Queen of Shadows was not a bad book, but I personally don’t think it is one of the best books of the series. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoying the second half of the book especially. But I have a lot of problems with it with really lessened my enjoyment and left me frustrated a lot of the time.
I’m going to start with Chaol and Aelin – the characters separately and their relationship. It seemed as though they both regressed in terms of their character development, as did their relationship. The last time they saw each other in Crown of Midnight, they were calm and loving yet distant and had been through a lot. They were away from each other in Heir of Fire and achieved some great development. They overcame a lot and dealt with a lot of their own individual problems and anger and came to terms with a lot. However, their first meeting was full of bitterness and anger and hatred which had little foundation and was extremely out of character. Chaol calls her a monster and a lair and Aelin calls him a oath breaker, a liar, a traitor and she wants to hurt him physically, a lot. Did Sarah just want to make sure everyone hated Chaol to make her other ship sail? Did she create all this anger and hatred so all us Chaol/Aelin shippers know once and for all that the ship was dead? To be honest, I’m not heartbroken that they separated, it was the right thing to do in terms of their characters and past, yet it could have been done better. They could have just matured and outgrown their relationship. Did they really have to loath each other? It just felt very ooc.
Let’s talk about Aelin.
‘You remind me of what the world ought to be; what the world can be, she’d said to Chaol. Her face burned. A girl had said those things; a girl so desperate to survive, to make it through each day, that she hadn’t questioned why he served the true monster of their world’…’She could forgive the girl who needed a captain of the guard to offer stability after a year in hell; forgive the girl who has needed a captain to be her champion. But now she was her own champion now’
I don’t know about you, but I believe Aelin has ALWAYS been her own champion, even when she is being controlled by others. She has always been her own person and powerful and strong. She never needed anyone else. Yet now suddenly she was just a ‘girl’? She ‘needed’ the captain? She is also extremely hypocritical. She was all ready to kill Dorian for having a collar but at the thought of Lysandra possibly having one, there was no way she was going to kill her. Also, Rowan got an arrow through his shoulder and she’s in tears, but she was ready to chop Dorian’s head off? Angry and Chaol for serving the king, not being able to understand it – but didn’t she do the exact same thing. Chaol has always wanted to protect Dorian, he has been brought up believing magic was bad, that’s all he has ever known.
Aelin seemed to put her previous self down (who was badass in her own right, without the magic). Now that she knows she has magic, she’s acting like she is everything. Treating everyone like dirt and threatening to kill everyone, uncharacteristically so.Claiming she is no longer Celeana, as if her experiences didn’t make her the person she is now. As if she was something less without her magic or heritage.
You know what I also didn’t like? How possessive and protective Rowan and Aedion was over Aelin. Like, sweetie, she can protect her self. Chaol confronting her about a massacre, and she handles the situation perfectly fine, and suddenly Aedion is raging, and so angry.
“Aedion turned to the captain.”You want to pick a fight, you come to me, not her”
Seriously? She can fight her own battles. And Rowan? I lost count of how many times he wanted to rip someone’s head off because they said something mean and nasty to Aelin. REALLY? What is with Maas and all these aggressive and possessive guys who growl and bite? These types of guys can be seen in ACOTAR as well.
The romance was cheesy and cringe worthy sometimes. I never felt any sexual or romantic tension between the two. Especially in Heir of Fire, is seemed platonic. Do you know how great it would have been to have this relationship, who shared this incredibly special bond, and keep it platonic. Does everyone need to fall in love with Aelin? And vice-versa. First Dorian, then Chaol, and now Rowan. But to be fair, the romance was easy to ignore, as it was not central to the plot.
Manon was an absolute favourite in Queen of Shadows, and her story arc was absolutely fantastic. I would read a whole book on Manon. And some fabulous new characters were introduced as well, and some other great story arc and developments for other characters as well. The second half of the book was by far the best when everything came together and the action picked up. (Very little happened in the first half, it was mostly Aelin’s interactions with everyone). The story and plot itself was engaging, and after the halfway mark I couldn’t stop reading. But yeah, like I said, a lot of problems with this one, so I did enjoy much less. (Also, I lost count of how many times the word whore/whoring was used to describe someone and/or their actions)
MY RATING: ★★★☆☆