Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)

by Sarah J. Maas

4.55 of 5 stars 62 ratings • 25 reviews • 97 shelved
Book cover for Queen of Shadows

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Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)

by Sarah J. Maas

4.55 of 5 stars 62 ratings • 25 reviews • 97 shelved
Sarah J. Maas's global #1 bestselling THRONE OF GLASS series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth instalment.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. Now she returns to the empire - to confront the shadows of her past ...

Bloodthirsty for revenge on the two men responsible for destroying her life, and desperate to find out if the prince and his captain are safe, Celaena returns to Rifthold. She has accepted her identity as Aelin Galathynius, the lost Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, there are dark truths to learn and debts to be paid. Aelin must stay hidden beneath her assassin's hood and draw on her mortal strength as Celaena to prevent the King of Adarlan from tearing her world apart. Only then can she fight for her people.

Readers will be held rapt as Celaena's story builds to an agonising crescendo, packed with heart-pounding action and searing romance.
  • ISBN10 1681190494
  • ISBN13 9781681190495
  • Publish Date 1 September 2015
  • Publish Status Unknown
  • Imprint Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 656
  • Language English

Reviews

Avatar for pamela

pamela 3 of 5 stars
Had I never read the books that came before Queen of Shadows, I might have enjoyed it more. It was a fun read, action-packed, and I'm enjoying the majority of the world-building. But Queen of Shadows' real downfall for me is the fact that it feels like S J Maas changed her mind about where the story was going.

Overall, the world-building was still excellent, and I loved the development of some of the characters. At first, I still disliked Manon, but she did start to really develop as a character in the last quarter, and I can see her being a character I will learn to like in later installments, despite my original misgivings. Lysandra as well had an excellent character arc, and I really liked seeing the friendship develop between her and Aelin. It was good to see some ladies being excellent to ladies, even if they had rocky beginnings. It was definitely a high point for me.

But what Maas did to her romances in Queen of Shadows almost borders on criminal. Chaol, in the previous books, really developed and grew. He was learning a lot about himself and his loyalties and trying to navigate that. In this book, however, it was like Maas just decided that he was inconvenient to the plot. Instead of the lovely, respectful, and realistic romance Aelin had with Chaol, in this book we've got a toxic affair with Rowan (I mean come on, Aelin practically owns Rowan. For someone so obsessed with slavery, she seems pretty quick to subject her LI to something that might as well just be that) based on nothing other than he's strong and hot. I didn't get any connection between them other than the fact that they're both attractive. And Chaol was basically thrown to the wolves to make that happen. Chaol was largely written out of the narrative, and the parts in which he did appear he was rewritten entirely. He was not the same character that Maas has spent the previous three books exploring, and it made for a disjointed, and really disappointing read.

There are a host of satellite characters in Queen of Shadows who, once again, simply act as plot crutches. Nesryn Faliq exists so that Chaol can have an LI, Lorcan was a non-character except that we needed an active villain, Elide might as well not have existed for all the point she had in the plot. Even Aedion, who I really loved in Heir of Fire, was basically just there so there could be some ridiculous male shows of dominance (they were super cringey). Even Arobynn was done dirty. He existed only to be yet another person who is so in love with Aelin because she's so beautiful.

By the end of the novel, I was thoroughly sick of everyone being obsessed with Aelin. She's the most beautiful, the most talented, and everyone thinks she's just the greatest. In the shorter, more fast-paced, and popcorny novels, it worked, but in a longer, more mature work like Queen of Shadows, it just felt like lazy characterisation. She felt like a stand-in for Maas, rather than a real, fleshed-out character, which is such a shame given that I know she can do better.

Queen of Shadows has taken the shine off the Throne of Glass series for me. I'm still committed to getting to the end, but I'm hoping the characterisation remains more consistent, and we see fewer toxic romances. #teamchaol y'all.

Avatar for liz089

liz089 5 of 5 stars
Reread 2018.
How wonderful to read this one again. There was so much I did not remember, even though it has only been 2 years ? Really happy to read this again, there are so much great characters in here, and they just keep on getting more interesting and more complex. So awesome... onto the next one !!

Avatar for girlinthepages

“You make me want to live, Rowan. Not survive; not exist. Live.”

It was only a few weeks ago that I was shouting from the rooftop (of my blog) about how much I loved Heir of Fire, and how the Throne of Glass series has come to shatter all of my preconceived notions of it after reading the first book. Now four books in, I have given each book that followed the first novel a solid 5 star rating. I am completely, devastatingly in love with this series, these characters, this universe, and anything Sarah J Maas writes in general. It's such and incredible feeling when you're proven wrong in the best way possible. I finished Queen of Shadows three weeks ago and I still haven't been able to commit to reading another book because of how hungover I am from this one!

First and foremost, this book is long. At over 600 pages, it's heavy and lengthy and I've heard quite a few grumbles that it goes on for far too long. I, however, loved every second of it and never felt that it dragged or that the pacing is off. This book really merges the "core" cast of the first two books with the new Fae world that was revealed in Heir of Fire, as well as characters from The Assassin's Blade, and I think the length was right for how much this book had to tie all of these narratives together cohesively. Aelin is back in Adarlan and has fully embraced her new (or old, I suppose) identity, and this book satisfyingly has her facing her demons from her past in a way that Celaena could not. I particularly enjoyed her ability to go toe to toe with Arobynn now that she has reclaimed herself as Aelin, as well as her ability to look past her own past prejudices (such as with Lysandra) and decide for herself who her allies are and aren't. Alien has a sense of self that isn't present throughout the previous three books, and she truly conducts herself as a queen throughout this installment.

Queen of Shadows brings back many of the older characters and settings from the first two books, which was interesting for me since I never loved any of the pre-Fae characters (I was just never swept away by the Chaol, Dorian, and Celaena friendship triangle). Heir of Fire was the turning point in the series for me because it did something really brave- it introduced major characters, plot elements, and themes that didn't exist at the beginning of the series, and Queen of Shadows carries on with those elements and merges them with the more original characters without bowing to them- I don't feel like Maas is an author who feels an obligation to have Aelin end up with certain people or have certain loyalties just because she started with them. This series really focuses on Aelin's character growth, and she is a very, very different person than she was at the beginning of the series. As a reader, I am completely OK with this change. Sure it's a little risky, and many people will and have taken issue with it (I've actually heard that a lot of people are not fans of Aelin, but I LOVE her. She's fierce and regal and not afraid to want). I think Queen of Shadows will be a very divisive book for many readers.

This book also really showcases how Maas has grown tremendously as an author. While I think she's always been a great character writer, I found some of the plot elements in Throne of Glass to be rather commonly structured and unoriginal. However, at this point in the series Maas has truly hit her stride and solidified herself as a fantasy force to be reckoned with. The plot is layered, she's bringing in other POV characters who have stories that subtly tie in with Aelins, and she's making the world feel as though it has so much depth and history. I particularly found myself enjoying Manon's chapters (to my surprise, because I always think I'm going to be irritated when the story pans away from Aelin), and learning more about the history of witches, and the powerful grappling with morality within the clans and witch hierarchy. After Aelin and Manon's epic battle, I just really, really want them to be best friends (Fae Queen+ Witch Wingleader= The Most Badass Duo Ever).

Speaking of badass characters, Maas writes strong female characters with such vigor, heroines that can coexist along with fantastic male characters and don't feel as though they're competing for the spotlight. Manon and the Blackbeaks obviously come to mind, as their society is matriarchal and while viscous, they put a huge importance of phenomena that are unique to women: childbearing. Lysandra is another character who brings a unique kid of female strength to the series, though her cunning and beauty, and I respect that Maas acknowledges that Lysandra's time as a courtesan is just as traumatic as Celaena's as an assassin, albeit in different ways. Kaltain, however, really blew me away.

If you've read by Heir of Fire review, you won't be surprised by the fact that my review has to include a Rowan appreciation paragraph. I was SO scared that he would be absent throughout most of the book with Aelin returning to Adarlan, but thankfully Maas chose to integrate him heavily into the story despite the location change. Aelin and Rowan's relationship continues to be a slow burn throughout this novel, and although nothing really intimate happens between them, the tension and promise of a *hopefully* lasting bond by the end of the series was somehow even better to behold. My copy of Queen of Shadows is literally peppered with post it notes marking every hear-tearing heart-wrenching moment between the two of them. I binge read most of this book in one weekend, and even Max could sense the out of control fangirling that was happening on my end (and I am not usually an out-loud sort of fangirl).

Overall: This book, this series, has reminded me WHY I love fantasy, why it was my first true love as a genre and why it encompasses 2/3 of my book collection, despite having read so many contemporaries since I started blogging. Queen of Shadows is a novel that shows such incredible growth in its characters, but also its writing as well. As an author, Mass isn't afraid to take risks, whether with her characters, her romances, or within the YA genre. Sarah J Maas' books are officially my favorite thing outside of Harry Potter, an honor that I have not bestowed upon anyone or anything ever. Do yourself a favor and read this book immediately, if you haven't already.
This review was originally posted on Girl in the Pages

Avatar for kimbacaffeinate

Five reasons to grab Queen of Shadows or begin Throne of Glass series

  • The characters will pull you in. You will root for them, weep for them, become angry and spend hours trying to pair couples and destinies. Celaena/Aelin kick-ass assassin, Queen, and Fae is complicated, brave, brutal, passionate and leader. As Aelin has developed my emotions for her, have evolved. I have felt frustration, sorrow, awe, anger, confusion, and pride. Her growth, struggles, love of others and need to protect place her on my favorite character list. In Queen of Shadows, Lysandra shines, and I loved the reveals. Eldie proved interesting, and I am curious as to her role. Manon, Wing Leader and Heir to the Blackbeak clan both infuriated and surprised me. We aren't going to be besties, but I was surprised by how much I felt for her. An interaction between her and Dorian had me lifting a brow. Rowan and Aedion are not just sexy, but hilarious. Their banter and snide remarks gave normalcy to all around them. The villains, secondary characters, and creatures all added to the tale and had me flipping the pages lost within this world.


  • The world is complex with its four kingdoms. Power plays, manipulation, and politics have wreaked havoc creating enemies and alliances. Maas teased me unmercifully and had me second guessing and plotting possible outcomes. We spend our time between Adarlan and castle where Manon and the other clans work for the Duke. The city and the castle were vividly described. Maas brought them to life in 3D delivering danger, tension, and suspense. At times the tale was gritty, bloody and dark.  All elements necessary to ensnare the reader while lending an air of believability to the tale.


  • I'd be remiss not to mention the romance(s) and complicated friendships between these characters. Theories run amuck among fans of the series. I too have matched and made predictions. The sexual tension between Alien and Rowan was both frustrating and delightful. Duty and desire battle, but there is no denying the current of feelings and emotions that pass between them. Alien's teasing seemed at times mean. I don't think she is aloof, but believe she is deliberately taunting him into making the first move.


  • Battles, ARC developments, magic, demons, and trickery created a story that despite its length never meander or loss this readers attention. Every morsel only had me craving more. Alien and her secretiveness often frustrated this motley crew she has amassed. I understood her reasons and admired her brilliant tactics and deceptions. She protects first and foremost, and while this might be a weakness to some, it fuels her.


  • Queen of Shadows wrapped up several threads and set in motion events that will unfold in Empire of Storms. At times the series take the reader on a macabre ride as Maas drags their emotions from the back of her creative horse. Like most, in her fandom, I cannot wait to go there again. Marketed as a young adult series, fans of fantasy regardless of age will find themselves enthralled.

This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer