Author: Sarah J. Maas
Plot and Themes: 4.5/5
Cheers Factor: 4/5
Pairing: Apple Ale
I always feel like this is what you would drink in a shoddy run down pub in Rifthold? It’s definitely far too yummy for that, but a girl can dream. I imagine this is what Arobynn was drinking the night Celaena showed up to see him that first night back in Rifthold.
-1 ½ oz vodka
-1 ½ oz apple cider
-Add vodka and apple cider to a copper mule mug and caramel sauce (about a good squeeze of the bottle) and stir
-Add in ice once other ingredients are combined specifically the caramel sauce
-Top with ginger beer and garnish with optional apple wedges
Take a shot: All our characters find themselves back in Rifthold as things are becoming very dire, very quickly. It quickly goes from dangerous to lethal as dark forces continue to work against our heroes and their fight to reclaim thrones, save friends and make a better world.
“For her friends, for her family, she would gladly become a monster.”
We are back in Rifthold and we don’t really get my time outside of it which is again why I’m back to four stars. I again think it is magical, but we’ve already seen it and we’ve seen what Sarah can do and I know it could have been more. I do love the addition of the illegal market under the streets of Rifthold and we obviously get more of Manon in the Ferian Gap and Elide down in Morath.
We get to meet the remainder of our gang of characters that we will hang out with for a long while. We get Nesryn the human woman fighting for a nation and a people she doesn’t feel entirely tied to. We get Lysandra the courtesan that’s full of surprises, but loyal beyond belief. We get to finally meet Arobynn and see just how ruthless he can be. And we get all the reunions that we have anticipated from the beginning. This book is my favorite for the characters to be honest and the way we bring in all the players that will play a role as we continue watching them fight against the evil powers of the Valg.
Plots and Themes
We get to really see scheming Aelin for the first time and it’s truly magical. She just does crazy things and sets wheels in to motion that play a huge role weeks later. How Sarah comes up with it all I do not know, but the connectedness of every event is truly amazing. I also love the way this books story as a whole is told. It’s a real turning point in the war that has been brewing for years and the events of this novel make it even more inevitable. It really solidifies the stance of every character and just what they all stand to lose. It’s also got some good action and good fighting. And we get sexual tension which I love because we have had minimal at best up until this point. Do not fight me on this you know what I’m talking about with the gold nightgown.
This is the best installment of books yet. However, it does not get the 5/5 stars its predecessor received for two small reasons. One being the setting and two being the frustrating shifts between characters. We are introduced to the storytelling format Maas uses in Heir of Fire and it’s more bearable in that book, but by this one we are so invested in the story and events with one character that it feels jarring to have to jump back and forth. It’s a great incentive to read the novel in one sitting, but frustrating nonetheless. However, not frustrating in a bad way? I just want to know what happens and patience isn’t a virtue of mine. My reasoning behind the lower rating is more of a personal preference and a genuine lack of patience. I tend to google the endings of books when they get this way. I still read them all the way through, but it for some reason makes me less restless. I did not do that with this one, but was darn near tempted.
Too Strong: Perspective/character shifts, Sweet baby Dorian
Reasons to Raise a Glass: STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS - I say this a lot, but what’s so beautiful about this ensemble cast of women is their genuine depth. None of them feels flat which is a feat given how many of them there are. They are all such nuanced and full characters that it, at times, can be overwhelming to not feel they are real and truly someone you know. Their motivations are clear and their histories and backgrounds laid out for you to see plainly. I don’t know how Sarah did it in these books given the sheer scale of characters she has, but it totally works and she gets all my admiration for it.
“‘What if we go on,’ he said, ‘only to more pain and despair? What if we go on only to find a horrible end waiting for us?
Aelin looked northward, as if she could see all the way to Terrasen. ‘Then it is not the end.’”
Beware spoilers beyond this point. Read on/click Read More at your own risk.
“His Fireheart, shot in the dark.”
I want to speak more to the depth of the characters for a beat and that’s likely all i will talk about in this spoilery section and that’s okay with me because that to me is the greatest strength of this series in its entirety.
I really love the way we get to see the different people who have experienced the hardships of Adarlan’s rule. We get Celaena, the orphaned child taken in by the ruthless King of Assassin’s bread to be a killer. Only to find out she’s actually a Queen in her own right and worries she will spend the rest of her days repenting over the life she was forced to live. We get Manon, the heir to it all unsure that’s what she wants when she learns of the horrors she might become heir of. We get Elide, the tragically broken young woman who really isn’t broken at all. We get Lysandra, who was so abused in her young life, but never lets that snuff out her inner joy or her protective nature. We get Evangeline who gets to witness these forces of nature firsthand. We get Nesryn who is not of Adarlan and has fought to save its people when they likely wouldn’t have fought to save her. And we get Kaltain, the woman who was forgotten, but would not allow those who overlooked her to use her and abuse her any longer.
I think Kaltain’s storyline was the most brutal in this novel. She truly was such a force of nature, holding on to her true self. Using the gift Erawan so deeply wanted against him and his forces. Learning all we did about her made it that much more difficult. It’s even worse when everyone finds out about it a book later and they have to learn just what became of the woman they wrote off as a casualty of petty courtier nonsense.
The long of the short of it is that these women are so different yet similar, but they are women we know, women we work with, women we aspire to be. They truly are women who, if I met them, I would want to be their friend or even follow them into war. My best friend will tease me that I talk about book characters like they are real, but Sarah makes it feel so very real that these women ARE real. They are real in my mind because they are forever branded in my memory. I could spend hours talking about them and dissecting their personalities, pasts and their choices. I think they are wildly fascinating and worthy of discussion and recognition as being well rounded individuals when it likely could have fallen victim to focusing on a small trio of characters we began our journey with.
“You make me want to live, Rowan. Not survive; not exist. Live.”
Each book here at Cheers&Chapters is rated based off of certain categories that are genre specific, however every book will get a Cheers Factor. The Cheers Factor is how much we wanted to raise our glass while reading it. So get your glasses ready and cheers!