This book was a roller coaster. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it was. I loved every second of this book, and it was way better than I had expected. After reading Heir of Fire, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. From the last book of the series, it was clear that this one was going to be crazy in terms of the plotline. However, I didn’t expect this much.
The plot in this book was just perfect. I think that this is one of the most essential books in the series in terms of the plotline. We learn about Elide Lochan and what happened to her after her mother’s sacrifice ten years ago to save Aelin. We learn of Chaol’s time with the rebels and Nesryn Faliq. We see Rowan and Aelin’s friendship turn into much more. We see Lysandra become a friend to the Queen of Terrasen. We see Manon Blackbeak become an essential character in terms of the Valg princes and witch armies. And finally, we see Dorian taken over by a Valg Prince.
First, Aelin’s story of finally becoming her true self is fascinating. Aelin returns to Rifthold to find the third Wyrdkey, which causes her to fall into the past and the role of Celaena Sardothien as she encounters Arrobyn Hamel, her former master. I think that this part of the story was exciting as Aelin had not seen Arrobyn since the night in which her world fell apart, and she was sentenced to a lifetime in Endovier. Arrobyn Hamel, as we find out in the Assassins Blade, was the one who caused that to happen to her because “he does not like sharing his belongings.” I think that this whole part of Aelin’s story in this book was just really fascinating because I feel like I had been waiting for her to finally run into Arrobyn and make him pay for all the pain he caused her. Along with all of this, after Aelin finds the third Wyrdkey, she sets out to destroy the clock tower at the castle to free magic. An elaborate plan was set in place for this, and it obviously didn’t go to plan.
While Aelin set out to destroy the clock tower and retrieve the third Wyrdkey, Manon Blackbeak is sent to Morath as Wing Leader. While being in Morath, she meets Elide Lochan, the daughter of Marion, who sacrificed herself for Aelin ten years ago. Elide had been stuck under her uncle’s wrath since the death of both of her parents, and was basically a slave for her uncle. However, we find out that Elide has witch blood in her veins, and she claims herself as a Blackbeak for protection through Manon. Manon works towards the goal of discovering what is happening in the dungeons beneath the Keep, which is the Valg demons taking over individual people, including witches.
Finally, Dorian has an exciting story in this book. A Valg Prince enslaves him, and throughout the book, he is fighting for control over his own body. I found his few chapters very interesting. Dorian was practically stuck in his skin, being controlled by a monster. He could see through eyes that were his own, but he had no control. I think the entire storyline here is just fascinating. I mean the fact that Dorian, the Crown Prince, of all people, was able to be enslaved by a Valg Prince is precisely the extra touch the book needed. It drove the rebels to murder the King of Adarlan, and it drove Chaol right into the arms of Manon Blackbeak, who ultimately saved Dorian’s life in the end.
Aelin Ashryver Galathynius becomes the person she was born to be in this book. From Heir of Fire, she discovers the power she has within her, and her connection to the line of Galathynius’ and Ashryvers, and she finally puts it to her advantage. Not only does she have the skill set of a mortal soldier through knives, daggers, and swords, but she also has magic coursing through her veins. I think that she turns into a character that trusts herself and her court more and more. It’s hard to believe she was only Celaena Sardothien a few books ago! Aelin shows signs of becoming an excellent, strong queen throughout the book, and it seems that it will soon become that way as they finally conquered Adarlan’s Empire.
Rowan Whitethorn becomes a massive part of this book, as he was in the last one. Rowan shows up about three hundred pages into the book, and he makes quite an entrance. I have to say, even though he doesn’t have his immortal stealth through most of the story, he still catches me off guard every time! Rowan becomes a character who is very loyal to Aelin, which I love for him. After hearing his backstory of Lyria, and her death, I think it is exactly what he needs. Aelin has always been someone who is very secretive and only lets people in when she knows for sure they can be trusted, and I feel like Rowan is the same in that aspect. Their relationship turns into something that I love reading about, and I’m excited to see where it goes through the next few books.
Aedion is also a character I loved in this book. The reunion between him and his long lost Queen was one of my favorite parts of the book, and I love how blindly loyal he is towards Aelin, even after ten years of separation. Aedion has been a character I liked from the beginning, but from the way he stands up for Aelin (even though she can stand up for herself), I know that he will always be her loyal, unwavering, protector. No matter what. And it’s nice to see a character that can be relied upon, no matter what Aelin does.
Lysandra also becomes a character that plays a massive role in this book. After reading Assassin’s Blade, I honestly didn’t like her at all. I felt like she was just too much for me to handle, but she made up for that in this book. Lysandra turns into a female character that Aelin realizes she needed after the death of Nehemia. I think both of the girls needed each other, and the fact that Lysandra is a shapeshifter just makes her that much cooler.
Dorian was also an essential character in this book. His storyline of fighting with the Valg Prince didn’t give him much development or time to be a character himself, but I think that he has grown into a leader who will be able to rule Adarlan properly.
From the last book, Manon Blackbeak was a character that I didn’t look forward to reading about, just because it bored me; however, this book made her into a fascinating character. Manon shows emotions in this book, which surprised me because witches aren’t supposed to. Manon became a witch stuck in a position of power, but she ultimately made the right decisions, and it all becomes something worthwhile, such as Dorian being alive.
Finally, Lorcan has a minor role in this book. After meeting him in Heir of Fire, I didn’t know what to expect from him as a character, especially since he was only in a few chapters, although, after the events of what happened in Doranelle, I came to dislike his character, just as Aelin did. Lorcan sort of redeemed himself in this book through helping in the sewers with Rowan and Aedion during the plan to blow up the tower, however, for me, he needs to convince me a lot more that he is a good character and someone who can be trusted.
“And at long last, Aelin Ashryver Galathynius was home.”
This book has a few settings since there are a couple of different points of view. The primary setting is Rifthold again, the city where it all started. Most of the characters, including Aelin, Rowan, Dorian, Chaol, and Lysandra, are in Rifthold throughout this book. They are working towards an end goal of infiltrating the castle and blowing up the clock tower. Rifthold has always been a city that I would’ve like to see, however, in this book it is portrayed a little differently than in the Assassin’s Blade, Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. With the rebellion finally happening, it is turning into a city with a lot of violence, which is turning me away from seeing it; however, there will always be certain places, such as the Warehouse apartment, that will hold a special place in my heart.
There was also the setting of Morath in which Manon, Elide, and The Thirteen were placed in. The keep seemed like an incredibly dark place, and it isn’t a place I’d ever like to see. Unlike the city of Rifthold, Manon’s setting was a much colder place, and it just felt like being locked in a cold tower. With all of the Valg experiments going on, as well as the vicious witches and the Duke, it’s a place that is too icy and intense for my liking.
The writing in this book is, as usual, impeccable. Sarah J. Maas always surprises me with her writing, and each book gets better and better and draws me in that much more. I have to say, the writing made the book what it is, and it is incredible.
I recommend this book to anyone who has read the last ones. You should continue with the series because it just gets better and better. The character development is just perfect, and we meet new characters as well as have a blast from the past through Assassin’s Blade. I think that this book is the best addition to the Throne of Glass series, and is my favorite so far.