Series: Throne of Glass #3
Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's (9.2.2014)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 565 pages
Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.
While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?
I’m going to be honest, I really struggled with this book at first. The first half was excruciatingly boring, to the point that I almost gave up. I had to put it down several times – I read to 10%, put it down and picked up Trial by Fire; picked it back up after I finished that one only to put it back down at 20%; started and finished Fiendish, then picked HoF back up again, this time pushing myself through and finally making it to an interesting point. This was extremely difficult to rate because I have a totally different rating for the second half than I do for the first half. Because the book was so divided to me, I’m going to split my review in half and do it by section!
The first half
I was bored. To tears. There was little to nothing happening, and I couldn’t get interested in the story at all. The POV flip flopped between Celaena, Dorian, and Chaol’s lives (with a few little sprinkles of side characters too – I’ll get to that); which was nice because I got to see everything that was happening instead of tunnel vision through Celaena. I am sad to say that I didn’t care one bit about any of those stories. The only thing I cared about in the first 50% of this story? Manon Blackbeak.
Oh. My. Gosh. This branch of the story seriously needs its own book! Until the first appearance of Manon, I was wondering if I was ever going to enjoy the story. At first I was a little creeped out – remember how weird Baba Yellowlegs was in the last book? Ew. But, Manon was awesome. She was a very complex and interesting character to begin with, but the true interest came from the wyverns. HOLY CRAP THAT WAS AWESOME. I was so engrossed in her journey to choose a wyvern mount! I seriously loved the battle between Titus and Abraxos, and all of the wyvern scenes were so cinematic that I’m absolutely dying to see it in a movie!
I also really enjoyed Manon’s character arc. She seemed very cold and emotionless in the beginning – how a witch is supposed to act – but as the story went on you could see small glimpses of humanity in her. I love the relationship that developed between Manon and Abraxos! I may be slightly jealous ;D It got to the point where I was reading the other parts just to get back to Manon. That was the only thing that kept me going in the first half.
My rating for the first half = 2.5, maybe 3 tops (but only because of Manon)
The second half
It wasn’t until after 50% that things finally started picking up in the other stories. Which wouldn’t be too bad with most normal sized books, but this book was 565 pages. That’s nearly 300 pages of boredom! Not cool. But, I was soon just as engrossed with Celaena’s story as I was with Manon’s. The scene with those creepy things in the forest (I honestly can’t even remember what they were called) was freaking awesome! View Spoiler »It was perfect, like a scene from a horror movie – when Celaena is hiding behind a tree, and raises the knife to see behind her and BAM! the thing is right in her face! « Hide Spoiler OHMIGOSH INTENSSSSEEE. It was heart pounding and fingernail biting awesome! Then there was this:
Five in all. They hurtled through the trees and over stones: two wolves, one black and one moon-white; the powerfully built male; the bird swooping low over them; and a familiar mountain cat racing behind.
*whistles* Now there’s a sight!
I enjoyed the development between Celaena and Rowan. It started off as being nearly hatred, and they slowly warmed to each other until they finally reached an alliance, becoming friends and eventually more. I love those kind of relationships! I loved what happened with Maeve, too! *warm fuzzies*
It was great to finally get a glimpse of Celaena’s past, and what happened that night. It goes a long way to understanding her character! She was also in a very dark place in this book after the events of Crown of Midnight. I think Rowan helped a lot to bring her out of that darkness and give her a purpose. I used to be Team Chaol all the way, but I think Rowan is a better fit for her (doesn’t necessarily mean I like him, though – too broody and stoic for me). For some reason I didn’t care overly much for Chaol this book, which makes me sad to admit =/
I also was very invested in the Sorscha/Dorian story line toward the end. View Spoiler »Actually, I didn’t realize just how invested I was until Sorscha was killed! I was like WAIT, no! Nooo! Did that just happen?! « Hide Spoiler I kinda just wanted Dorian to be happy because of everything he’d been through, even though he isn’t my favorite character.
The change from the first half is seriously night and day. If the first half had been like the last half, I would have gladly given this book 5 stars. It might have even earned my Hail to the King Award. I think a lot of the beginning could have easily been eliminated, making the pacing much faster and much less…excruciating.
My rating for the second half = 5 or 5+
Despite the horrendous pacing in the beginning, this was a very enjoyable book. Sarah J. Maas is a pro at bringing her world to life, making you feel like you’re actually seeing what she’s describing. I love being in her world and look forward to finding out what happens in book 4!
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 3.5/5