Friday, September 25, 2015

[Review + Giveaway] Queen of Shadows (#4) by Sarah J. Maas

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Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 01/09/2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 645
Source: Bought
Genre: YA - Fantasy (14+)

Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity
My Rating: 

Gripping, emotional, edge-of-your-seat read

My thoughts

Sarah J. Maas never fails to amaze me with her gripping storytelling - one of such rarity, managing to captivate me time and time again with bone-chilling, edge-of-your-seat, tantalisingly glorious twists and turns, and unfaltering writing style. 
Her heightened ability to create characters that stick, cling and crawl under one's skin seems to be a weapon of its own. I cannot, will not manage ever to remove Aelin nor Aedion nor Rowan nor Chaol nor Dorian nor Nehemia nor Sam, out of my heart and mind. I know I am not alone in this, a reader whose connection to the characters found in a book made profound, palpable and real and lovely... For me it is something I cannot find often in tv or movies. As a sequel, the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, it stands triumphant. I am still reeling from the experience, excited for the day to come when my real life friends to whom I've recommended this series get around to reading this so they too can engage and fall in love with the characters, the writing and the author as much as I have.

I think it's pretty blatantly obvious that I loved this book, and adore and cherish this series as a whole. I guess I should add some substance to this review, hey?

In Queen of Shadows, Celaena has just returned back from Wendlyn, where her Fae powers and true identity as Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, Queen of the fallen Terrasen were actualised, and she has a few scores to settle in Rifthold, the city that both served and enslaved her. Meanwhile, Prince Dorian has been captured by his father, the King of Adarlan, a Valg demon trapped inside of him; and Chaol has since abandoned his duty as Captain of the Guard to serve the King, now a member of the opposing Rebels, full of self loathing and dealing with his decision to run when Dorian needed him most. War is on the horizon, one that will involve creatures horrific and not of this world, and the fate of the world rests in the hands of The Assassin, the monster that Arobynn Hamel made, his protégé, Celaena Sardothien.
As I previously stated, the writing is just flawless.
The book runs by its own pace. One of the things I really like is that Maas takes the time to develop her characters, and the world-building is probably one of the greatest I've encountered in YA fantasy. I have been a fan of the writing style from the very beginning, and I'm glad to see that a consistency has been maintained as we pass into the second half of the series. She manages to keep a delicate balance of suspense, action, emotional and humor. I don't think there was one emotion that I did not feel whilst reading this book. This is definitely a book that will demand your undivided attention.
I simply could not get enough of it!


If you've been following my reviews for a while or have any idea about my taste in books or know me personally, you'll know that I tend to focus more on the emotions and the connections that I feel towards the characters.
As such, 'Queen of Shadows' really blew me away. Here we have Celaena Sardothien who has just returned from Wendlyn, now with the knowledge that she is Aelin Galathynius, the rightful heir to the throne in Terrasen, and she has to face all of the physical and mental scars from her time in Rifthold (and more specifically by the hands of Arobynn Hamel). Maas could not have done it better. She manages to bring us back to the past with flashbacks, evoking conflicting emotions within the reader. Following Aelin in this emotional journey just brings home just how much she has had to struggle to get to be where she is today, and I love her more for it.

Romance-wise, Aelin is not without her fair share of suitors, and it seems that the line just keeps getting longer. I really really adored the direction Maas took with the relationship between her and Rowan in Heir of Fire because there was no real romantic intention there. I admit I was still taken by how it has progressed in this book (I'm ashamedly very canon with my books), but upon reflection I did find it a little bit unnecessary, and it sort of felt like just an excuse to bring more sexual tension, steaminess and drama into the equation.

I admit I'm a sucker for the bittersweet and melancholy, so I quite liked the interactions between Aelin and Chaol. 

I know there is a lot of hate for Chaol now, a character that everyone used to adore until he pushed her away because she had magic running through her veins. But that's beside the point. I just like how Maas has brought both characters to this point where they're both okay, there is nothing left between them, and that's okay. That is life. I feel like this is rarely explored in YA literature. Feelings and people change. So at this moment, I'm just floating, I'll see where things go from here.

The last hundred pages or so of this book was just non-stop. 

So much happened and I could not read fast enough. Without spoiling anything, this is without a doubt a must-read. The end of this book marks the beginning of something big for the gang, and I have absolutely no idea how I can wait another year for the next book to come out so I can find out what happens next! Oh, the struggles of reading series as they're still being published...

Giveaway

IN MY EXCITEMENT I BOUGHT TWO COPIES OF 'QUEEN OF SHADOWS' :D

So what happened was I pre-ordered a copy off of The Book Depository. Not only does it take forever to arrive with shipping but they actually dispatched it like a week after the release date! Not cool. I couldn't wait. I went out the day after release day and grabbed a copy at Kinokuniya so I could read it right after I was done with what I was reading at the time.

Which is good news for one of you lucky guys!
  • 1x SIGNED and personalised copy of 'Queen of Shadows' is up for grabs!
  • AU/NZ ONLY unless you are willing to pay for postage or buy me a book in exchange :'

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Quotes

First line: There was a thing waiting in the darkness.

Favourites:

"Arobynn continued to pin her with that lover's gaze. 'Nothing is without a price.' He brushed a kiss against her cheekbone, his lips soft and warm. She fought the shudder that trembled through her, and made herself lean into him as he brought his mouth against her ear and whispered, 'Tell me what I must do to atone; tell me to crawl over hot coals, to sleep on a bed of nails, to carve up my flesh. Say the word, and it is done. But let me care for you as I once did, before . . . before that madness poisoned my heart. Punish me, torture me, wreck me, but let me help you. Do this small thing for me--and let me lay the world at your feet.' (23)

"She dared to look up at him, her elbow brushing his forearm. 'I missed you.'
His mouth tightened. 'We weren't apart that long.'
Right. To an immortal, several weeks were nothing. 'So? Am I not allowed to miss you?'
'I once told you that the people you care about are weapons to be used against you. Missing me was a foolish distraction.'
'You're a real charmer, you know that?'(242)
The whole page 326 scene at the grave.
"'I stopped caring,' Asterin said at last. 'About anything and everything. After that, it was all a joke, and a thrill, and nothing scared me.
That wildness, that untamed fierceness . . . They weren't born of a free heart, but of one that had known despair so complete that living brightly, living violently, was the only way to outrun it. (504)

"'You make me want to live, Rowan. Not survive; not exist. Live.' (527)

Page 613 - The whole scene between Aelin and Rowan. <3
"'What was it like?' Manon asked quietly. 'To love.'
[...]
'It was like dying a little every day. It was like being alive, too. It was joy so complete it was pain. It destroyed me and unmade me and forged me. I hated it, because I knew I couldn't escape it, and knew it would forever change me.' (634)

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I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.



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