Fans of the Throne of Glass series won’t be disappointed by the latest installment. The standard is upheld, mostly thanks to a superb final quarter. 3.5/5 stars.
For background, check out my reviews of Throne of Glass (Book 1), Crown of Midnight (Book 2) and Heir of Fire (Book 3).
Until about 75% into this book, when things ramp up a notch and there are some significant developments, it was just more of the same. Celaena/Aelin was particularly irritating this time out. I’m not sure why. Maybe because suddenly everyone thinks she’s marvellous. Or because she doesn’t say anything which isn’t snarky or full of herself. Or, most likely, because I just don’t dig the romance between her and Rowan (sorry). For me, Rowan seems to exist only to snarl, bare his fangs and take his shirt off.
And what the heck happened to Chaol for most of this book? One of the reasons for the rapid improvement in the final quarter was that he was finally given something else to do other than act entirely as a roadblock/out of character. And one of the final scenes between him and Dorian was brilliant. Chaol-Dorian is possibly the best relationship in the series and gets overlooked because of all the Rowan-Aelin nonsense.
The other highlight of the book is the development of the Manon Blackbeak/witches storyline. As Aelin becomes more annoying, Manon and friends take up the slack. And at this point it’s worth saying something I haven’t mentioned in my previous reviews for the series: Maas deserves credit for creating a number of female characters who are smart, strong, resourceful and pretty lethal when necessary.
As I have said, the final movement of the book is stunning. It is a fantastic example of how to use third-person, multiple point of view to create drama and tension while describing a number of events occurring simultaneously. And the ending leaves us with a nice sense of completion (of this “phase” of the series at least) and hope for some great action over the final two books.