Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (@jessicadhaluska, @SJMaas)

Posted September 16, 2015 by Jessica in Fantasy, Jessica, Reviews, Young Adult / 29 Comments

Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (@jessicadhaluska, @SJMaas)
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Published on: September 1 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 656
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .
She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.
Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

fantasy nomnom magical HEARTBREAKING

*takes a deep breath*

Okay. This is how this is going to go: short(ish), non-spoilery review first, looooooong spoiler-tagged review second.

That’s just how it has to be. I must talk about ALL THE THINGS. I tried to rein it in, but #cantstopwontstop

I read this book almost in its entirety on release day . . . and I’ve been mulling it over ever since. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t jumping up and down with glee—I was thrilled with the way things ended for all of the numerous story threads . . . and yet . . .

Finally, I determined that my issues were with the journey—just b/c I’m happy about where we went, doesn’t mean I’m happy about how we got there.


Being the black sheep (per usual), my dissatisfaction had little to do with the most common complaint . . . something about character assassinations . . .? *snorts*

There’s not a lot I can say about that without major series spoilers, b/c QUEEN OF SHADOWS is a crossroads installment. For nearly everyone who matters. So if you’ve been desperate for important decisions to be made, for lines to be drawn in the sand . . . this is your book.

We also meet a handful of new characters.

If you pinterest stalk SJM like I do, you knew we were finally going see a few of the characters whose likenesses we’d been salivating over, some for more than a year.

Lysandra we’d already met in the prequels, but I somehow managed to miss the connection until she showed up on Celaena’s doorstep. Elide had been briefly mentioned in HoF as a child of Terrasen who was probably dead. Then there was Nesryn whom we knew nothing about at all.

Speaking of Lysandra, it was while contemplating her massive turnaround that I realized how absolutely typical it was of SJM—it’s what she does, people!

She ties strings to our feelings and jerks them around in some kind of macabre dance. This is not new information. She’s been doing it since she put pen to paper in the very first book.

She’s killed people we loved in horrible ways. She’s broken our hearts with seemingly small decisions that ended catastrophically in the most painful of betrayals. She’s blown out the fragile flame of hope, even as we wept and begged her not to.

And don’t even get me started on Arobynn-friggin’-Hamel. What is it about him that leaves me feeling like a victim (vixen, too. Damn you, autocorrect) of Stockholm syndrome?

This time she took characters we loathed, whose blood we thirsted for, and made us embrace them as sisters. TWICE.

And you’re fine with all of that. More than fine. You love it.


When she does the opposite and takes a character you previously loved and turns him into a bastard . . . Well, that’s unacceptable.



I really can’t say anything else. About anything. Which makes my head want to explode, but I can keep a lid on it while I wrap this portion up.

I still love these books, and QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas was full to bursting with the things that make THRONE OF GLASS my favorite YA fantasy series. BUT. There was a bluntness to some of the plot twists that made them harder to swallow than similar twists in previous installments. I suggest you focus on the awesomeness that is Abraxos and another animal development to get you through the hard parts, b/c overall it’s definitely worth it. Highly recommended.

Throne of Glass series:

My Review

My Review

My Review

My Review

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Seriously, do NOT click this unless you’ve already read the book or don’t care about be spoiled, b/c nothing is sacred in that space. Spoilery content including but not limited to: Points of Contention (mine and yours), Highlights, New Ships, Questions Raised, and Theories: View Spoiler »

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My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.



29 responses to “Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (@jessicadhaluska, @SJMaas)

  1. Pili from In Love With  

    *Gleefully agrees with all your new ships* I am A BIG HUGE SHIPPER OF YOUR #1 SHIP!!! And also a big proponent of ship #2 because I think they’d be really good for each other and ooooh I had not thought about the running through the forests bits!! And ship #3… I had not thought about it but yes, I ship it too! Somehow!

    I am full of questions and theories about Valg and witches and I just need a spin off or some sort of book, novellas or something ALL ABOUT THE WITCHES!!!

    *has the hardest time not talking about spoilers too*
    Pili recently posted…Cover Reveal: The Fallen Prince by Amalie Howard!!

  2. Mogsy from BiblioSanctum  

    Currently almost 2/3s of the way through the audiobook. Not bad so far, but I don’t think I’ll like it as much as the third book. It doesn’t feel like much is going on, it’s all alpha posturing and flirting. The only really interesting parts are with the wyvern witches.
    Mogsy recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday 09/16/15

  3. Jessica! Omgosh, I basically did the same, read the book like crazy then took over a week to digest it before being able to write something resembling a review. Yours is amazing! I totally ship your ships ;] I also agree with your Chaol comments, did people honestly think that he could embrace Aelin when he couldn’t even properly accept Celaena? Love your theories, I’m so there with you. 🙂 Sigh, this book left me an emotional wreck at the end. It made me want to start right from the beginning again, from the Assassin’s Blade. Again amazing review!

  4. Cristina  

    Your review is brilliant!!! And while I know you’ve made valid points (I agree with all of them)…I truly loved every moment of this book! We’ll always have Abraxos!♥

    • It really is, you know. This is definitely my least favorite book in the series, but it was still really good. That’s rare in adult fantasy, let alone YA 😉 I hope you fit them in eventually!

  5. I love this review! You covered everything awesome about this book and series. I love all your ships, and totally agree with them. I want more about Manon and Dorian. I am so hoping we are all right and they end up ruling the kingdom together with a ton of witchling babies to keep them happy.
    But, I didn’t get what Aiedion’s super power was. Shouldn’t he have one since he is part Fae?
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