Petrik's Reviews > Queen of Fire

Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan
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did not like it

1.5/5 stars

I’m in utter disbelief, I can’t believe this…


Queen of Fire is the third and last book in Anthony Ryan’s Raven's Shadow trilogy that began with the incredible Blood Song. By now, if you’ve heard about this trilogy, you’ll most likely have heard from several readers that the series didn’t end as good as the first book. I, unfortunately, have to agree with them completely. Anthony Ryan himself is great as an author and person, it seriously pains me to give this or any of his book a low rating but I really have to be honest that I didn’t enjoy reading Queen of Fire at all. I’m not angry at this book, but I’m genuinely sad and disappointed. How is it even possible that a series that began so brilliantly can derail this much? Even coming into this with the lowest of expectation, I still found myself disappointed at the final product of this tome.

Where do I even begin? Pretty much every cons I mentioned about Tower Lord exponentially worsen in Queen of Fire. Vaelin in Blood Song and Vaelin in Tower Lord/Queen of Fire seriously doesn’t sound the same. None of his voices, actions, and internal thoughts (when there’s any) contained any resemblance of his character in Blood Song. Not only that, his POV here ended up being one of, if not, the most boring storyline of the entire series. Reading an autobiography about someone’s journey in Antarctica would’ve made for a more engaging experience than reading Vaelin’s journey here, which was full of him walking and doing nothing in the snow. I don’t get it, I can’t see Ryan’s vision and what he tried to achieve with Vaelin in this trilogy. Ryan has spent the entirety of the first book Vaelin’s character, making the reader love and cares about Vaelin; he’s badass yet flawed, kind, and empathetic. The friendship he built in the brotherhood of the Sixth Order was one of the best parts of the first book; ALL of these are gone. It has gotten worse up to the point that if you don’t read Blood Song, you’ll still be able to understand both Tower Lord and Queen of Fire; frankly these two books made me disliked Vaelin more and more, Ryan really threw away everything that’s great about Vaelin.

The thing is, if the other characters have the power to balance things out, I would’ve accepted it more. But the other characters were also unlikeable. The main problem is that there’s literally none of the characters that I feel invested in; deaths happen and I would be like “oh okay bye bye adios wait who are you again?” Reva also goes against every incredible development that Vaelin had in Blood Song. Vaelin was never a Gary Stu, seeing him slowly learn and practice with bows or non-Sword related ability made readers realize that maybe his true talent lies only in a swordfight, he has to start and learn from scratch for other talents. Reva is the exact opposite of this. I’m never a fan of her, not in Tower Lord where her first appearance as Mary Sue appeared, and definitely not here. Lyrna was at least great to read in Tower Lord, but here? She was just outright hateful and despicable.

To be honest, the only characters that ended up being slightly compelling to read was Frentis (which, as I said before, resembled Vaelin from Blood Song more than Vaelin himself now) but his dreamscapes were annoying to read. None of the characters—except Verniers—have distinctive voices and the addition of another new POV here made things even worse. I’m serious, except for Verniers, if you switch around the names of the POV characters, it would be bloody difficult to tell whose POV you’re reading. Plus, there were so many names within this installment but the majority of them doesn’t have any anchor value for remembrance; I recently reread Blood Song and read Tower Lord, it was crazy how fast I forgot the side characters. I couldn’t tell anymore whether it’s because I genuinely forgot the characters or because I just met them here; most of them don’t have any value other than making things more confusing than necessary anyway.

“But people are still people, however comfortable their surroundings. They lie, they feud, they betray and however much you give them, they always want more.”


Also, let’s talk about the narrative tone and expectations set in the first book of a series. If you want a series to turn completely grimdark, there needs to be something at the first installment of the series that shows glimpses that it has the potential to turn this way. Blood Song didn’t show any inclination that the story will turn this way. There’s so much gory violence and they ended up being shock factor—that’s not shocking—to show that the enemies are ruthless. If you spend the entirety of the first book on a single character, you don’t make this character become pointless and super pathetic to read. It almost felt like Ryan hated Vaelin so much that after Blood Song he degrade Vaelin more and more with each installment.

In the end, as I said before, Tower Lord and Queen of Fire should be treated as a different series to Blood Song. There were still many more negative factors that I could elaborate—sluggish pacing, villain’s weak motivation, the anticlimactic ending—but honestly? I’m too exhausted and disappointed to write more about it. I’ve spent too much of my time on this book already, I don’t want to spend any longer by prolonging the review too. Let’s simplify it this way: I’ve never seen such a unanimous disappointment from this many readers towards a single book to be proven true; simple as that. For now, I really can’t recommend anyone to continue past Blood Song. Queen of Fire is easily the most disappointing final book of a series I’ve ever read. The disappointment was magnified because I utterly loved Blood Song and I never read any series that began with 5 stars rating but concluded as low as 1.5 stars in the final installment. I’m so sorry, Anthony Ryan, but as a book reviewer, I must always be honest with my reviews.

Despite all this, I’ve read Ryan’s Draconis Memoria trilogy and A Pilgrimage of Swords, I have a good feeling that The Wolf’s Call, the newest book in this world, will be a return to the glory of Blood Song; I’ve heard that Vaelin will be prominent like he was in Blood Song again. Fingers-crossed! (This is me trying to be positive…)

Series Review:

Blood Song: 5/5 stars
Tower Lord: 2.5/5 stars
Queen of Fire: 1.5/5 stars

Raven's Shadow: 9/15 stars

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
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Reading Progress

April 29, 2019 – Shelved
May 21, 2019 – Started Reading
May 23, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 76 (76 new)


message 1: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Pepper ooof I hear nothing but bad about this book lol


message 2: by Birte (new) - added it

Birte I'm so sorry that you were so disappointed. If you want to rant you know where I am XD
Also, I seriously hope that Wolf's Calling is better!


Petrik Daniel wrote: "ooof I hear nothing but bad about this book lol"

Well... they're not wrong.


Petrik Birte wrote: "I'm so sorry that you were so disappointed. If you want to rant you know where I am XD
Also, I seriously hope that Wolf's Calling is better!"


Thank you, Birte. I'm so exhausted atm. Lost the energy to even rant because this was just crazily disappointing. I hope The Wolf's Call will be better! :)


Eon ♒Windrunner♒  Yep. I did warn you about this one. Although I suppose you heard it from many people. And you know I'm much easier to please too ;)


Audrey Someone explained to me once that blood song book 1 was in fact a standalone Anthony Ryan had honed for six years and boom when he is published his editor asked for more ( same problem with the demon cycle) and he had to write sequels to a story which doesn’t need ones. Honestly with the last two books of demon cycle those sequels are my biggest disappointment 😖😖😖


Eon ♒Windrunner♒  Oh wow. I rated this 3 stars? I remember it as lower. There you go. I REALLY disliked it and it got three stars. I guess I should revisit my old reviews and fix my ratings lol.


Eon ♒Windrunner♒  Oh, wait. 2.5 stars. Better than 3.


Eon ♒Windrunner♒  Still my biggest disappointment for a final book ever.


Maja Ingrid Great review Petrik! I was disappointed in this series as a whole. Blood Song was enjoyable enough, but Tower Lord and Queen of Fire was a struggle. And I'm happy I'm not the only one who couldn't stand Reva.


Petrik Eon ♒Windrunner♒ wrote: "Still my biggest disappointment for a final book ever."

You and many other readers did warn me! And everyone is right... Maybe I should lower this to 1 star, the only good thing about it was Ally has a background. That's it. Nothing in this book worked at all... You're too generous man :D


Petrik Audrey wrote: "Someone explained to me once that blood song book 1 was in fact a standalone Anthony Ryan had honed for six years and boom when he is published his editor asked for more ( same problem with the dem..."

I think that makes sense. It's just... WAY too different. I mean it, it's almost like another author is writing these sequels. I don't want to sound too harsh but that's really how I feel, nothing in these two books reminded me of what I love about Blood Song!


message 13: by Hamad (new)

Hamad Oh wow! I am sorry it wasn't as good as you wanted :/


Petrik Maja Ingrid wrote: "Great review Petrik! I was disappointed in this series as a whole. Blood Song was enjoyable enough, but Tower Lord and Queen of Fire was a struggle. And I'm happy I'm not the only one who couldn't ..."

Thank you, Maja! Not gonna lie, I think my brain is trying to forget what I just read. I already forgot so many names in this book... I had to skim too otherwise it would be a DNF. Reva was awful, adding her was probably one of the worst decision for this series.


Petrik Hamad wrote: "Oh wow! I am sorry it wasn't as good as you wanted :/"

Thank you, Hamad! I still encourage to read Blood Song, but don't continue after it... :/


message 16: by Hamad (new)

Hamad Petrik wrote: "Hamad wrote: "Oh wow! I am sorry it wasn't as good as you wanted :/"

Thank you, Hamad! I still encourage to read Blood Song, but don't continue after it... :/"


Maybe I will!


Michael Sliter Now, go read a REAL book about walking through Antarctica!


Maja Ingrid Petrik wrote: "Maja Ingrid wrote: "Great review Petrik! I was disappointed in this series as a whole. Blood Song was enjoyable enough, but Tower Lord and Queen of Fire was a struggle. And I'm happy I'm not the on..."

I remember like no names at all and very little plot. I skimmed and skipped so much in this book just to be able to finish it.


message 19: by TS (last edited May 24, 2019 04:36AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

TS Chan I recommend Endurance about Shackleton and his crew's amazing survival story in Antarctica. 😁


message 20: by Nikhil (new)

Nikhil From 5 to 1.5? That sounds alarming. :0


message 21: by Em Lost In Books (new)

Em Lost In Books I can never gathered the courage to read this. 😶


message 22: by Nikhil (new)

Nikhil Em Lost In Books wrote: "I can never gathered the courage to read this. 😶"

Join the club. XD


Petrik Michael wrote: "Now, go read a REAL book about walking through Antarctica!"

My co-blogger recommend Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage highly, I have no doubt it will be an amazing read that's better than Queen of Fire. xD


Petrik Maja Ingrid wrote: "Petrik wrote: "Maja Ingrid wrote: "Great review Petrik! I was disappointed in this series as a whole. Blood Song was enjoyable enough, but Tower Lord and Queen of Fire was a struggle. And I'm happy..."

I totally understand that, Maja. I totally do... xD


Petrik TS wrote: "I recommend Endurance about Shackleton and his crew's amazing survival story in Antarctica. 😁"

Hahahah seriously, this book came to my mind when I was reading QoF :D


Petrik Em Lost In Books wrote: "I can never gathered the courage to read this. 😶"

I honestly read this so that I can read the newest book, The Wolf's Call, without missing any info. Now I'm not so sure that's a good idea...


Petrik Nikhil wrote: "From 5 to 1.5? That sounds alarming. :0"

Check out other reader's reviews too, Nikhil. Alarming sounds about right... xD


message 28: by Em Lost In Books (last edited May 24, 2019 05:01AM) (new)

Em Lost In Books Petrik wrote: "Em Lost In Books wrote: "I can never gathered the courage to read this. 😶"

I honestly read this so that I can read the newest book, The Wolf's Call, without missing any info. Now I'm not so sure t..."


Great. Now i know whom to call if i get confused by any Queen of Fire references. 😉


message 29: by Try (new)

Try Prihatono Ngaserin Another one of those Pat?


Audrey I feel you petrik it’s hard to see something we loved ruined like that. I don’t think I’m going to read his new trilogy the wolf call.


Benji Glaab Couldn't agree more Petrik. What's the whole point of having 50 extra characters that I can't even keep the names straight let alone care about what's happening. I ended up skimming the last 200 pages or so


Jody Great review, bro! It has been a few years since I read these books, and I was new to the fantasy genre then. I have no doubt my feelings would be the same as yours if I were to read them again now. I believe I will read Blood Song and just overview Tower Lord & Queen of Fire before continuing on to The Wolf's Call. :)


Petrik Em Lost In Books wrote: "Petrik wrote: "Em Lost In Books wrote: "I can never gathered the courage to read this. 😶"

I honestly read this so that I can read the newest book, The Wolf's Call, without missing any info. Now I'..."


Hahahah i'm your guinea pig! xD


Petrik Try wrote: "Another one of those Pat?"

Yeah another one of those, Try... :/


Petrik Audrey wrote: "I feel you petrik it’s hard to see something we loved ruined like that. I don’t think I’m going to read his new trilogy the wolf call."

I'm going to read it tomorrow. I'll let you know whether it's worth continuing or not! :P


Petrik Benji wrote: "Couldn't agree more Petrik. What's the whole point of having 50 extra characters that I can't even keep the names straight let alone care about what's happening. I ended up skimming the last 200 pa..."

Exactly! Urgh, I don't know how many pages I skimmed, I had to do it, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to finish it.


Petrik Jody wrote: "Great review, bro! It has been a few years since I read these books, and I was new to the fantasy genre then. I have no doubt my feelings would be the same as yours if I were to read them again now..."

Thank you, bro! That sounds like a great plan, I don't think you're going to enjoy Tower Lord and Queen of Fire now... I'm going to start The Wolf's Call soon, I'll let you know! :)


message 38: by Matt (new) - rated it 4 stars

Matt You summed it up better than I ever could. Blood Song is in my top 10 books, Tower Lord I could kind of cope with, Queen of Fire was a chore. It’s been a while since I finished it as I read it on release and can’t even bring myself to try the trilogy again. I’ll reread Blood Song, then leave the other two.


Gabriel d'Matos It's sad to read this but also so good since i totally agree with you.


message 40: by Samir (new)

Samir Yikes!



I hope your next read will be much better.
Great review, as always.


Travis I felt the same. Although I enjoyed it, I was ultimately disappointed.


message 42: by Valerie (new) - added it

Valerie Jaye This review just keeps confirming what I've seen about this trilogy. I read Blood Song two years ago (it was truly amazing) and I've had the sequels in my to-read shelf since then, but I've always been hesitant to read them. I think maybe I should just remove them, right? To save myself the disappointment and have a pleasant memory of the book.


message 43: by Veronica (new)

Veronica Oh dear, here's hoping Wolf's Call is better...though it would almost have to be at this point. Doesn't sound like it could get worse, lol. If it turns out to be halfway decent, and I'll count on your review to tell me, I'd like to read it because I always liked Sherin and am curious to find out what happened to her. Hopefully I'd still be able to follow the story even if I haven't read anything but Blood Song.


Nils | nilsreviewsit Damn! It’s that bad!! 😱😭


message 45: by Matt (new) - rated it 2 stars

Matt Foy I did try to warn you... xD


message 46: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Pepper Petrik wrote: "Daniel wrote: "ooof I hear nothing but bad about this book lol"

Well... they're not wrong."


a shame since i hear nothing but the opposite for the first book


Audrey Waiting for your review as always


message 48: by Brian (new)

Brian Great review. I’m so glad I stopped after book 1.


Petrik Matt wrote: "You summed it up better than I ever could. Blood Song is in my top 10 books, Tower Lord I could kind of cope with, Queen of Fire was a chore. It’s been a while since I finished it as I read it on r..."

Thank you, Matt! Yeah I completely agree with you. Tower Lord was still readable but this was tormenting... It's crazy how a series that started so brilliantly could fall this low. There's a summary for book 2 and 3 on the net, you should check em out! :)


Petrik Gabriel wrote: "It's sad to read this but also so good since i totally agree with you."

I will join you in our burning pool of disappointment for this book...


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