. When a fantasy book takes place in the real world everything seems more real, whereas a world that someone came up with isn’t relatable. Okay, I went on wayyy too long about that but there’s one more thing I want to add… sorry. There really is nothing to this book besides the plot — a very suspenseful plot at that — and the very “beautiful” and “handsome” characters. I’m sorry that came out mean but it’s true (in my opinion). There are no subplots and besides the many, many romances going on at once and the endless blood thirsty characters, there is really nothing to it. Granted, the plot is very good and I am able to read around 150 pages in one sitting without getting bored because there is so much action!
I will try to keep this paragraph at a normal length. I will start with the positives and then ease into some things that I really didn’t like!
First off, I absolutely fell in love with Manon in this book because her perspective went from something really boring to a really interesting part of the book. I loved how Maas tied her into the whole story and she really fit in with it. She is a really powerful female character aside from the fact that she is half monster but ignoring that fact, she is actually really interesting and I think that she is one of the best characters Maas has created for the series. In the third book she is said not to have a soul whereas in this book (the fourth) she becomes more human and starts to show emotions which I really like. Anyway, I love her as a character because her background and personality interests me and captures my attention. I love all of the characters because they’re so lovable and they’re very interesting because each of their backgrounds really speak for how they talk and react to certain things. Every character is quite different in terms of backgrounds. However, what I despise is how each character is described as being “beautiful”, and I’m not talking about two characters being presented as good-looking, no, I’m talking about every single character being gorgeous, whether they’re a minor or major character they are all made out as beautiful. The fact that all of SJM’s characters are said to be “beautiful” or “handsome” really shows that Maas is incapable of writing a good and charismatic character that is not all for looks but has actual depth and dimension. This really bothers me and is part of the reason I actually have started to hate her writing. *Remember these are only my opinions.* Having every character be depicted as attractive does not make for a very diverse book, nor is it something readers can relate to at all because none of us are perfect. Among the annoying descriptions — consisting of the words “beautiful”, “attractive” and/or “handsome” — of the characters, there is also the matter of their personalities and backgrounds. I won’t delve deep into this because that would take too long. Okay, before all of you SJM fans scream at me which I bet is what you’re already doing, just hear me out. The majority of characters in the Throne of Glass series all sound the same and besides looking the same as well, there is literally nothing to them besides their awful pasts. Yes, their pasts make them who they are, meaning they should sound and react and act differently but they really don’t. The main character, Aelin, is your typical snarky and bada** character but as for the others, their emotions are described the same way and they just sound exactly like each other. Also, one of the Fae males, Rowan, has an almost identical background to the main male from the ACOTAR series, Rhysand. They both started off being enslaved to the female antagonist, they both have scars that go deeper than just the surface of their skin, and the way SJM describes them is the same, aside from the different hair colours and scent (yes, scent seems to play a big part in SJM’s writing). I know I said I’d keep this ‘characters’ paragraph short but it really isn’t, so I’ll stop there because I think you get the gist of it: I don’t like how SJM writes her characters; it really bothers me.
I promise this paragraph will be a reasonable length because I already talked about her nonexistent paragraphs so the only other problem I have to touch on, is the sentence structure. And I know this might seem small and not such a big deal but it really is because it changes how the book reads. I don’t know whether this is just her writing style or if her editor is really bad, but I know that when you start a paragraph with the words “which” or “to” and this new sentence relates to the previous one, it is a sentence fragment! Maas does this so much and like I said, I’m currently reading Kingdom of Ash (the last in the series) and I’m so fed up with her writing. Also, another thing I hate: “Jealous. The idea of it, of being jealous…” This is a direct quote from Kingdom of Ash and I hate it when SJM creates a sentence with one word and then continues on with that thought in a whole other sentence. It’s quite fine to do that once in a while to create emphasis, but SJM does it so much. To put it nicely: Maas is not a good writer, but she can write really well-developed plots and she can also write to thoroughly captivate a reader’s attention. Another thing she does, that loads of authors do too, is repeat words in the same paragraph which proves the editor is not doing a very good job. To sum up my many, many rants in this post: I do not like Maas’s writing style; I find it sloppy and the narrative never builds because she writes in a staccato fashion. Everything is its own extravagant moment.
I’m sorry; I mostly ranted about my opinions on SJM’s writing, on the characters, and on the whole series in general. But Queen of Shadows was the book that made me really love the TOG series because I started loving the characters and even though I bashed the series, this was the book that had me hooked until the very last page. So many things were revealed and it was very obvious that Maas had planned out everything about the plot from book one! There are so many things that end up happening and new alliances and friendships form and I think this was one of my favourites in the TOG series. I intend to finish Kingdom of Ash and then do a review, but that won’t be for about a week and a bit so I’ll be back with a new book series review soon! I promise I will be more active this month.