In Retrospect: Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

in retrospect hof and qosI’ve spent the past 3 nights or so staying up until 2am, re-reading the best fantasy series I’ve encountered so far this year (and to be honest, I don’t think anything can top it). Three (almost sleepless) nights reading, avoiding all my responsibilities, including chores and studying to read.

Anyway, there’s a lot I’ve noticed about these two books that I didn’t notice when I read the books for the first time, and it’s worth the constant yawning and almost falling asleep during class. I’d like to share some of my thoughts and opinions on these books.

In no way is this a review, or a non-spoilery discussion. Unless you live under a rock and haven’t read the Throne of Glass books before (especially Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows), then I highly suggest that you click away because you will be spoiled. I have a non-spoilery review of Queen of Shadows (book 4 in the series), but I highly suggest you don’t touch it if you don’t want to be spoiled for the first few books (seriously, go and read the series now).


Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, lets start with Heir of Fire. I didn’t read the entire book, because that would mean a week of falling asleep in class, but I re-read all the chapters that were dealing specifically with Celaena and her journey.  I love Heir of Fire because we learn so much about Celaena as a person (I really should be saying Aelin), and we grow so much closer to the characters emotionally. There’s so much character development, such as Aelin finally embracing who she is as a person, and what she was destined for, instead of hiding behind the alter-ego that is Celaena. There’s also many vulnerable moments when she finally has the courage to spill her past to Rowan, who doesn’t judge her for what she’s done and who is accepting of who she is (even though Sarah J Maas killed a perfectly good brotp of mine).

I’ve actually re-read the story-arc that concerns Celaena in Wendlyn many times now and every time I read it, it’s still very touching, but also exciting. There’s still the relationship between Chaol and Aelin who are separated by the distance, and how that affects Celaena.

There’s also hints at what’s to come, with the Valg princes. This issue is addressed in Heir of Fire, but it comes into prominent play in Queen of Shadows. We learn when we come back to Rifthold that there is trouble brewing in the city with dark magic at play, as well as crazy schemes that Aelin is planning. I thought the way that Sarah J Maas executed these plans (such as rescuing Aedion, killing Arobynn) were written really well, because she hints at it, but it’s not what you’d expect the bigger picture to be until the event actually happens. All this also contributes to the tension and excitement leading up to the climax. I did initially think the world was getting a little too complex, but after re-reading it, I picked up some more points about the book that didn’t really register the first time I read it.

The Chaolaena ship was abandoned, which saddens me, but we get Rowan x Aelin and Chaol x Nesryn. I’m really happy that Chaol is (kinda) with Nesryn, because he seems much more content and at peace than he has been in the past few books, especially after fleeing the castle at the end of Heir of Fire. I didn’t see the other one coming, mainly because I was too focused on Rowan x Aelin being a really good friendship/carranam paring. After re-reading Heir of Fire again, I guess I really should’ve seen it coming since their intimacy in Heir of Fire was more than just a friendship (although there’s honestly no reason why friends can’t do those things). The “Territorial Fae nonsense” also going on between Rowan and Aedion was actually somewhat humourous when I read it, because they are literally trying to get on each other’s nerves. In the end though, I love how Rowan refers to Aedion as his brother, which although they still having pissing contests, he really does care for Aedion.

There’s so much action in both books as well. The highlights include:

  • The battle at Mistward where Aelin defeats the Valg princes
  • Aedion’s birthday party
  • Aelin and Manon meeting for the first time
  • The epic ending of Queen of Shadows where Dorian and Aelin combine their power and bring down the glass castle.

All these are beautifully written, especially the last one. Although, after reading it again, I’m wondering what form Dorian’s magic can actually take place, since he has raw magic. Does that mean he can harness in whatever form he wants it to be? I think this might’ve been mentioned in Crown of Midnight or one of the chapters I skipped in Heir of Fire, but if you do know, let me know.

In hindsight after re-reading both these books again, Heir of Fire was definitely more about the character development, and seeing Aelin slowly coming to terms to her role. Queen of Shadows is pushing the plot forward, building the tension for the next two books to come. These two are my favourite in the series, just because so much happens in these two books that really pushes the plot forward (and makes us grow even more emotionally attached to these characters).

What are your thoughts on these two books? :)

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One thought on “In Retrospect: Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

  1. Pingback: In Retrospect: Study Series by Maria V. Snyder – Kaleidoscope of Books

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