Review: Queen of Shadows, Sarah J Maas

Rating: 3 out of 5

I liked this, but the book also had some flaws. The main one of these was the extreme slowness with which all action proceeded. Yet, the book also answered one of the main questions that has been bugging me since Book #1 (“Why is the king so evil?”), and it was an answer that I could accept as both in-universe and in-character.

The slowness of the action, or rather that the book, results in the described events taking place over only a few days, compared to the previous one which was stretched over a good few months (and it still looks to me as if there’s a timeline issue but I might misremember some of the latest events in Book #2). This wouldn’t be a problem if these events were actually relevant, but it just looks that every now and then the main characters, primarily Aelin and Chaol in this case, get stuck in their same old pattern that has been worked through two or three times already, leading to an awful lot of repetition. Yet, the characters generally come out no wiser from these discussions…

The events, mostly concentrated in Rifthold, was focussed on closing plotlines—and thereby also giving closure to the characters for their various traumas. This was welcome as there were a lot of stories co-existing already by the end of the last volume. This book manages to solve most of those problems, though of course some new ones are also introduced (can’t help but feel that up until the very last chapters, it wasn’t certain whether this volume should end the series or not, so the author tried to leave both ends open).

I couldn’t help but feel that the “final battle” was a bit silly. The combat and its logic was all proceeding fine up until the very last moment of this struggle where some better methods could have been utilized to achieve the same ends—because the one that finally worked for the “good characters” came out of nowhere. It felt like the author didn’t know how the battle could be won, because the enemy was so powerful, that a deus ex machina solution was conjured up as the only solution. Possibly because of this, Manon was my favourite character throughout this book, and it really looks as if she is slowly learning and developing (which Aelin and Chaol didn’t seem to be doing for the majority of this volume).

Might continue with the rest of the series; might not…

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