This is fighting for my favorite book in the series for so many reasons. Many because Sarah J Maas pulled a back-hand and showed her readers she had a plan all along for Chaol and she didn’t just toss him aside like he was a wasted character.
I loved exploring the Southern continent and how their lands work. We have a powerful royals who have spontaneous and wicked personalities who are fighting for the throne, we have a tower of women (with some men) who specialize in healing and not fighting which is so important, we have library cats because yes that is something we all didn’t know that we needed, we have giant spiders who are more deadly and animalistic than their northern sisters and absolutely something that I am terrified of yet want to know more about, and we have a huge twist that no one saw coming (and if you think you saw it coming, you’re wrong).
I want to touch on the disability part in this book.
I thought it was wonderfully done.
I went to the release party that Sarah J Maas held in Nashville, Tennessee and she voiced that she spent months and months asking people how they do certain things with disabilities and watching videos on how things were done. She went that extra mile to not assume she would know how it would be done, but to ask people and to actually learn about that group of people.
I believe her research paid off in this book. I will say that Chaol’s journey is a great one, and I am comparing this to the rest of the group’s journey’s here as well, but it isn’t all daisies and puppies at the end (which I completely prefer because anyone can be a hero, as long as they want it badly enough). She ended Chaol’s emotional journey in the absolute best way possible and I can’t say anymore because I will start crying for the fifth time.
“you must enter where you fear to tread”
She said one of the hardest things for her was to sit back and not say a word when people were bashing how she was treating Chaol. Letting people believe that his story didn’t matter to her, when she was yearning to write his story, not solely for the reason that his journey tilts the table of the war for Aelin and Company, but because she adores his character and has always had great plans for him.
“Here, with her, he was home.”
I have read some of my friend’s reviews who do deal with more crucial disabilities that I myself deal with, and I am happy to see that they feel represented, loved, appreciated, and like they too could kick the bad guy’s back-end.
Also: I like that she doesn’t shy away from the fact that Chaol is a complete and total jerk when it comes to women in this book either. But do not fright my dears, he sees the errors of his ways one way or another and comes to his senses.
There is also more representation for People of Color and the LGBT community as well!
I have read some comments from people asking if you can read this book without reading the rest of the series. Let me be perfect clear: absolutely not. This is how I believe you should read it.
01. Throne of Glass
02. Crown of Midnight
03. Heir of Fire
04. Queen of Shadows
05. The Assassin’s Blade (all five novellas)
06. Empire of Storms
07. Tower of Dawn
Again, Sarah voiced that her novellas are crucial to the story line (and that has been proven to be correct). She doesn’t write them to get more money or to advertise for her books or anything greedy like that; some stories are shorter than others, but they are still important.
For example, you have to read The Assassin and the Pirate Lord before you read Empire of Storms, and you have to read The Assassin and the Healer before you read Tower of Dawn. You miss crucial parts of the story when you don’t read a Maas novella.
The Healer is named Yrenne and she is one of three (err, four if you count the last two-so pages.. #heartbroken) point of views in this book, Nesryn and Chaol being the other two. I loved there only being three points of views for a change.
Maas has a reputation now for putting a lot of steam in her book, and I want to tell you that this one is very tame. There is one scene. That’s it. So if you didn’t like all the scenes in Empire of Storms or in her other series A Court of Thrones and Roses, this book may be right up your alley.
I don’t want to give too much away in this book, but a lot of it is about healing and forgiving yourself. We went on a journey with Aelin and now we get to see a journey not only with Chaol but also with Yrene. These characters have all been through horrible stuff, but they overcome it and are stronger because of it.
I have been going through a lot of hardships lately and reading this book has shown me that I will be alive tomorrow, I will be able to not get over it but get passed it, and I will and can be happy if I only let myself.
PS: Sorry for the novel.. but not really sorry.