I enjoyed the Throne of Glass series so much I couldn’t make myself stop between books to write reviews. And then shit happened and I have three partial reviews so instead of trying to write either three reviews or 1 comprehensive review, I’m going to throw out a bunch of remembered thoughts and then try to say something reasonably coherent.
As taken as I was with the books, I got bogged down in writing the review and eventually abandoned and forgot it. I found it while looking through my posts and have cleaned up the review and dropped Queen of Shadows. I enjoyed the series while I was reading it, but since then, I’ve mostly forgotten it. In comparison, I remember many more details from Maria Snyder’s Poison study series, and I haven’t read that for years.
There will be some spoilers.
Crown of Midnight
Celaena is now the King’s Assassin, I mean Champion. Instead of killing his enemies, she helps them disappear and then brings “proof” that she has done his bidding. After ending her romance with Prince Dorian, Celaena has moved on to the third point in the romance triangle – Capitain of the Guard Chaol. Dorian is being a good person and trying to move on, though his feelings are hurt. The meat of the story though, in not the love triangle, but the intrigue in Adarlan. We’ve moved past the silly competition and are starting to focus on the wide spread misery of Adarlan’s conquest and rule. Nehemia, the erstwhile princess of Ellwye (a conquered kingdom with an active rebellion) pushes Celaena to actively work against the king, but Celaena doesn’t want to get involved.
Throughout the novel, while the kids are playing at romance and intrigue, people disappear. Artists who openly defy the king are taken away and executed in secret. I thought it was interesting that Maas chooses to show artists take stands against the King knowing they will die. While the upstanding Chaol may be the public face of the guard, the king has another set of guards and they are not nice. It becomes clear that there are also cells of opposition to the king in Adarlan, and there is a movement around the lost Queen of Terrasen, Aelin Ashryver Galathynius. Celaena knows that these rebels aren’t really connected to the Queen, because she is, dun-dun-DUN, Aelin Ashryver Galathynius.
Tropes that are still in play, which are kind of annoying but don’t throw the whole thing off:
- Hidden royalty – I’m too inclined towards democracy and socialism to buy into the idea of inherited leadership, so all references to the innate right of one particular person to rule made me cringe. The secret royalty path is well trod in the genre, but at least Celaena has always known who she was, and had good reason for running away from her identity.
- Sudden magic – Suddenly, Dorian has magic bursting out of him. Why? Who knows. But there it is. It does serve to create a further distance between himself and almost everyone else, and puts him in danger, should his father find out.
- Evil for no particular reason bad guy – What does the King of Adarlan want? He’s conquering the kingdoms of the continent, but why? Why did he suddenly decide to destroy magic and conquer the world?
- Magical McGuffins – There are various of these, and they can be a bit annoying, but allow Maas to avoid her series turning into a massive A game of Thrones type sprawling epic. Without the McGuffins, there would be no way to resolve anything within a few years.
- That love triangle though – Mercifully, Maas ends the love triangle near the end of Crown of Midnight.
Heir of Fire
We have a new POV character, Manon Blackbeak! I don’t know why she is here or what’s happening, but I love her. She is a witch and is firmly in the opposing camp, but I’m pretty sure that Manon will end up an ally of sorts.
We also meet Aelin’s new trainer, Rowan. He’s sullen and a hard ass.
The original trio, Ceaena, Chaol and Dorian are separated. Celaena travels the Southern Continent to find help. Chaol and Dorian are divided by their feelings for Calena and unspoken doubts. Celaena begins to become Aelin, at first against her will, and then with greater enthusiasm. Chaol is questioning his loyalty to the King and the truth of everything. Dorian is coping with the magic exploding out of him, falling in love again, and struggling to stay out of his father’s eye.
The adventures of Manon and her wyrven are the freshest and most interesting part of the book. Witch society is interesting. Honestly, I wish the whole series had been about Manon and the witches.
I can’t do a rundown of the tropes because I don’t remember which tropes showed up. I do remember Manon bonding with her wyrven and learning to fly with her. That part was amazing.