Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #4)
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: ebook
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, YA
Publication Date: 1 September 2015
The queen has returned.

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.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

“What if we go on,” he said, “only to more pain and despair? What if we go on, only to find a horrible end waiting for us?” 
Aelin looked northward, as if she could see all the way to Terrasen. “Then it is not the end.” 
-Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

*Caution: slight spoilers for the previous books in the series.*

When I began this series I had no idea what amazing characterizations I was in for. While I enjoyed the first book, I must admit that I didn't give the author as much credit as she deserved for the characters she introduces us to--especially Celaena. From that first book to now it has been such a pleasure to watch each and every character grow and develop.  In this story each character is tested and stretched, ultimately growing right along with the MC. Even Chaol's arc, though annoying at times, is completely true to his character as he is forced to take a side for the first time in his life. His internal struggle becomes vitrolic, and he has to figure out what he stands for before being able to move forward.

Celaena herself has one of the strongest character arcs I have come across in all my reading. And you know what? I love her. I utterly admire the woman. In this story we find the post-breakdown Celaena; the woman who emerged from her own personal struggle in Heir of Fire. She remains the sassy and cunningly lethal Celaena that we all know and love, yet she no longer feels like she has to defend her past or her current choices. She has come to terms with who she is, and is now working to join that with the many facets of her past. She has always been the one who is able to make the hard decisions, but now she understands the ramifications of those decisions. In this book we see her begin to grow into her role as a queen, until she becomes one who is terrifyingly strong and wise, yet merciful and kind. She's come a long way from the traumatized and vicious girl she once was.

Just as in the last book, Maas continues her story with 3-dimensional, well-written villains; their nefarious arcs joining with many others to create a story that I literally could not put down until I had finished. Give me a good villain and I'll show you a good book. Maas has that here in Queen of Shadows.

I cried at parts; I cheered or gasped out loud at others. This world and these characters were alive for me as I read each and every agonizing detail of their lives. I debated whether or not I should read this one so close to having read Heir of Fire, as I had really enjoyed that one. I'm glad I picked it up, though, because I adored every moment.

When I began reading the first book in the series I didn't expect to become so enmeshed in the lives of these characters. Yet here I am four books in, and I find the story absolutely satisfying in every regard, even when it's tearing my heart open.

Read this if:
...you enjoy fantasy, strong characters, and having the odds stacked against you.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Typical battle scene and fighting gore (not a lot of detail), mentions of cruel punishments such as dead men hanging from a gate, kissing, non-descriptive talk of sex, and a few swear words.}

Other Books in the Series:

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