Wow Sarah J. Maas…You have done it yet again! Rated like a 4.8/5 because the beginning had MANY slow parts. Where it would speed up, the content would quickly slow down afterwards.
I am pleasantly overwhelmed at Maas’ amazing ability to connect all 6 books and the prequel together. She throws in plot lines of the Pirate Lord chapter in the prequel, the meeting of Yrene the barmaid before Celaena departed to the Silent Assassins’ Keep, and numerous memories are brought up from Chaol’s perspective of all he saw and felt from books 1-4. The khagan’s spies are noted for relaying information regarding the war that is taking place back north (book 5) simultaneously as well. If you were left with your head reeling in book 5, prepared to finally have many answers, and of course more questions to replace ones you have the answer for. Maas writes as if she has maps laid out in a room with one of those boards you see in crime shows that have pictures and red yarn leading to each other. This is what I envision her office looks like. Some might get angry with this comment, but she is the next J.K. Rowling to me. She connects this all so perfectly.
Maas has a way of giving so much information in the beginnings of her books or when introducing characters that it sometimes feels like character overload. Yes, I can now perfectly see the person in my brain, but I have also read like 20 pages on you just describing a new character and their demeanor and I am severely bored and about to skim pages…However, I will say I am greatly appreciative of the diversity she brings to the table when writing her books with new characters and locations. I really liked getting to read through Nesryn’s POV as it told more about who she was behind the Adarlan armor. And anyone who didn’t read Yrene’s section laughing at her sass and spit fire attitude is not a real human. She reacts as anyone else would with prejudice. But how she conquers it is wonderful as well.
The theme for this book really seems to find healing in ones life, you have to find forgiveness within ones self, whether for your faults or where you fault someone else who wronged you. Yrene must find forgiveness within herself towards Adarlan for having killed her mom, thus leading her to a life of misery and poor as a barmaid. She constantly has to remind herself why she became a healer, a nod to Celaena in Assassin’s Blade. It is only through forgiveness of Adarlan and putting aside her prejudice that she can find healing within herself to fully heal Chaol, and also the ability to find and give love. In healing him, she also gains a vast amount of wisdom and enlightenment to aide in the future efforts of the war.
Chaol must not only heal physically, but he must heal emotionally as that is what prevents his injuries from full healing. He must face his inner darkness that feeds the tiny remnants of the Valg power he was injured by, and overcome the anger he feels. <spoiler> What stunned me was the fact that his true anger was not due to his frustration with his body in preventing him from fighting beside his friends (which Maas kindly led us to believe), but in his frustration on who he blames for his unfortunate luck: Celaena/Aelin. This is quite understandable. He fell hard in love for her. However his mistake that led to Nehemia’s death was too great for her to forgive. Thus he lived with this internal darkness for causing this pain to her and ending their romance. Then when she leaves for Wendlynn, he is angry with this unknown feeling of where their relationship lies. He is angrier in book 3 because he discovers her true identity. Then when she returns with Rowan he is jealous and blames her magic and all. Then his best friend has magic, which he associates to her because she led the destruction of the towers. His friend is infected with a Valg demon. another fault he puts on her. All in all, as one can understand too, she is at fault for all the pain and misery in his life since he brought her out of the prison. Once he embraces this reality of his hatred, Yrene is able to break through the darkness and fully heal him. </spoiler>
A frustrating topic for me in this book, that followed until the very end was Arghun and Hasar’s snide comments about joining the war. They honestly appear lazy which is mind boggling. You lead a freaking naval and foot soldier army!!!!! Did you not expect to ever go to war?? “Hasar simply did not want to leave the comforts of her home to sail to war….and Arghun…the man dealt in power, in knowledge.” And these two are going to fight against their siblings for the throne? Yea that kingdom will turn to shit when that day happens…good thing SJ Maas handled that though 😉
As most books go, especially SJ Maas’, there is a huge plot twist that literally had me at the edge of my chair. How could you make the reader think everything was happy again and Chaol and co. (my nickname for all the people) would just figure out a way to convince the khagan to join the war thanks to Nesryn and Sartaq’s new intel? I love how she kept the Valg idea alive and constantly progressing with an abundance of information, but damn! My heart still breaks. Even though its happy, it still worries me for the final book and what she will try to do to our beloved characters…
Which leads me to say, there has to be like a 1000+ pages in book 7! The abundance of characters used in book 5, and now at least 2 new POVs are added in this book, either multiple POVs will be added in chapters, people cut out and condensed, or an encyclopedia sized book will be the finale. I need all my characters! The new budding romances, which were definitely easy to suspect in the beginning, I won’t lie, left my heart aching for more. As always, SJ Maas gives her own smut but that’s how she writes. I love it! Romance and relationships wouldn’t be real if they didn’t have that, however I am not saying that she has fixed her describing that irked readers in the previous books and works by her. The cliff hangar of book 6 is irking as book 7 isn’t due until sometime 2018. Finally Chaol accomplished what he came to Antica to do, but with the tandem events of book 5, they are surely in for a huge surprise once they arrive back to the Northern Continent.
<spoiler> I have to say also, hoping others feel the same way, I HATE how Maas just throws marriages in the pages. Suddenly characters are married, without a build up of description of planning, as if a wedding is just nothing to people! They only recount the marriage ceremony in a brief memory of Chaol. No planning or thought process goes in but a quick ceremony, dinner, oh and their wedding bands…It feels almost thrown in and not special… </spoiler>
I bought the signed and behind the scenes content book from BN. Reading her notebook was so cool to be able to do! Just to see what an author’s brainstorming looks like is incredible. So much though went into this book and to see how she got to each plot and chapter in fantastic. But I was left scratching my head at her written comments to include POV form Nox, Evangeline, and Ren….Who are they again? Do we know them? Why would she have thought to add that? What is their significance? Or is it nothing to just make my head think of things that are pointless?
I leave you with a quote from the epilogue, and one that SJM scribbled in her notebook, having taken great thought into bringing the 5 and 6th book to one meeting point to lead into book 7: “A dark queen with an iron coffin that she built to trap the sun.” SJM had this all planned…all along!!!