Hello, lovely ones. So, today, I thought I’d do something a little different on my blog. Sometimes, you just need to talk about a book without being careful about what you say, so I’m introducing a new feature that will let me do so. This feature will hopefully open up discussions with other people who have read the same books I have, and I thought I’d start this off with a book that I have a very unpopular opinion of.
Be warned, this discussion is full of spoilers, so if you don’t want to know what happens in this book, it’d be best if you leave. You can find my non-spoiler kinda-review (to be fair, it’s just rambling and profanities) here. Shoo.
Also, I don’t mean to offend anyone with this discussion. I totally respect everybody’s opinion when they say that they adored Queen of Shadows and I, by no means, am saying that your opinion is wrong.
Brace yourselves, because this is going to be long.
So I loved Throne of Glass, and Crown of Midnight is perhaps one of my favorite books ever. I went into this series almost certain that it could never live up to the hype, but I was very impressed with it. The characters were flawed, well-developed, lovable, and I was fully invested in them from the get-go. The plot was fast-paced and exciting; the world-building was phenomenal, and the writing was beautifully rich without being over-the-top. Then Heir of Fire happened, and even though I didn’t dislike it too much, I was disappointed. It was a big book of nothing until the last fifty or hundred pages. It was very slow, I thought the pacing was off, and I frankly didn’t give a single ounce of shit about the new characters introduced, i.e. Rowan and Manon.
But I was still excited for Queen of Shadows because I was so invested in the original trio. I hadn’t been this invested in characters since the Harry Potter series. Our Prince Dorian who is living in the shadow of a terrible father, who is battling his inner demons while trying so hard to keep them at bay. Celaena Sardothien, infinitely bad-ass and tragic, with a passion for revenge for the family she lost, the friends she would never see again. And of course, Chaol Westfall, who was by far the most well-developed, most flawed character in the series. Our captain of the guard who is so loyal that his loyalty becomes his greatest weakness – a person who left his family, his life behind to pledge his allegiance to his king and his country, only to find that everything he has ever stood for is built on evil, deception and murder. A guy who has to reconstruct everything he has learned, who has to turn around his loyalties and make his way into a world that he had been blind to ever since he was a boy. A guy whose existence was about destroying the one thing, the one woman who he now loves.
So imagine my disappointment when these characters are pushed to the back. Dorian is lost in this book; his storyline had so much potential, what with him being possessed. We could have seen so much interesting stuff from his perspective, but all we got were a couple of pages here and there of philosophical angst.
Celaena literally does not exist anymore. When you point that out to a fan, they say, “Aelin and Celaena are not the same person.” Excuse me. YES, THEY ARE. Aelin, as she is now, is because of Celaena. Celaena is a part of Aelin’s past that cannot be ignored. CELAENA is the assassin, the one who learned how to fight, the one who learned to use her skills, abilities and intelligence to thwart people who have far more resources than she does. Yet Aelin was hell-bent on denying Celaena’s existence, which baffled me. Every decision that Aelin made as Celaena was suddenly stupid and childish. Not only that, but Sarah J. Maas was hell-bent on overturning Celaena’s character. You see, Aelin is a horrible person– and Celaena was never that. Aelin is mean. She doesn’t care about anyone except herself and Rowan. And while Celaena was arrogant, she never thought that the ground she walked on needed to be kissed.
If a character undergoes character development, that’s fabulous. And yes, Aelin went through character development, but she IS NOT A DIFFERENT PERSON FOR THE LOVE OF FUCK. SHE’S THE SAME PERSON. SHE SHOULD HAVE SOME SIMILARITIES WITH CELAENA, BUT IT’S LITERALLY LIKE I’M READING FROM A DIFFERENT POV.
Aelin constantly blamed Chaol for shit that Chaol barely had any control over. The book started off with Aelin blaming Chaol, yet again, for Nehemia’s death and all I could think was, “I thought we were over that in Heir of Fire,” but apparently not guys. Because SJM needed to bring Nehemia’s death up ALL OVER AGAIN just so we could see how terrible Chaol is. Then she blamed him for leaving Dorian in the castle? Like, what was he supposed to do? If he hadn’t left, Chaol would be dead. And let’s see what would have happened if Chaol had died:
- Dorian would be fucking dead since Aelin would have killed him, since Nesryn and Chaol wouldn’t have been around to stop her.
- The city would be a mess because Chaol, despite being emotionally broken over the loss of his best friend, was the only one keeping even a semblance of order by rallying the rebels etc.
- It would’ve been next to impossible to get Aedion out of the castle
Also, Aelin spends half her time blaming Chaol for being loyal to the king and not killing him? But bitch you were the King’s champion for almost a year- YOU could have killed him, but you didn’t, because that would’ve been a suicide mission, and you’re expecting Chaol – a mere human with 0 superhuman strength – to kill the most powerful man in the world? This is how I imagined Aelin throughout the book:
Aelin: OW shit, I poked myself in the eye. CHAOL HOW FUCKING DARE YOU, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT BECAUSE NEHEMIA DIED AND NOW MY EYE HURTS (smh)
It’s funny because the reasons Aelin is so bitter about Chaol for ARE THE EXACT REASONS SHE LOVES ROWAN? I’m so confused. Rowan did terrible things under Maeve’s rule; he was completely loyal to Maeve just like Chaol was loyal to the king? But no, Rowan is bae, Chaol’s trash. Of course.
And can we talk about how Aelin walks up to Dorian in the end and says, “I came back for you.” Are ya fucking kidding me? If it hadn’t been for Chaol/Nesryn, Dorian would be dead, so how does Aelin have the nerve to tell Dorian that she came back for him? I may vomit.
Now, let me talk about the plot cop-outs, because yes, there were cop-outs.
- First of all, this book was supposed to be focused on Aelin BURYING Arobynn and the King for what they had done to her. Imagine my surprise when both of these things were horribly handled. Arobynn, the king of the assassins, the most cunning person Aelin knows, was killed in his sleep by an untrained prostitute. Excuse me if I don’t buy it. Cop-out.
- And Sarah J. Maas made the king, in a ridiculous effort to redeem him at the last moment and prolong the series unnecessarily, possessed. She pulled a fucking Sebastian Morgenstern and made the king POSSESSED. Horrible.
- I thought Damaris was with Chaol. How did Aelin even get it, I’m so confused.
- And while Arobynn’s death lasted for barely half a page, I was subjected to two pages of Rowan getting his luscious hair washed?!?!?!? Also, while we’re at the subject of irrelevant, bad details… while they’re there to assassinate Arobynn, Rowan and Aelin are having a telepathic horny conversation about how she’s not wearing any underwear? To an assassination? That is BAD erotica material *le sigh.*
- Speaking of Rowan – an immortal Fae warrior with centuries of fighting experience almost dying from a shoulder wound. Excuse me while I go LMFAO.
- I’m sorry. You can call me whatever you want (I would prefer you call me Chaolena trash, because isn’t that the truth), but Rowan x Aelin made no sense. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Remember in Heir of Fire when Aelin considered getting with Rowan and then she backtracked because they were better off friends? Yeah, I remember that really well. Remember in Heir of Fire when Rowan was 200% distraught over his mate’s death and we were given the impression that he would never get over her? Apparently, Sarah J. Maas doesn’t remember the stuff she wrote herself because two seconds apart and they’re both in love with each other. There was NO BUILD-UP. It just happened. One second they were completely platonic and bffs and the next second, all they want to do is bang what with their NO UNDERWEAR TO AN ASSASSINATION and COLD SHOWERS.
- Also, what the fuck. How old is Rowan? Am I the only one creeped out by this centuries-old Fae warrior smirking at a seventeen year old’s body? *shudders*
- Don’t get me started on Sarah J. Maas’s obsession with abusive boys? First Rhysand (from A Court of Thorns and Roses) and now Rowan, who if you don’t remember, beat the everliving shit out of Aelin even when they were not training and constantly told her that the world would be a better place if she was dead. WooOoOoW that’s so romantic. I’m done.
(because this actual cinnamon roll deserves an entire subsection to himself)
Oh dear bby, Chaol, what has the bad writer done to you. SO MANY INCONSISTENCIES. CHAOL WAS ARGUABLY ONE OF THE MOST COMPLEX, FLAWED CHARACTERS IN THE SERIES, WHO HAD THE MOST POTENTIAL FOR GROWTH, AND SJM TOOK HIS CHARACTER 5 STEPS BACK! Why? To make way for Rowan and Aelin? I hate saying this, but it’s no secret that Sarah J. Maas loves Rowan – she has said multiple times that he is her favorite. To make way for Rowan, she shoved Chaol and his storyline aside. She made him seem like the bad guy so Chaol fans wouldn’t have a hard time getting over it. Didn’t work because his character was OOC and terribly inconsistent with the Chaol Westfall I know.
- Chaol in Throne of Glass: TRIPS (HE LITERALLY STUMBLED ON HIS OWN FEET) when Celaena talks about her period. Chaol in Crown of Midnight: baffled by the fact that girls find him attractive. Chaol in Queen of Shadows: had a casual fuck buddy before ToG even happened. HAHA, WHAT? Is SJM writing about the same character or is this some random person she thought of halfway through the series???????????? And it’s so funny because if SJM had planned this out prior to writing ToG, we would have at least known who Nesryn was. We would have seen her at least once or twice, but we didn’t. She just sprang up in QoS out of nowhere, a part of Chaol’s sexual past. If that doesn’t tell you that SJM changed her mind about Chaol halfway through the series, Idk what will.
- SJM made him out to be the asshole when he was the only one telling it to Aelin like it actually was. To make way for Rowaelin, she shoved Chaol aside disgustingly so that it would be easier for Chaolena fans to move on. Well, it didn’t work, because it was horribly done and it made zero sense. As for Nesryn, she was just put in there so Chaolena shippers could be distracted by another bad-ass female character. These are characters, not consolation prizes.
- AND THAT END? SHE FUCKING PARALYZED HIM? That’s the most dishonorable thing she could do to him, dear God. If Chaol had died, I would be happier with it, and that’s saying something because I am literally Chaol Westfall trash. What SJM did to him? Butchered his character, gave him a disinteresting, disgusting storyline, threw his character development out the window FOR THE SAKE OF A SHIP? HA.
It’s so funny that Chaol gets so much flack. Why? Because he’s the only person in the entire universe who cares for Dorian? (their bromance is everything I live for, by the way.) Because he was the only one who had the balls to tell Aelin that she couldn’t just deny her existence as Celaena? Because he’s the only one who’s actually doing everything in his mere average human body to keep his country and its people safe? Like, why do you hate Chaol? Please, enlighten me.
And yes, I’m not going to pretend like Chaolena DIDN’T PLAY A PART IN MY HATRED BECAUSE THEY DID. But not because I wanted them together, no. BUT BECAUSE THERE WAS SO MUCH FORESHADOWING THAT THEY WERE ENDGAME. AND IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT THEY WERE THE INTENDED ENDGAME. WHEN YOU WRITE A SERIES, THE BOOKS HAVE TO BE CONSISTENT. YOU CAN’T JUST BE LIKE “whoops, i take that back.”
- They had NO CLOSURE?!??! I’m so confused. In Heir of Fire, Chaol and Aelin had both come to terms with their mistakes. Chaol mic-dropped the shit out of the King, pledged his allegiance to Dorian, and became a-okay with Aelin and Dorian’s magic. He even said that he was proud of them both, and he even called Aelin the queen. And then in Queen of Shadows, he hates her again? I can’t even, Sarah. Do you even remember the shit you wrote in the previous books? Literal quote from Crown of Midnight, ‘Fae, assassin, I don’t care what you are.” Oh, Sarah, read your own books would you.
- Chaolena just stopped existing all of a sudden? They still felt something for each other, and then in two seconds, it’s all gone? Because Rowan’s hot? (Can we please talk about how all Chaol could think of when he first saw Rowan was how handsome Rowan is? Like yeah, he’s hot, can we move on?)
EXAMPLE 1: EVEN DORIAN THOUGHT CHAOLENA WERE ENDGAME: “He would move on. Because he would not be like the ancient kings in the song and keep her for himself. She deserved a loyal, brave knight who saw her for what she was and did not fear her. And he deserved someone who would look at him like that, even if the love wouldn’t be the same, even if the girl wouldn’t be her. So Dorian closed his eyes, and took another long breath. And when he opened his eyes, he let her go.”
EXAMPLE 2: “The rest of the world quieted into nothing. In that moment, after ten long years, Celaena looked at Chaol and realised she was home.” HE MADE YOU FEEL LIKE HOME AFTER TEN FUCKING YEARS, and now you hate each other WOOooOoOW. AND NOW SHE THINKS ROWAN MAKES HER FEEL LIKE HOME. MAKE UP YOUR MIND, YOU INCONSISTENT FUCK OF A CHARACTER.
EXAMPLE 3: She smiled sadly. “You’ll figure it out. And when you do…” She shook her head, knowing she shouldn’t say it, but doing it anyway. “When you do, I want you to remember that it wouldn’t have made any difference to me. It’s never made any difference to me when it came to you. I’d still pick you. I’ll always pick you.” BITCH WHAT WAS THAT? Now, in Queen of Shadows, she’s just like “oh wait, i was lying. i’m queen, i have rowan see ya BYE”. Sarah J. Maas didn’t even try to twist that. She didn’t even try. Aelin just outright admitted that things changed, and that she didn’t mean what she said. Which amazes me because Sarah’s a talented writer, and you can’t just do take-backs in literature? You write something, it’s on paper, not to mention it’s one of the most important parts of the story. You can’t just be like, “oops, take-back.” Geeeeez.
I cannot believe this. I read the first two books VERY recently, so everything – all the symbolism and the foreshadowing and the intentions – were clear in my head when I read QoS. And to think that SJM went back on most of what she wrote just because Rowan’s her favorite character makes me mad. It makes me angry.
And that, folks, is what I think about this book. You tell me. What did you think? What do you agree with? What do you disagree with? I would love to discuss some more. 🙂