Queen of Shadows was the first book I read in 2017 and I’m so incredibly thrilled that it was my first book I read because it was AMAZING! I absolutely LOVED it and (so far) it is my favourite novel in the Throne of Glass series. It was packed with action, all the characters were FANTASTIC and it left me on the edge of my seat multiple times!
If you have not read this book or this series… YOU MUST! It’s wonderful and I can proudly say that Sarah J. Maas is one of my favourite authors. If you are interested I have also made a youtube video where I go into great detail towards this book (Link here: QUEEN OF SHADOWS BOOK TALK)
Without further ado, I’m going to dive into spoilers. You have been warned.
The very first chapter revolves around Dorian and oh how upset I was to read the line, “There was a thing waiting in the darkness and he could not bring himself to fight it for much longer.” If you didn’t know I absolutely love the character of Dorian so much. He’s the one I ship Aelin with so you must understand how I must of felt towards the plot twist that involved the King of Adarlan putting a collar around his neck. I was so incredibly upset which resulted in a tumble weed of swearing.
Lysandra is a character in this book that I really grew to love. The development of her character was incredible. Every time she was in a chapter I automatically thought to her as the ultimate role model for promoting GIRL POWER! Lysandra withholds so much strength and determination which truly shows the nature of her character. Although I disliked Lysandra with a passion in The Assassin’s Blade, her character development was incredible and allowed me to change my perspective outlook on her. I thought it was appropriate that Lysandra be the one to deliver the news of Arobynn being the reason for Sam’s death. Reading the lines, “It was good she didn’t have her magic. Good it was stifled. Because she may have erupted into flames and burned and burned for days, cocooned in her fire” allowed me to feel fury on the same level as Aelin towards Arobynn. Oh how I wanted that motherfucker dead!
Speaking of wanting Arobynn dead, how off the god damn chain was it when Lysandra killed him IN HIS SLEEP? If I’m honest with you I was a little disappointed that Aelin wasn’t the one to carry out the murder just because I was rooting for her to avenge Sam yet I’m overjoyed that the plan went along well. I was wondering how Lysandra was able to kill him so easily though. How on earth did he not wake up? It almost seemed too easy in my opinion. I feel that Arobynn has such a high level of skill in terms of being highly aware of the people and sensations around him that he would of been able to sense something not quite right. The fact that he didn’t was quite surprising to me.
Another character I loved to watch grow was Evangeline. How her relationship unfolded with Lysandra was such a beautiful story. In a way it made me look at these two characters as if they were sisters protecting one another. I couldn’t believe what Lysandra had done in order to protect Evangeline. It was such a beautiful moment between these two characters as well as how Aelin was able to forgive and accept Lysandra through this story.
It was also wonderful to read all the little conversations between Aelin and Lysandra as their friendship began to bloom. How there was an offer of friendship and they ended up already being able to share personal things with each other, teasing each other with little things they did as a kid talking about their love for chocolate and what not. It was wonderful to see a connection between these two individuals, who once despised each other, unfold.
On another note I loved that Maas subtly hinted towards Lysandra’s major plot twist through the line, “Please… you and I are nothing but wild beasts wearing human skins. Don’t even try to deny it.” This was such a subtle moment which was ignored by ALL OF US!!! It was incredible to read over once I had finished the novel as it completely draws parallel to how Lysandra is a shape shifter!! Speaking of, I loved the scene at the end of the book where we got to see Lysandra shift into a ghost leopard which may I just add is such a fucking sick twist for Lysandra to have! It added so much to her character and the scene was perfectly done in allowing us to feel how ecstatic Lysandra was in that moment. Lysandra discussed how she shape shifted into this ‘beautiful’ body and was stuck inside this form for years due to the loss of magic. Lysandra was starting to forget how she actually looked like which was incredibly sad to read. It was beautiful though how they were able to free magic allowing Lysandra to discover her true form, true skin, true self once again. You could feel her joy especially in the scene where she ripped apart some valg demons. That was great to read.
Another character I absolutely love in this series is Manon. She is BADASS! All her point of views and the way her character develops is majorly spot on. I’m so excited to discover more about Manon in terms of the choices she will make in the next novel. Which side will she be on? While I love Manon, the choice of allowing Duke Perrington to experiment with breeding valg demons and Yellowleg witches together did not sit right with me. My thoughts stemmed to, “Why are you acting like your grandma, Manon?” and “What the fuck gurrrrrl!!!!” It was vile that she made that choice yet it did make an incredibly, intriguing storyline to hear the desperation in Elide’s voice as she described them. “They are demons. Their skin is like black diamond, and they- they have these snouts, with teeth. Fangs. Already, they have fangs. And not like yours… They have teeth of black stone. There is nothing of you in them.” That imagery was revolting and creeped me out on a whole other level.
In this novel we were reintroduced to Kaltain Rompier who at the beginning of this series was quite a dud character in my opinion often left in the back of my mind yet her character development was also incredible! It was heart breaking to discover that she also had a collar like Dorian and had to pretend that she was being controlled resulting in multiple accounts of abuse. Whenever I read a book that involves dehumanising a woman or a man it makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable and disgusted. My inner voice screams the word, “FEMINISM” especially in this moment towards wanting Kaltain to stand up for herself and be free of this horrific oppression and lack of control. It hurts that this happens in today’s society. Many women and men experience physical and emotional abuse because of the lack of judgment others have in believing that they are superior and that they are allowed to harm another. We are all equal human beings with rights and I believe it is important to address both sexes because we both deserve to be free to be true, strong and worthy. Our gender or body type or occupation or age should not distinguish our level of strength and worth. It was thrilling to later discover that Kaltain has shadowfire powers to avenge herself. It’s great to see a minor character being given such a powerful storyline which allows her to become something far greater than what we would of ever depicted for her.
Elide is another character that we got to see flourish through this book. I feel like she has the potential for more and I believe that we are going to consume a lot about her in the next upcoming book. The fact that she didn’t know she was a witch was very interesting yet wonderful how she finally found out. Elide finally feels like she belongs somewhere and because of that was able to stand up for herself by saying her “blood runs blue”. It was heart breaking how she had to be chained up for years like a pet of Duke Perrington yet I’m excited for what’s to come now now that she is free to explore her power of being a witch.
Chaol is a character that I have disliked from the very beginning and in this book he irritated me so much. There was this specific bit where Aelin and Chaol were having an argument and Aelin stated, “Sorry not for what she’d done to his face, but for the fact that her heart was healed – still fractured in some spots, but healed – and he… he was not in it.” I read this line and may or may not of threw a fist pump in the air. I will admit that as this novel went along I was able to warm up to Chaol. It was the relationship between him and Dorian that allowed me to forget his arrogance for a little bit and remember that Chaol’s main reason for fighting this war is to protect his best friend and to fight for him.
There was a particular scene in this book which I absolutely loved that involved Aelin being apart of a dance group to get Aedion back. There was a heartfelt conversation between Aelin and her teacher about what would happen if magic and art were rekindled. What would it be like for people to be able to express their true selves? I am a firm believer and activist towards wanting everyone to be happy and free to make choices for themselves rather then be dehumanised down to a point where things such as same sex marriage is deemed ‘unacceptable’. This scene took me to a whole other level of relating it to today’s society. People are finally speaking up and promoting the want and NEED for change and slowly, things are starting to change. I personally love art. I believe that I am an artist and that we all are artists in our own rights which is why this moment for me was incredibly relatable.
Two scenes that freaked me out was when Aelin was about to kill Dorian. I was screaming. “DON’T DO IT!!!” and I’m so glad that she didn’t yet it was heart breaking to read Dorian’s point of view towards wanting Aelin to kill him. That was awful to read. Another scene which freaked me out was when Arobynn gave Aelin the Amulet of Orynth and then put a controlling ring on her finger. I was swearing and freaking out thinking about what is going to happen to Aelin. How is she going to change? Is she going to become like Dorian? Completely possessed by a valg demon? It scared the hell out of me but then finding out later that once they had gotten home Aelin was all like, “Was that it?” and took the ring off was the biggest relief! MAAS GOT ME SO GOOD!!!!!
If you know me you will know that I ship Dorian with Aelin so when I heard about Rowan at the beginning I was skeptical. I didn’t like him one bit in Heir of Fire yet reading this book made me start to appreciate him and I actually kind of like him now. DAMN IT MAAS!!! The suspense between them was too much. I was waiting for them to kiss and then when they did it was wonderful!!! How Aelin turned into a little poet saying, “You make me want to live, Rowan. Not survive. Not exist. Live.” And then how Rowan ended up saying it back to her was sweet. So sadly this means that I don’t mind if Aelin ends up with Rowan YET DORIAN IS MY ULTIMATE SHIP! MAKE IT HAPPEN MAAS! PLS PLS! Dorian is bae!
When Dorian broke free of the collar I was screaming for joy! I loved that all it took was Aelin saying, “You killed him, didn’t you?” referring to Dorian’s father ‘killing’ Chaol. How Dorian automatically changed and was able to break free through the power of love, friendship and bromance. That was so epic! The moment that followed after towards Aelin and Dorian becoming one was exceptional. It was such a grand epic moment that needs to be addressed! The imagery was filled with warmth and colour that you could clearly see it before your eyes. They became one uniting together intertwined with magic. I really enjoyed reading the lines on page 575, “They joined hands. So the world ended. And the next one began… They were infinite. They were the beginning and the ending; they were eternity. The king standing before them gaped as the shield of flame died out to reveal Aelin and Dorian, hand in hand, glowing like newborn gods as their magic entwined.” Truly spectacular imagery! It gives me all the feels and makes me want Dorian and Aelin to be together so bad !!!!! Definitely my favourite scene in the ENTIRE series.
I also loved Aelin’s speech to the city folk announcing, “If you loot, if you riot, if you cause one lick of trouble… I will find you, and I will burn you to ash… I killed your king (even though she actually didn’t). His empire is over. Your slaves are now free people. If I catch you holding onto your slaves, if I hear of any household keeping them captive, you are dead. If I hear of you whipping a slave, or trying to sell one, you are dead. So I suggest that you tell your friends, and families, and neighbours. I suggest that you act like reasonable, intelligent people. And I suggest that you stay on your best behaviour until your king is ready to greet you, at which time I swear on my crown that I will yield control of this city to him. If anyone has a problem with it, you can take it up with my court (pointing to Rowan, Aedion and Lysandra) or you can take it up with me.” Such an epic moment !!!!!
Some little theories I have for the next book involve a relationship teaser between Dorian and Manon but I still believe in the long run Dorian will end up with Aelin. I also think that Aedion and Lysandra are going to be a thing which I hope happens because I like both of them together. Lysandra deserves love and Aedion is actually really cool. I also hope that Manon finally stands up to her grandma and puts her in her corner (what up Dirty Dancing reference). I’m so excited to read what’s going to happen next though. Who knows what Maas and Aelin have planned for destruction!
To wrap up, this book is my favourite in the series so far and probably tops as one of my favourite books I have ever read! If you know me you will know that I am action obsessed and this novel did not disappoint. I rate this book 5/5 stars because I absolutely loved it! If you’ve read this book please don’t hesitate to leave a comment sharing any opinions you had.
For now, I hope you are enjoying your day and are indulging yourself in the addiction that is books. Devour. Devour. Devour.