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. (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
You don’t have to get very far into this book to realize that Celaena is broken. Cracked, shattered, however you word it, she’s not the same arrogant, devil-may-care Celaena that we met in Throne of Glass. She still has that appearance, yes, but instead…well, she’s not the same Celaena anymore.
She’s a poor, broken, tortured little assassin who ends up on a whole different continent and has to deal with a Fae warrior who will hurt her to try and get her to use her powers, her broken-ness, as well as a whole other mess that REALLY does not making getting over anything any easier. She blames herself for the deaths of her loved ones, for their fates, for pretty much anything that goes wrong. And when she isn’t hating the world, she just feels kind of empty.
Meanwhile, Chaol and Dorian are dealing with their own problems. Chaol no longer has any idea where his loyalties lie, and Dorian needs to figure out a way to suppress his own magic before the king finds out and has him beheaded. Both of them are having internal battles. The difference? Chaol is not moving on from Celaena. Dorian is.
We meet four new characters in this book with POVs, one of whom is a healer (or possibly healer apprentice) named Sorcha, who Dorian has taken a shining too. Sorcha is rather adorable, and her and Dorian’s cautious, sort-of romance is really cute.
There’s also Rowen; the fae prince who was tasked with training Celaena. Neither of them are too happy about this at first. Rowen…tough. He’s vicious and a bully SO WHY DO I LIKE HIM SO MUCH? But seriously, he’s so much like Celaena and yet SO different, and I JUST REALLY LIKE HIM. He and Celaena are constantly clashing; they’re both horribly stubborn and also horribly arrogant and they’re both broken. They’ve got the most amazing friendship ever.
Then, there’s Manon. I don’t really like her that much, but she’s fascinating. She’s an Ironteeth witch who eats people and is horrible and cruel and bloodthirsy, but super interesting. Her own little story line has to do with Wyverns, which I am kind of imagining as giant hairless dogs with gray skin and wings and talons. Probably NOT what they look like, but I can’t help it.
And, finally, there’s Aedion, Celaena’s cousin and also demi-fae, who had no idea she was still alive and now his life goal is to find her. Apparently, when they were little and Celaena was still Aelin, they were as close as siblings. He’s arrogant and rude and yet also not.
Basically, this book is full of characters that you really shouldn’t like BUT YOU JUST DO.
My problem? Some parts of this book just kind of dragged. It took me about a week to get past the first ten or so chapters, but once I got into the flow of the story it was fine. And sometimes the switching POVs seemed unneeded, and a bit confusing.
BUT THE ENDING, OH, THE ENDING. That was BRUTAL, I tell you. I basically need Queen of Shadows right now or I might go nuts. PRETTY PLEASE.