Publication Date: September 11th 2014
Purchase: The Book Depository / Waterstones
She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.I have been waiting to read this book for a very, very long time! I am so happy that I've finally finished it so that I can read Queen of Shadows as soon as it's released! This is the final book in my Throne of Glass re-readathon and I have to say I really enjoyed it! I'm debating with myself whether it meets all of the hype it receives. In my mind it's definitely the best book so far because it really opens up Celaena's world and allows you to get a glimpse into just what the King of Ardalan is up to in his advancements of his plans for domination. So without further ado, what did I think of this third volume in this epic high fantasy series?
Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth...a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.
Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.
When reading this book I found myself thinking that this book felt like a combination of the extension of a series and also the first book in the series. I've found myself thinking this due to the journey that Celaena goes through, and when comparing it to the series overall it shares some qualities with the very first book such as learning to control her powers and the large battle at the end of the book. I'm very glad that this book has that feeling to it because those were some of the qualities I really appreciated about the first book. When we're first introduced to Celaena's character we watch as she develops from the scrawny and ill-equipped girl straight out of the mines of Endovier to then training for the competition and then eventually having to fight Cain. As I've mentioned this novel doesn't seem to dissimilar. In terms of a downfall, really the only one that I could highlight was the pace of the novel. The first half did feel extremely slow in comparison to what we've come to expect from previous books in this series. Whether this felt this way because of the similarities to the introduction of a first novel, I don't know but I definitely preferred the second half of this book to the first. It just seemed to be a lot more action packed and the pace picked up really well. It definitely changed my perspective of the book because originally I was only going to give this book a three star rating.
What I really enjoyed reading about this plot that was how intense some of the scenes were. This book really steps up it's game with it's writing. Some of the scenes were extremely detailed - not only with the surroundings (which were fresh, new and very visual) but also the descriptions of some of Celaena's emotions and actions. As Celaena comes to understand exactly who she is and embraces herself as Aelin, the reader can also see this development in the writing of her character. She still has the characteristics of a character that we know to love but she also brings a fresh new feel to her, and Maas seems to pull this off effortlessly! In terms of the plot, this book is very much split into three distinct storylines as we follow Celaena in Wendlyn, Chaol, Dorian and Aedion in Rifthold and Manon with the witch tribes training the Wyverns. In the beginning I thought this was going to be quite tricky to do as the characters were so far apart in terms of the distance, but Mass did an amazing job at making each of the POV's interesting enough so that whenever you left one off you didn't find yourself disappointed that you had to wait a few chapters to return to that particular story because you were flung back into the world of one of the other characters.
Linking very strongly to this we're also introduced to a fresh cast of characters to stand beside the ones we already adore. For me my favourite had to be Manon, and I know this is a popular opinion but Maas writes Manon as such a kickass female who literally won't take shit from anyone. We do get to see this type of character in Celaena but it's not as prominent as it's mixed more with raw emotion. Manon's justification is limited - this is not to say of course that she's heartless because at times in this story you do feel bad for her- especially when she's under the pressure of her grandmother to do well. I really enjoyed where Manon's characterisation and storyline was going and I'm really interested to see how her story begins to merge with Celaena/Aelin's as Maas has already hinted at that for Queen of Shadows. Another character I really enjoyed was Rowan - I thought he was a very complex character. Torn between his duty and his responsibilities to Aelin, it was really nice to see how developed he was becoming over the course of the book. Very similarly to Chaol I wasn't a fan of him in the beginning of the book but he definitely grew on me as the story progressed. He's even managing to compete with Dorian for shipping rights!
Speaking of Dorian, oh my goodness the transformation he took in this book! In the previous instalment Dorian was coming into his abilities and these took hold of him in terms of how anxious he was of people finding out. There was a beautiful little relationship in the novel as well between him and one of the healing apprentices which was so cute and I really did start to ship it (even though I'm a hardcore Celorian fan) but naturally Maas couldn't let us readers be happy so she had to sacrifice Dorian's chance at happiness. This event really set Dorian up for future books as the impact his explosion has at the end of the novel and the way his father now controls him with the collar - oh my goodness. Just too many emotions in those few chapters. It makes me eagerly await Queen of Shadows with everything I am. As for Aedion's character, he was very hit or miss for me. I'll be interested to see how his character plays out in the following instalment because with Aelin back in Rifthold. I did enjoy his sarcastic attitude though - it made for an interesting read when we weren't reading from Celaena/Manon's points of view.
So overall this was a fantastic instalment in this series, one that I feel was definitely necessary for readers to get an overview into Aelin's world and it's certainly set up the interesting story arc for the next book in this series. Although I did really enjoy it, I didn't see it as a perfect book - the pacing really threw it off for me so because of this reason I award Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas a 4 out of 5 star rating on my classification scale. I eagerly await Queen of Shadows with great anticipation because where we got left in Heir of Fire just wasn't enough to quench my thirst for this series. I 100% need more of this world!