Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
Synopsis: Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.
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If anybody has been paying attention to my book reviews this year, they’d know that I love Sarah J. Maas. I love her writing, I love her characters, I love her world-building. She makes me weep with a broken heart, ugly laugh at the hilarity and the sass. Crown of Midnight made me fall hopelessly in love with a fictional character (*cough* Chaol Westfall *cough*) after a very long time, and her A Court of Thorns & Roses made me ship two characters (*cough* Feylin *cough*) so hard that I could barely keep my emotions under control. So when everyone kept telling me that Heir of Fire was the greatest piece of work Sarah J. Maas has put out into the world, my expectations were sky-high.
But nobody told me that Heir of Fire is the slowest of all of Maas’s work. Nobody told me that the new characters barely have a storyline. Nobody told me that the perspectives would jump around so much that I would get bored, that the story would end up feeling disjointed and sloppy. I am one of the few people who was not impressed with this book. And I am sorry, but I found myself wondering if the copy I had was – miraculously – an ARC, because I could not believe that someone as brilliant as Sarah J. Maas could put forward this tome of a book where nothing happens. And trust me, it pains me to say this, but I had to drag myself to the end of the book because I love this series enough to not abandon it.
Slow books aren’t a problem, if they are done well. For me, a psychological thriller or a realistic contemporary is best if it’s slow. But a high-fantasy, YA read with an assassin as a main character? Where revolution is breaking out, and there’s Fae and magic and infinite bad-assery? No, a book like that cannot be slow; if it’s slow, it starts to feel like it’s unnecessarily dragging, and I do not like that.
None of the new characters impressed me. When Manon was first introduced, I was excited because she seemed clever, twisted, dark and I was looking forward to what she had to offer to the series. But, alas, all of her other chapters were putting me to sleep. She was doing nothing! She was training a pet, and this training was described to me in such excruciating detail right in the middle of the chapters where interesting stuff was going on! Not only was her plot-line incredibly dull, it also completely broke the flow of the other chapters! As for Rowan, I do not dislike him, but I don’t care for him either. The only new character I was interested in was Aedion.
Chaol is my love. He is the greatest male character I have read in a long time – complex, honorable, loyal, passionate, fierce yet confused, misguided, hesitant. But I was not invested in even Chaol’s chapters in this book, which is saying something. Dorian’s chapters were fun. Celaena’s chapters were repetitive – just endless training, getting nowhere, banter, training again.
The end was where the book picked up enough for me to bump it up from a two star rating to a three star one. The ending was fast-paced and shocking and edge-of-the-seat exciting. Maas packed all her action into the last thirty pages or so, and wow, it was wonderful. If only there was more of it throughout.
Overall, I was super disappointed with this one. I’ll definitely be reading the next books because I’m too invested in this series to not continue, but perhaps my expectations will be lower going into Queen of Shadows.