*Note: this review has big spoilers for QoS and the previous novels*
In Queen of Shadows, Celaena Sardothien embraces her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen but, in order to reclaim her throne, she must fight and confront her past.
I think I’ll start with what I did like with Queen of Shadows. First, Lysandra. She’s one of my favourite parts in this book. But Lysandra and Aelin was a great female friendship that saved the book for me. Maas could’ve easily made them be so petty towards each other but they both realise they’re much stronger together than they are against. I was overjoyed once they started working together against Arobynn Hammell. (I know it has been a couple of books now, but I’m still bitter over Nehemia and everything that could’ve been.)
Secondly, the improvement in Maas’s writing. She had developed really well throughout the series. There’s a lot I hate about this series but she can write really well. She’s grown as a writer but it’s a shame that I didn’t like this series as much as I could.
However, during the first half of this book, aside from Aelin’s scenes, it felt like a repeat of Crown of Midnight. I was bored and detached from the story. Here I was thinking maybe it was time to ditch the series all for good. But I’m so thankfully that it does pick up towards the end and the series has finally reached the point I’ve been waiting for: Aelin’s return to Terrasen. Empire of Storms better not disappoint, I’ve been waiting for her return for ages!
In my last review of the series, I said I was #TeamDorian but I’ve realised that I’m now #TeamDorianandChaolBOTHDESERVED BETTER. The romance in this series has seriously gone downhill, for me. While I found Celaena/Chaol cute, I wasn’t heavily invested in them so when Aelin/Rowan happened, I wouldn’t have cared as much if Maas hadn’t changed Chaol so much so that Aelin/Rowan could happen. Rowan is interesting but I hated that Chaol had to suffer in terms of his development to benefit Rowan and Aelin. I take back when I said Chaol needs to trust Celaena once I realised how much Maas structured it so Chaol looked bad. (using Nehemia, blaming everything on him, working for the King yet never killing him) In blaming Chaol for a lot of things that were out of this control, Celaena came across as a hypocrite. It’s also painfully obvious that Nesryn Faliq was introduced to soften the blow for Chaol fans and so Chaol doesn’t end up alone.
Overall, I would say Queen of Shadows was okay. I could’ve rated this more, but so much of it felt unnecessary and the only part I did enjoy was the ending. While I think nothing in this series will be as great as Crown of Midnight, I’m much more compelled to see this series to its end.