“Queen Of Shadows” by Sarah J. Maas

Well, I’m late to the party here. Thing is, everyone on the internet was going on about Queen of Shadows as soon as it came out, but mostly they were being kind of negative? So that didn’t encourage me to go grabbing it. Plus, it was expensive, and my library didn’t have it. Thus it’s taken me a few weeks to get around to reading it.

queen of shadowsBUT I DID. I seem to review a lot of Sarah J. Maas books here, and I wasn’t planning to review this one until I realised it was Thursday night and I had nothing scheduled for tomorrow. I’m heading back to uni on Saturday, so I’ve been a bit busy and preoccupied with boring things like packing. Which means I haven’t been reading any of the eight or so books I have from NetGalley that need reviews.

SORRY. I will get on that once I’m back in my room at uni and have unpacked everything and all that. Including some of the eight books I bought this evening from charity shops. I MAKE BAD AMAZING LIFE CHOICES.

There may be spoilers ahead, but I can assure you I’m not nearly as bad about spoilers as, like, the entire rest of the Throne of Glass fandom. You guys are the WORST. Everywhere I looked it was like SHIP WAR SHIP WAR SHIP WAR. Like, shut up about Chaol already, please.

Also, this is not a very professional review. This is me just blurting thoughts out, because it’s late on Thursday night and I’m only still awake because I napped when I got home from work (I am a child). You’ve been warned.

Queen of Shadows was exciting, emotional, and I liked it better than Heir of Fire, although I didn’t cry as much. But it was too long.

I thought Heir of Fire was too long as well, and it had too many chapters focusing on Manon. I didn’t care about her at all. But in this one, at least her chapters began to correspond with what was happening to Aelin and the others, and weren’t just total diversions from the plot. After a while, I began to find her vaguely engaging. This is good.

There was just… a lot happening in this book. I didn’t feel like anything was dragged out, but at the same time, I was overwhelmed by the length. I always used to love long books, but now I prefer things I can read in a couple of hours. This took me at least four. LONG.

Okay, I mentioned ship wars. There are … slightly controversial events is this book. Many who shipped Chaol and Aelin (Celaena or however you spell her name) were annoyed. Many who shipped her with other people were annoyed, too.

But that’s the thing: I never did. I mean, I thought it was okay, I wasn’t anti-Chaolena the way I sometimes am with ships in popular YA books (coughdivergentcough), but I also wasn’t, like, passionate about it. So I honestly didn’t mind too much when things took a different direction.

No, what disappoints me is the total lack of Aelin/Lysandra shipping. Come on, guys. We could have magical shapeshifting femslash, and you’re going on about Chaol? Really?

… and I’ll get back to the point now.

OH WAIT NO I WON’T HAVE A QUOTE

Lysandra had entered and passed out in her bed with no explanation for why or what she’d been doing beforehand. And since she was utterly unconscious, Aelin had just climbed into bed beside her.

I’m sorry, but somewhere along the line I decided to opt out of boring hetero shipwars and go for SHAPESHIFTING FEMSLASH and I am unapologetic about that.

Have this one too, no context needed for ultimate fun:

Lysandra gazed at the ring, then lifted her eyes to Aelin’s face— and threw her arms around her neck, squeezing tight. She took that as a yes.

GET MARRIED NOW PLEASE.

I actually loved Lysandra’s character development in this book. She was fairly minor in the other books, occupying a more antagonistic role, but I just love Aelin having female friends and having someone she can hang out with, preferably someone as sassy as she is.

Other things I loved:

  • Aelin being described as the “fire-breathing bitch-queen”
  • Rowan being totally pathetic when faced with anything resembling flirting, and absolutely UNDONE by Aelin’s nightdresses. Hahahahha. What a pathetic nerd.
  • So much character development for Aelin and Lysandra in particular, but also the others.
  • Manon actually becoming relevant to the plot.
  • Manon and Aelin having this whole hate-fight that ends in them respecting the hell out of each other for being good fighters. Mad quality.
  • Manon and Asterin’s friendship / history together.
  • To be honest, all of the women supporting women in this book.
  • And also Chaol and Dorian’s friendship (I kind of ship them too? Is that allowed? Can I just make this book queer?)

Things I didn’t love:

  • the use of the word ‘male’. ‘Female’ too, but mostly ‘male’. It comes up SO MUCH and I guess it makes sense because the fae aren’t ‘men’ in the technical sense of the word, they’re male fae, but at the same time, it just bugged me so much. ‘The males did this, the males did that’. I hate it. It’s so annoying. Is that just me? It’s not exactly a major criticism but WHY
  • tooooooooo long.
  • too straight. So many missed opportunities for wonderfully queer characters. I’ll just sit here shipping them all on my own.

Okay this is long and rambly, so I’ll end it now. Still got packing to do.

I’m giving this four stars. It was pretty good but it didn’t blow me away so that I sobbed and then ran around shrieking, which sometimes happens with five star books. It’s definitely more enjoyable if you spend your time shipping Aelin and Lysandra. Just saying.

Rating: ****

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