Thursday, October 23, 2014

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) : Review

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: ★★★★★

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?

(Prepare yourself because I have a lot of words for this one)

After finishing Crown of Midnight, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Heir of Fire. I eagerly waited for my Amazon package to come in and pretty much stalked the tracking website in the hopes that I would waste as little time as possible between the package being delivered and me starting to read. Let's just say that this book was totally worth the wait, the agony of the waiting, the overwhelming feels from the aftermath of the previous book and basically acting like a lunatic while waiting. In fact, it was worth so much more. Heir of Fire gives us things that made me just love the series even more. There is background information. There is character development. There is world building. What more could we have asked for, really? Because of Heir of Fire, the Throne of Glass series is no officially one of my favorite series and it's going to take a hell of a lot to change that.

Background information. There was so much that we found out about Celaena, mostly via flashbacks. We get to see Celaena as a little girl, ten years ago. We get to see what was happening in her life before the night her parents died and what happened on that night that changed everything for her. We get to see parts of Celaena/Aelin that she's been keeping hidden deep inside her.

Character development. There was so much of this happening in this novel and it was amazing! Celaena starts off this novel in a state of numbness. She's decided that she really doesn't care about anything anymore and this is part of the aftermath of Nehemia's death. Over the course of the book, we see her finally dealing with things that she really needed to deal with a long time ago but has been avoiding it and ignoring it until now. The part where the "get up" chant is happening (I'm not saying where or when or why because I'm trying not to spoil things as much as I possibly can while also talking about the book) but at that part, my feels were just

She, after a lot of struggling, finally comes to terms with her parent's death and Nehemia's death. For Celaena, this novel is about her facing her destiny and ultimately having to choose whether she's going to accept it or not.

Dorian just can't catch a break. Everything good that happens to him eventually ends. It seemed like maybe he was going to get a piece of happy all for himself and then that ending happened and it was like one horrible thing followed by a worse one. I don't even know what is going to happen to poor Dorian. I don't know how/if he is going to get out of this one.

Chaol. Okay, as much as I love Chaol (and I do really really love him) I found myself getting annoyed with him. I felt like every single character in this book had depth and Chaol came off as very two-dimensional. He's all about loyalty and duty and all that and it's what got him into trouble in the last book and it's what was making things worse for him in this one. I just felt like "OMG Chaol. The world is bigger than the castle and you need to realize this and get on the right side of things already. Stop being blinded by your stupid loyalty to the freaking king!" Even when he's doing things for a better cause, he's not doing it for the sake of the cause but because he thinks it will end up protecting Dorian! I was so frustrated with him.  That scene where he goes to Dorian's room and Dorian basically gives him this whole shpeel and calls him out on his ridiculous-ness I was reading it thinking "Amen for Dorian!"

There are also some new characters introduced and I gotta say, I like them. We'll go in order of most favorite to least favorite out of the three main ones. First, there is Rowan. Rowan is a Fae who has been assigned by Queen Maeve (queen of the fae) to train Celaena in using her powers. Rowan and Celaena/Aelin do not get along. At all. But somehow their relationships goes from completely disastrous to absolutely perfect. Celaena and Rowan a 100% platonic friendship unlike anything I've ever seen before in any book. Rowan saves Celaena from this dark space (double meaning there...). He's the one who helps her get back up after she's bit rock bottom (It's another story that he kind of played a part in her hitting rock bottom in the first place). Celaena is able to trust Rowan in ways that she hasn't trusted anyone before. She opens up to him about things that she's been keeping hidden for so long and Rowan definitely pushes her towards confronting her demons and facing reality because Celaena would much rather be selfish if it means not dealing with her issues. Rowan changes that for the better and Celaena that emerges at the end of the novel is more glorious than she's ever been. I really love Rowan and I love their friendship, it's one of the best things about this series.

In a close second, we have Aedion who is Aelin's cousin and was so very loyal to Aelin when they were kids but has been working for the king who kind of trained him for his army and made him a general in his army. Aedion's story and his connection to Aelin is so beautiful and heart-breaking and after that ending my heart fears the for the worst. When I read book 4, I'm going to need an entire box of tissues next to me, just in case.

Finally, we have Manon. She is a witch, the leader of The Thirteen, who are the most powerful coven among the Ironteeth Witches. Her storyline is separate from the rest of the characters. The witches are playing a part in the king's scheme and I'm sure we'll be seeing more of them in the next books. I didn't like her as much as Rowan or Aedion but to be fair, those two are tough competition. Manon is a heart-less, vicious, witch but there is a little bit of humanity in her. So maybe she's not really that evil. There may be hope for her yet.

The world building is this book was so great! A big part of fantasy novels is the world building. In the first two books, we were mainly in Rifthold and we got little glimpses of Terrasen and heard about other places like Eyllwe and the Red Desert. In Heir of Fire, the world is expanded. We've moved outside of Rifthold and now get to see what is happening in Erilea away from the glass castle. Chaol and Dorian are still in Rifthold so Rifthold isn't completely gone and we are learning more about the rebels. Then we have Celaena and Rowan in Wendlyn where there are plenty of mysterious creatures to be found. And, of course, there are Manon and the witches in the Ferian Gap with they wyverns.

That's another thing. There are new creatures introduced in this book and it just added to that fantasy element because sometimes in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight it was easy to forget that this is a high fantasy series. The creatures of Wendlyn are strange and very mysterious. We meet the skin-walkers (?) who creeped me out. There are the little creatures who kind of just watch Celaena whenever she's in the forest. There's this other weird... thing... that they encounter. Through Manon's storyline we also meet talking giant spiders and, of course, the wyverns. I'm not quite sure what the wyverns look like but I picture as being king of like dragons. Oh handy dandy Google has an image:

So yeah. The king has been breeding them in the Ferian Gap and has now recruited the witches to fly on their wyvern and basically become his equivalent of the air force. I'm excited to see where Manon's storyline is headed mostly because of the wyverns.

Here's the thing. Heir of Fire is a very different novel from the first two books and that's because it serves a different purpose, for the series, than the previous books did. Throne of Glass introduced us to the world and some of the key role players. Crown of Midnight was a very plot driven novel that set things into motion. It layed the foundations for the over-arcing series plot. It was very much a catalyst novel. Heir of Fire, on the other hand, is not a very plot driven novel. Heir of Fire is the book that gives us tons of background information, character development and world building. All of which is very much needed for the story to move forward. Don't get me wrong. It's not like nothing happens in Heir of Fire. There is a plot and there are important things happening but they kind of take a back seat for a good portion of the novel in order for all the rest of the stuff to happen. I really liked Heir of Fire and I thought it was a great follow up to Crown of Midnight, it wasn't at all disappointing  and it made me love this series that much more. The things that are happening in this novel are very much needed for the characters and the stories.

I loved the varying POVs. I loved the story telling. I loved the character progession. I loved everything about this book! Sarah J. Maas you are now officially one of my insta-buy authors. I will read anything and everything you write. I don't care what its about just give it to me.

Side note. Sarah made a post on her blog where she shared a couple songs that inspired Chapter 55 in the book and one of the songs is this:

She renamed it "Rattle the Stars"!!! I re-read that chapter with this music playing and it was so perfect! It was like this song and that chapter were just meant to be. If you go to her blog, she actually shares which lines match up with which parts of the song. Seriously, try this out because the song goes so well with Chapter 55. And Chapter 55 is just amazing anyway.

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