By Sarah J. Maas

 

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.
As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.
Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

I have to say A Court of Mist and Fury was one of my favourite reads of this year. In that book, Sarah J. Maas expanded on a richly detailed world that captivated my imagination and explored characters that stole my heart. And yet, when it comes to the Throne of Glass series, there’s always something that prevents me from fully embracing the world and the characters presented in it.

If you haven’t read the first 4 books of this series, you’re in the wrong place.┬áThis has no standalone qualities whatsoever, so you really need to be fully immersed in this world by the time you get here.

This series is a weird one, in that it transformed itself almost completely around the 3rd book. What started out as a pretty good, if fairly standard, first book, grew into a complex and political series not unlike Game of Thrones. This turn of events brought with it a lot of good, but also a few things that could be construed as bad.

The good: a lot of new, kickass characters; the world feels bigger, more intricate
The bad: the original characters are now much less interesting than the new side characters; the bigger scope might lead to over complicating the story

Let’s start by talking about our 3 main original characters.
Aelin’s chapters were the most boring, and that should be blasphemous, but unfortunately it’s true. I miss Celaena. Her chapters are also heavy with Rowan, and I’m just not a fan.
Dorian was reduced to a secondary role, even though his powers are supposedly as strong as Aelin’s, and Chaol isn’t even in this book (he will be in an upcoming novella apparently).

So is it any wonder I’d much rather be reading about Elide, Aedin, Lysandra and Manon? No, it isn’t. Manon even makes Dorian interesting again for about 5 minutes.

My other problem with this book is that we, as readers, are kept in the dark about Aelin’s plans as much as everyone else. So when the plans are revealed in some twisty gotcha kind of way, it works well once, maybe twice. But it’s done so many times throughout this book that by the end I wasn’t even bothering trying to figure anything out, because the obvious way out of any situation was Aelin and her secret plans. It really took me out of the story. I can only compare it to those Poirot type crime novels, when the murderer turns out to be some cousin twice removed we never even heard about until the end. It feels like cheating. It was done in a way that didn’t feel genuine to me.

I was also not sold on all the seeds Aelin supposedly sew since book 1 that came into fruition in this book. Some made sense, some seemed farfetched. I don’t know if they were retconned, but it felt that way sometimes.

Now, you’re probably thinking I hated this book. I didn’t!

The pacing was incredible, much better than any of the previous books, and the action non-stop. All the characters besides the original 3 (and Rowan hah) were interesting, even fascinating. And the ending was an amazing setup for the 6th and final book.

This book is a great ride and a lot of fun. It’s very long (almost 700 pages), but the hours I spent reading it really flew by. My main issues with it stem from the changes made to the series as whole which, while clearly improving the series, hurt the main characters’ development.

I still want to go rattle the stars though. Most definitely.

 

3 hearts out of 5

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