Okay whoever told me the series really picks up by book 3 was totally right and ugh I did the thing where I was so wrapped up in reading it and impatient to get to book 4 that I read both and then book 5 without taking a single note or writing a review soooo now they’re all just jumbled together in my head.
But I’m gonna give some spoiler-free thoughts on this part of the Throne of Glass series any way before I dive into reading the last two. Books 3-5 are Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, and Empire of Storms.
Aelin – I feel like badass is a word I overuse with female leads in these type of books but like, she realllllly is. Beyond her lovable sass and swag and beyond her super mega Fae powers she is KILLER at scheming and executing a plan that works perfectly and shocks everyone. I mean obviously things still go awry but she’s just behind the scenes planning for everything that it really just makes me admire Sarah J. Maas’s ability to plot.
Chaol – I expected to hate Chaol based on a the thoughts of several blogger friends but maybe because of that I was expecting so much worse than how he acted it didn’t bother me as much. I mean I was definitely not down with his behaviors a lot but mostly I could get it, the dude’s life has completely up ended upside down and he’s struggling to develop the tools to like, not be a tool about it. I mostly still like him and at times felt bad for him. And I’m all about his friendship with Dorian.
Dorian – wow. His character development has just been really intriguing and stressful and kind of wonderful. I was totally shipping him and Manon from their first meeting too. This dude is a force and I hope he just keeps getting stronger and more confident.
Manon – okay initially I was so annoyed to be in her POV like whyyyy, I felt like it was taking away from the main characters and I didn’t want to become attached or feel sympathy for a character on the other side. But ultimately I loved watching her struggle through her transformation and interacting with our OGs. Also you gotta love freaking Abraxos, I want one.
Elide – I knew this chick was going to be joining the story soon because I picked up on every time she was mentioned in passing through Aelin or Aedion’s POVs and I was like okay when are we going to learn this girl is still out there and kicking? She’s interesting at best but mostly has felt like a plot device to me, though watching her warm Lorcan up was fun I have to admit. Also I love her attachment to the Thirteen and Manon.
Lorcan, Fenrys, and Gavriel – I like them all and I want them all on team Aelin forever and for them to kick Maeve’s but and get happy endings. Even if 2/3 of them are still morons for still being too much team Maeve – I’m looking at you especially Lorcan, get your shit together.
Aedion – I don’t really know what I think of him, probably because he’s still struggling a bit with himself. His loyalty can be appreciated but sometimes he acts so whiny and entitled. I wish he would get over his hangups with Dorian. I’m minimally interested in his interactions with Gavriel. I have been getting excited about his feelings towards Lysandra, go figure cause I’m a sucker for any ship, but he probably ruined it forever after his tantrum at the end of book five. He needs to redeem himself.
Lysandra – this might have been the most shocking addition and character reveal for me so far. Sometimes even in book 5 I would just stop and be like, this is freaking… LYSANDRA yo! But wow, she’s such an asset to the team. Bow down.
Kaltain – YASSSSSSSSSSSSS. that is all.
Rowan – I love you, always forever, near and far, closer together, anywhere I will be with you, anything I will do for you…. yes yes yes yes yes, and especially yes to all his explosive interactions with Aelin.
Maeve – die forever.
Erawan – also die.
Elena and all the stupid gods – go suck a butt.
Books 3 – Celaena/Aelin heads to Wendlyn and meets Rowan and things really start getting fun and magical. But things also start to get real shit for our friends Aedion, Dorian, and Chaol. Super stressful ending.
Book 4 – Things get real exciting and we get some much needed revenge. Chaol acts like a dick baby but then he sort of wises up and then gets his ass kicked. Bad guys everywhere! Sexual tension galore! The dream team starts to come together. Cray cray reveal about the evil king. And a relatively non stressful enjoyable ending, except probably for Chaol.
Book 5 – Dream team assembled (mostly)! Lots of schemes. Lots of steam. Steam meaning sex. Sex happens people and I liked it. A lot. Chaol is off doing his own thing the whole entire book so we don’t see him at all. Aelin’s fire power is legit. SUPER stressful ending, in a very mean cliffhanger that makes you want to scream and rage.
AND APPARENTLY freaking book 6 takes place entirely during the events of book 5 but is all about Chaol and where he’s at and all these new characters and we’re just supposed to suffer that book 5 cliffhanger for A WHOLE 670 PAGED BOOK!?!
WHAT THE EFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
Also when I was bopping around reviews trying to confirm this atrocity I may have accidentally read a big fat Maeve spoiler… when will I learn that if a review says it has spoilers to BELIEVE IT?!
UGH. But a bunch of twitter pals are saying book 6 is worth it so I guess I’ll just have to power through and hope you’re not all meany liar pants.
Anyways, these books are a significant improvement from the first two in terms of pacing, plot, romance, character development, world building, and stakes. Overall I’d say the prior part of the series was a slow build to the chaos and bigger picture that unfolds in these three, and likely the next two.
Continue to recommend for fans of killer female leads (ha! didn’t use badass this time!), high fantasy, romance, and being super stressed the eff out by cliffhangers.
Probably 5 stars, idk I’m stressed, ask me again later.