In the end, I liked this book more than Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. But it took a long time to get there. The thing is that the book just fIn the end, I liked this book more than Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. But it took a long time to get there. The thing is that the book just felt completely different. We're introduced to a bunch of new characters, and I took a long time to warm up to them. But some of them actually outshone the old cast. In the end.
I was disappointed to realize that this book was not heading towards an ending to the "trilogy," mostly because I had gone in expecting it, and partly because it took so long for me to get into this book that I wasn't sure I would want to read another.
This book has more of an epic feel to it. In the end of CoM, Chaol had Celaena sent to a far away land where she could be a fae to her heart's content, or so he thought. So she's there, learning how to use her powers so she can get answers from Maeve (who is a queen of the fae). We're also following a bunch of witches, mainly Manon, who we hadn't met before this book, and they're off practicing for their Quidditch Tournament on dragons. We're still following Dorian, who's basically in love, and that's it, and Chaol, who's dealing with Celaena's cousin (who I don't think we ever even heard of before this book, but whatevs). Each of those story threads, except Manon's has at least one other POV, so you're juggling a lot of perspectives, and I do think that at times there was too much unnecessary switching between POVs in the same thread, particularly between Celaena and Rowan or between Chaol and Aedion.
Here's who I was all, "Why do we care about this person?" at the beginning of the book: Sorscha, Manon, Aedion, and Rowan (a little less for Rowan).
Here's who I was all, "Hell, yes, I want to follow their story!" at the end of the book: Celaena, Manon, Aedion, and Rowan.
Sorry, Sorscha. I never really cared.
Anyway, for such a slow beginning for me, I did get very involved in the story, particularly Celaena and Rowan's part, and I nearly cried 4 times. This is high praise. I don't cry for books, usually (because there's no soundtrack). I adored Celaena and Rowan's relationship. I also loved Aedion's devotion to Celaena, though I'm not sure I felt like we earned that the way we did Rowan's.
I think the book's biggest problem was that it was coming out of an established series that it didn't feel like it was a part of. I spent a lot of time at the beginning trying to get into those new characters and situations and even the new feel of Celaena's storyline. Celaena herself was Celaena, so it wasn't the character, just that the outer conflict was so new to the series for a majority of the book. And only in the end did we seem to bring it back to the King of Ardalan. But by then I was invested in what was going on in this book.
On a totally unrelated note, here is a question. Celaena stood before the king many times (with a weapon, I believe). Chaol has stood before the king with a sword. Aedion has stood before the king, who believes him in his thrall, with a sword. Why the hell is nobody even thinking about cutting off his head? There has been no mention, that I recall, of the king having any sort of protection from a weapon. If not Chaol or Aedion, surely Celaena, Ardalan's Assassin, could have killed him. I get that we need him alive to continue the story, but have someone at least think of a reason why he's not dead yet. I'm pretty sure all their other goals would be a lot easier with him dead.
Anyway, so there are my rambling thoughts on this book, which mainly suffered from being a very different book 3 from book 1 and 2. The slow start is what keeps it from being 5 stars.
Recommended for fans of: The Throne of Glass series, epic fantasy, series that are not trilogies, fairies and half-fairies and demons, devoted non-romantic relationships, stories of healing, fire magic, witchy politics, new characters introduced mid-series, Quidditch on dragons instead of brooms....more
I just couldn't stop smiling as I read this. Did I read the whole thing? I'm sure there were sections I missed out on. But I read many different endinI just couldn't stop smiling as I read this. Did I read the whole thing? I'm sure there were sections I missed out on. But I read many different endings, & when I got back to the happy ending I actually started with, I decided I was satisfied!...more
This was a fun book from beginning to end, but I have to admit that the best moments of the book are in that first chapter.
Eli is a very engaging charThis was a fun book from beginning to end, but I have to admit that the best moments of the book are in that first chapter.
Eli is a very engaging character. I loved his POV, I loved watching him interact with spirits, and I loved the sleight of hand he applies from time to time. But much of this story, believe it or not, revolves around another character, Miranda. I'd say more of it than that of Eli and his gang. I wanted to see more of them. I wanted to get more in both his and Josef's heads, but more often than not, we were watching him through someone else's eyes (Miranda, the king, or even Gin). And that's cool. A story about a thief can do well from the POV of the one trying to catch him, but that wonderful first chapter made me long for more.
I thought the world-building/magic system was impressive. There was one point where some magic affected Miranda but not Eli, and it made sense in the world, and I thought, "I would never have come up with this situation, but it completely works in this magic system!" However, I was a little wary of the way Miranda conveniently found someone to explain how magic works in long monologues of exposition. But really the only nitpicky problem I had with the world-building was the constant one-upping of the spirits. You thought that one was powerful? What about this one?
I felt like we probably could have gone deeper into the characters, like everyone was just characterized a little too simply. Perhaps this is overcome in the sequels, when I imagine we'll learn more about the major characters, but for this book alone, I felt there was no subtlety.
More nitpicks: I was quite relieved to leave Marion behind early on because I had difficulty telling her name apart from Miranda's when they were in the same scenes (which they always were). I would have liked to see more variety in names (Eli, Eril, Alric, Allinu, and Mellinor all feel very similar).
Despite the nits, I highly enjoyed the book. If it had been as delightful as the first scene or maybe if it had felt more like it was about Eli to me, it would have been an easy 5 stars, but still an appreciative 4 stars from me.
Recommended for fans of: fantasy, unique magic systems, charismatic title characters, thieves, talking inanimate objects, wizard councils, kings, kidnappings, unique motivations, title characters not given much POV time, badass swords, demon-possessed companions, and fangirl trees...more
As I began reading this book, I immediately felt the comfort of returning to characters and a narration that I loved. I haven't felt that way about aAs I began reading this book, I immediately felt the comfort of returning to characters and a narration that I loved. I haven't felt that way about a lot of new books lately, even in series, so right away, I was happy with how the book was going, even as the characters started off facing hardship as a result of the last book.
There was a slight departure from the original narration, and that was that this time we got Hector's POV thrown in there from time to time. At first I was a little worried about it, but since Hector is awesome, it was no problem at all.
Recently I lamented that another fantasy book was too full of traveling and survival scenes to hold my interest. Although there is much traveling and survival in different settings and climates, Rae Carson knows how to keep the narrative from becoming a survival guide, keeping it full of character development and interesting situations and conversations. When a moment is taken to develop a relationship, it is always done organically, so that I never once felt like we had stopped the plot to do so. And both relationships and plot are strong in this book.
Perhaps the best thing about this book was just how perfectly it completes the trilogy. Everything that needs to happen happens to complete Elisa's journey to prove to her country, her friends, and herself that she has real power and it doesn't come from the stone in her belly. Furthermore, the romance with Hector comes to a perfect conclusion based on, not just obstacles from the previous book where Hector was also the love interest, but also the romances in the first book, starting with her marriage to Alejandro. Looking back to the beginning, you can really appreciate how much Elisa grew through the three books.
Other things I love: That both Elisa and Hector both get captured and both aid in their own escape, the simplicity of Elisa's service and what that meant for everything else she had done, and Storm Storm Storm.
Recommended for fans of: YA fantasies, strong female characters, equally strong male character love interests, great relationships, well-paced plots, and perfect trilogy endings...more