Book Review: Queen of Shadows by Sara J. Maas


So if you haven’t read the Throne of Glass Series then I don’t know what you’re doing with your life but you’re doing something wrong. Sara J. Maas’s Queen of Shadows is the fourth book in the series and it is flawless. Go read it and come back because trust me you do not want to be spoiled for this one.

Spoilers Ahead!

Ok so Queen of Shadows where do I even begin. Let me tell you I have never been so indecisive about picking an OTP for a book. Normally I start a book, and if there’s any kind of love triangle I am immediately attached to one of the guys and I will stick with him the entire series. In the Throne of Glass series I was lost. First book, I couldn’t decide if I like Dorian of Chaol better but as the relationship between Dorian and Celaena developed I was ok with that. Then in Crown of Midnight, I was all for team Chaol. Then that literally fell apart and I didn’t think I would like book 3 because she was leaving both of them behind. Introducing Rowan. But of course in Heir of Fire we were reminded so many times that their feeling for each other weren’t romantic so how disappointed was I when she was leaving without him at the end.

And now here we are in Queen of Shadows and the Aelin Rowan relationship is just perfect.  I have never had to wait 4 books to see a romance realized and been totally ok with it. It was perfect. They are the ULTIMATE OTP. The silent conversations, the sass, the fierce protectiveness of each other is flawless.

So let’s start by talking about some of the characters in this book. Now I’ve said it before i my Heir of Fire book review but I’ll say it again. In heir of fire when we first started getting all these new narrators, I did not think I would like that at all. I was already made Dorian, Chaol and Celaena were separated and I thought adding new characters like Sorcha and Manon would be terrible. Well how wrong was I? In Queen of Shadows we get to stick with Manon but we also get Elide, which is set with Manon.

I love Manon. And I don’t know how many series you can say that the author made you fall in love with a witch who eats the hearts of men, but there you go. Manon and her 13 are in a tricky spot in this one, and her story is much more political than it was in the last book. But we also get a lot of fierce character development from her and see her stepping away from the constant obedience she has always had. We also see her form a relationship with Elide which is nice to watch.

But hands down the BEST Manon scene we get in this entire book is when her and Aelin finally meet and have a showdown for the ages. Manon was going to let them go, I really believe that and then Aelin had to go and poke the bear and god their fight was glorious. First Rowan getting shot and sending Aelin into an all out rage. Then the two of them telling their generals to stand down so they can go toe to toe. It was amazing. And then of course the whole fight I don’t know what to do because I’m not ready to lose either of these characters and what happens but Aelin goes back and SAVES Manon! In Heir of Fire I was worried that these 2 would be on different sides one day but right there was the first hint of potential for an alliance.

And then later I love how Manon repays her life debt by telling Aelin about Dorian. And speaking of Dorian…Manon and Dorian anyone? At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about that but now I am all for it. I think they’d be great together because Manon reminds me of Aelin and Dorian needs a tough partner who won’t sugar coat everything for him. I love that she was the only one able to reach him at all and that last Dorian scene we get with him seeing Manon on his wall…uhg feels.

Ok then the other character I just want to touch on quickly while we’re talking about Manon is Elide. She’s the new character introduced this book and I do like her. Her parts weren’t the most interesting but I was always very worried for her trying to sneak around and when she did get caught and locked away I was worried Manon wouldn’t find her because what are the chances we get through a book like this with everyone in tact? I thought maybe she’d be the expendable character like Sorcha but she made it and now we have some kind of Elide Aelin reunion to look forward to next book.

But that’s all I have to say about that. The other character we see in this book in a new light is Lyssandra. She is amazing. Not only do her and Aelin realize they have more in common than they realize, but we figure out that she is a shapeshifter and Aelin accepts her for that and then they proceed to have so many beautiful moments. I love the way she always sweeps into the room and none of them every notice her. I love that she had her ward and then when she gets kidnapped, her rescue mission is easily one of the best scenes in the entire book. And then Aelin lets her kill Aboryn and I love that she does not hesitate and then the next morning we see her being a fabulous actress. Not to mention the fact that she saves Aedion, Lorcan and Rowan as a freaking snow leopard and then vomits all over an already angry Lorcan. She also has 2 really beautiful moments with Aelin. The first when Aelin pays off her debts and Aelin calls her an ugly crier and the other when she makes her a Lady and it’s full of humor with her asking if she’s proposing to her but its so beautiful how their friendship develops in this story because she is really the only female friend Aelin has had since Nehemiah.

We also get a lot more Aedion in this book. I  was so glad that Maas didn’t make us wait until the end of the book to reduce Aedion and that we got it over with relatively quick. Aedion was just kind of there for a lot of the book. Once Rowan arrived he was often overshadowed by him in a way. But all the scenes of Rowan and Aedion having their little male dominance disputes were adorable. I love when Aelin tells them not to pee on her furniture and then when Rowan tells Aedion he’ll kill him if he speaks to her like that again. But also the brothership he and Rowan build is great and it really shows at the end in the battle. Rowan dropping the bomb on us that Gavriel is Aedion’s father was a bit of a shock. I feel kind of bad for him the whole story because he’s almost always left out of the plans but he is so sassy and always has witty retorts ready which are always great. I also love that he points out that Rowan and Aelin’s silent conversations are actually annoying to everyone else around.  Anyone else think he and Lyssandra are destined to be a thing?

Now a quick bit about Chaol. I wasn’t sure what to expect from his this book. Last book we saw him being a rebel and planning and scheming with Aedion but he hasn’t seen Aelin since he figured out who she was. And I was really disappointed in him at first. He’s so mean. He calls her a monster, blames her for what happened to Dorian, and basically refuses to work with her at the beginning. Now he comes around and I’m happy for him that he has Nesyren. But I was hoping that even though I didn’t want them to get back together romantically, their relationship might still be in tact since he did tell her he loves her at the end of the last book and it did seem like he was pining after her a bit in Heir of Fire. But whatever. I couldn’t believe how stupid he was when he went off along looking for Dorian but we’ll forgive him because it led to the Manon Aelin showdown. But what do we think of his legs? I think he’ll be healed eventually but I feel like it won’t be right away.

Ok now onto probably the greatest character to read the entire book: Rowan. I was so excited when he finally made his appearance and I was so thankful that we didn’t have to wait the entire book to see him. He is so fiercely protective in this book but we also get so many humorous scenes between him and Aelin, like when he gets up to dump a pitcher of water over his head to calm his sex drive or whenever Aelin calls him pissy and his first thought is “I’m not being pissy”. We also have some really beautiful moments from him. When they go to see Aboryn and he thanks him for the oil because his skin was feeling a little dry I had to close to book and squeal in delight for a moment. Also when she sneaks out and he is so mad but at the same time sees that she is in his shirt. Then the piano scene, visiting Sam’s grave, all of it. When he gets shot we get such emotion from Aelin and all I could think was it’s about time. When he tells her not to touch him like that I was so mad. Because of course we knew he wants her and she assumes all the wrong things and I was afraid that he ruined it but fortunately it didn’t last that long and then they finally start allowing their feeling for each other to show. I was so worried for him in the ending fight scene because he was not doing that well. But then also when she gets stabbed and he feels such agony *hit me right in the feels*.

Ok that’s enough for characters, and I know I did not even do a spotlight on Aelin, but she’s in everyone else’s and I just want to talk about some scenes:

First: The nightgowns. I just about died when she decided that she would show him how inappropriate she could be and scandalized him with her night clothes. But then at the end the scene where she manages to dig up a solid gold one and really wows him.

The hair washing scene. It’s cute with her yelling at Rowan for trying to wash his hair with soap, but also just because she ends up washing his hair and practically has him purring.

The dress. The fact that she practically knocks him off his feel in her dragon dress but then the entire scene they’re with Arobynn is great. Rowan using the oil, Arobynn noticing how they stare at each other, their silent conversation during dinner about her lack of undergarments, and then missing a question from Arobynn because she’s too busy making googoo eyes at Rowan *swoon*

The ring scene with Arobynn. Once he put that ring on her finger I totally bought it and I was so concerned. I didn’t know how much of the book we were going to have to spend with Arobynn controlling her but I was not pleased and then when she just took it off once they got back and was disappointed he wasn’t more created I was so shocked and confused and felt like Aedion in the fact that I felt very out of the loop.

Then of course the fight scene with Manon is flawless. The fact that when she goes back for Manon she says “If I die because of you, I’ll beat the shit out of you in hell”. It’s lines like those that make Sara J Maas such a pleasure to read. She always injects the best wit and sarcasm into every scene and it just takes it to a new level.

At the end the scene with Lyssandra getting the ring and territory is beautiful but I already talked about that. But besides that the fact that she turns into a snow leopard when Aedion tries to wake them up and then he dumps water on them is just one of those whimsical scenes that makes this book such a pleasure to read.

Also when Aelin and Rowan are finally having their moment at the end and Aedion comes in and almost ruins it but Rowan slams the door in his face with his wind and we just get on a line all it’s own “Point taken”. I know I sound like such a broken record saying that these little moments just make this book amazing but they really do which is why I would easily call Queen of Shadows my Top Book of 2015 and why the Throne of Glass series will always be one of my top, if not my favorite, series of all time.

Absolutely recommend, 5 stars, 100% better than I ever could have imagined. What I love about this series is I’m always surprised. The next book never goes how I imagine it will and it always works. Sarah J Maas, whatever it is you do, keep doing it because it’s amazing.




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