"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R Martin

16 January 2015

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) - Sarah J Maas REVIEW

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

My Review of Heir of Fire:

The ending to CROWN OF MIDNIGHT destroyed me. Truly destroyed me. I was left distraught and in a frenzy of anticipation awaiting HEIR OF FIRE. Waiting for an entire year was pure torture. Then HEIR OF FIRE fell into my hands and I devoured it, hungry for more Celaena, Chaol, Dorian and the world of Erilea. It didn’t disappoint. Maas has done it again. Weaved an amazingly thrilling tale with the most complex set of characters, rich and mesmering world and compelling storyline full of shocks and surprises. Seriously this series is easily one of my favourite YA fantasy series ever and this third installment, although not as entrancing as the first - just deeply cemented my love for these books. If you haven't picked up this series yet - you need to - now.

HEIR OF FIRE definitely had a different feel to it than the other two previous books. In all honesty I feel a little conflicted about this one. It was extremely slow paced at times which made me feel a little disconnected from the storyline and the characters. The multiple POV's made the story drag a little too. Don't get me wrong I love multiple POV's (Game of Thrones anyone?) but it was such a big difference from the first two books I found it difficult to get to grip with all the changes quickly. Yes, I thought it dragged in places (lots and lots of training) but I understand that this book focused a lot more on character development, fleshing them out, preparing them for what lies ahead in future books. I also found it a little hard at first to get into the swing of things, finding my feet in new surroundings but when I did it, I admit it was wonderful and exciting. The last quarter of the book and its ending really bumped this book up from a 4* to a 4.5* for me. It really blew me away and in true Maas style left you wanting more. So much more. And now the dreaded wait for the fourth books begins... *sigh*

Now to the good stuff. Once the story got going it was good. More than good in places. A rollercoaster ride of emotions, full of twists and turns and shocks and surprises waiting around every corner. It was much darker, full of blood and gore and unbearable tension. The Manon chapters with the Ironteeth Clan really upped the gore in the book. Their ruthlessness and vicious nature just added a sense of suspense and a little terror to the book and their appearance in the next book surely doesn't bold well; a lot of blood and death awaits - but a lot of drama and excitement too. This book introduced many new things and not all good. Flying monsters and inhuman soldiers just a few of them. This book was bursting with secrets, all unravelling, bombarding you from all sides with shocking revelations and truths. Finally witnessing Celaena's past and the events that shaped her into Adarlan's Assassin was fascinating and made me love her even more.

The worldbuilding in this book is amazing. It's expertly crafted and so immersive. Maas has such a talent for creating such vivid worlds and I loved seeing more of this fantastical world unearthed as the story travels further afield introducing us to new, magical places. Most of the book was new and unfamiliar at first as the story introduced a host of new characters and ventured into foreign lands as we joined Celaena on a journey of discovery and truth. It was so much more indepth and I just loved the sense of adventure that permeated at times throughout the novel. Introducing the fae world really added an air of mystery and magic to the story and I enjoyed seeing this fantastical aspect. Adarlan is gritty and great, but magic is all but dead and I love me some magic in fantasy books!

The character development in this novel was absolutely phenomenal. Seriously the characters just grew and grew, making you empathise with them deeply and feel a real connection. Celaena herself went through one hell of a transformation. The gruesome and tragic events of CROWN OF MIDNIGHT have deeply affected her, causing deep wounds and we see a definite change in her character. We witness a broken woman, more foul tempered and quick to anger shaped by her difficult experiences. She's broken, fragmented by events and struggling to put the pieces back together. Her emotions are overflowing and we get to see a more vulnerable Celaena, easier to empathise with as she lets her guard down. Her character is a far cry from the feisty and cocky girl, so full of spirit that we have previously known and grown to love. The only thing is - she frustrated me at times. She's suffered more than anyone and I hated to see her so broken but I wanted to shake her at times and tell her to get it together - it was just so important that she got it together. I kept thinking "Will the real Celaena Sardothien please stand up?" Of course the trials and tribulations she has to endure all builds up to one thing. She comes back kicking, even stronger and even more feisty, ten times more determined than the Celaena we have met before. She finally starts to transform into a queen, accepting and realising her fate and responsibilities.

"She was Aelin Ashryver Galathynius - and she would not be afraid."

She couldn't have become this Celaena (or Aelin) without the help of one moody git; Rowan. Seriously, at first I thought he was an arrogant, cruel idiot with a chip on his shoulder and a serious grudge against Celaena. His actions were borderline cruel and he pushed and pushed Celaena, making me so angry at him. But without his prodding and pushing, Celaena would never have opened up and accepted who she really was. Yes, he was pushy and a complete idiot but he pushed her to get her out of her shell, her cacoon of suffering and guilt that she had wound herself up so tightly in. She comes back so much stronger, with fire in her belly and it's all because of him. 

What I really enjoyed in this book is how it focused on the power of friendships. I'm still rooting for Chaol and Celaena to get back together (please? pretty please?) but I loved the strong bond of loyalty and respect that developed between her and Rowan. A grudging friendship at first, they soon are bound to one another, fighting side by side. I really hope Maas doesn't take it any further, it's perfect how it is. Chaol and Dorian's friendship also took centre stage in this book. Leading practically separate lives and doing their own thing, the ending just cemented their strong bond of friendship. Chaol's loyalty really shone through at this point. Another strange friendship was Manon and Abraxos'. Yes, she's a witch and he's her monstrous steed but they shared a deep bond and Abraxos helped Manon show a little bit of humanity. I really believe she's not as bloodthirsty and vicious as she seems. She has a heart. I'm really looking forward to how Manon's storyline ties with Celaena's in future. I believe this silver fanged, red cloaked witch will somehow become an important part of Celaena's life, and hopefully on her side - but who knows!

So lets talk about that ending. How? What? Why? The King's evil nature strikes again. I really don't know how this will affect certain characters in the next book and I just hope that something is done to right this horrible thing. All I know is that reading that section killed me. There was a little voice screaming in my head "no, you can't do that - no!" Talk about shocks and surprises. Phew.

So there you have it. HEIR OF FIRE isn't my favourite of the three books and I did have some niggling issues with some parts. But overall, the good things by far outweighed the few little bad things. The character development in this book was its strongest point. It was amazing and witnessing Celaena's past really made this book for me. I seriously hate to wait a year for the next book. I want - no, I need to know what happens next. I feel like I know Celaena so well, but there's so much more about Aelin I want to unearth and learn about. I can't wait to see all the story lines merge together and come together in an explosive conclusion, but with three more books to go the series just promises more and more drama, intrigue and excitement. Three more books - the idea of more books, more Celaena and more of this world is just so exciting!

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