Queen of Shadows (Sarah J. Maas)


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.

I don’t even know how to start this review. Each time I think about reviewing this book, I just look at it and think that maybe I should just read it again, to properly convey to you how awesome I thought this book was. But I have so many other good books to read, I can’t read this one over and over, right?

So, on we go. This will obviously have a lot of SPOILERS, for the four previous books in the series, but for this one as well. So, people, if you haven’t read Queen of Shadows, I love you, but go away! Also, be aware that I’ll probably throw some highly unpopular opinions onto this review – which will probably not even feel like a review anyway. You have been warned.

First off, let me tell you, this book was my favorite read of the year. The buddy read and crazy talks on twitter had a hand on it, but the book itself is fantastic! A LOT of action, a lot of plot twists, a lot of plot in general, some romance, a lot of bromance and awesomeness all around.

I’m gonna first of all address the highest criticism made to this book: “Celaena and Chaol are out of character”. I read this over and over again, everywhere, even from people who enjoyed this book a lot. Maybe I’m from a different planet, because I thought they were very much in character throughout the whole thing.

First of all, if you’re still referring to Aelin as Celaena, you probably will never be happy about this story or any other that follows. She has been Aelin since the moment that she forgave herself and accepted her true power and lineage, with all the burden that comes with it. Celaena is still there inside of Aelin, but Aelin is so much more! Celaena COULD rattle the stars, while Aelin DOES rattle the stars. See the difference?


I found it so natural that she wouldn’t trust anyone implicitly, because Celaena didn’t either – or are we forgetting that she only told Chaol the truth about everything because she didn’t have much choice?

Now, about Chaol, this is a guy who is trying to displace the guilt he feels onto someone else… Aelin is an easy target. He’s also not a 100% wrong about what he says. The fact that she holds things from him, makes him doubt her, and the same the other way around, a lot of miscommunication, which by the way had already happened in Crown of Midnight. Chaol actually had a great development throughout this book. He had claimed his side on the end of Heir of Fire, but it was never Aelin’s side, it was always Dorian’s, so why would he side with her when she got back? He suffered a lot and the only thing I think him guilty of was not even trying to understand her side of the question, but guilt ridden as he was, I thought that was natural.


Neither of them are perfect, so their reaction to each other, I found it so organic. Sorry if you guys don’t agree, it’s totally fine ;-).


Arobynn Hamel… Ok, so he’s totally the worst, right? I wanted him dead. No doubt about it. BUT… I felt his dynamic with Aelin super intriguing and I wanted more. I actually liked him better here than on The Assassin’s Blade, because now she knew what he wanted from her, and I honestly felt that was natural, even though repulsing at the same time. But come on, he was never a father figure to her, and if he had no problem with bedding Lysandra who is the same age as Aelin, why wouldn’t he want the same with her. And I do feel like he truly loved her, in his own twisted and sick way. What he had done to Sam, that was the work of a very jealous man… Truth is, I felt that Arobyn was such a well written villain, and I wanted to see more of him. I liked his death, though I wished that Lysandra had drugged him prior to sleeping with him and slitting his throat, because the risk of him waking up was so big, and I was so afraid for her.

Onto Lysandra… I had a hard time trusting her in The Assassin’s Blade, but I liked her then, I liked that she provoked Celaena. And Sam liked her, so how bad could she actually be, right? So, when she first appeared with Evangeline, I not only liked her, but my heart broke for her. Then she devolved this friendship with Aelin and it was such a majestic thing, how these two girls had each other’s backs, and they needed another girl in their lives so bad. I also likes Lysandra’s interactions with the rest of the gang, especially Aedion, oh, the Ghost Leopard thing was amazing.


Before heading to the romance part, I’m going to mention the witches, who had a lot more to do in this book. For most of the time Manon was a bit frustrating, she was also in a very tough spot… I really felt for her, truly, but she spent way too much time in a state of indecision between what she felt was right and what was expected of her, and I was glad when Asterin finally broke her and made her see the truth. I liked Elide, she has potential, though I felt that she had a lot of page time in Queen of Shadows, and that maybe half of it could have been given to someone else.


When Manon finally faces off Aelin it was EPIC! And the fact that she could summon Dorian back because the Valg Prince in him recoiled from her – AMZING! Let’s get something straight, I don’t think I’m non board with this crazy ship – Manon and Dorian – but I do think they’ll have an important role in each other’s lives and they will probably be the support they both need in the next book.


Speaking of Dorian, oh, my dear Dorian… his chapters hurt. They physically hurt me! I had my heart clenched each time Dorian had a small amount of POV, because yes, they were all very small, but they had so many damn feelings in it, that my heart was breaking all the damn time. And yet, I felt that his chapters were perfect: short and painful. They showed exactly what was going on inside him and boy… it was not pretty. The only thing that bugged me a bit was his inability to fight the Valg inside him… Caltrain did it, although her Valg could have been less powerful, or maybe not… Dorian was also heartbroken when the Valg took over, and he probably wanted to give in a little, because he felt so responsible for Sorcha’s death.


But that final battle… WOW!!!! Aelin and Dorian and the King and Chaol… WOW WOW WOW!!!! Aelin and Dorian, Fire and Ice, and all glorious! It was beyond perfect!!!


Finally, onto the romance… I know a LOT of people had a problem with the romance in this book. Some didn’t like Aelin with Rowan, some said that their romance came out of nowhere, or that there was way too much focus on the romance, or a lot of other things. I don’t care. I thought it was perfect! To be honest, I’ve been shipping Aelin and Rowan since they met in Heir of Fire, and you might say “but they were only friends, the romance doesn’t make sense” and I say BULLSH*T!!!!

Yes, they were friends in Heir of Fire, but there was always something more there (at least for me). It was the way they understood each other completely, how they fought and pushed each other, the nights spent in the same bed and Aelin’s reiterations that she was attracted to him (cofcof). The way they were willing to die for each other when they hadn’t known each other for that long. They are each other’s best friends and the love they fell for one another was already pretty evident in book 3. About the sexual attraction, yep, I think it was there too, actually, I think it was there from the first time that Rowan bit her. Again, YES – HE BIT HER TO PROVOKE HER AND NOTHING MORE, BUT his reaction after (after the biting and then when he learned about her scars) told me that maybe he wasn’t totally being honest with himself. So, when they’re finally reunited on this book, I was giddy from happiness, and I loved every single torment that they gave each other, the hair washes, the nightgowns and the lack of underwear… they are equals in every single way.


And boy, it’s GLORIOUS! And there’s something that Rowan thinks after they kiss for the first time, that made me wonder if had been wondering if not only could he find someone after Lyria, but also if Aelin is that someone… and I’m guessing (by his extremely positive reaction) that the answer is YES on both accounts.


Another huge thing that I think people are still clinging to is Sam. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sam just as any other girl, but – don’t kill me please – I think that Sam is overrated! *okok, have you calmed down yet?*

Let me make my case, ok? Sam was amazing, sure, and he was in love with Celaena for a long time, but she was in love with him for a really SHORT one. And they were together for only one month before he died. And let’s not forget, it wasn’t a good month! They loved each other a lot, but they fought a lot too, and Aelin never got to the point of trusting him implicitly. So, while he was SUPER important in her life and for her growth, I don’t think she loved him MOST OF ALL, and I’m not sure that they would have had a future, had he lived… she wouldn’t be the person she is now, that’s for sure, and that would be a shame, because Celaena was great, but Aelin is freaking AWESOME!


I LOVED the bromances in Queen of Shadows! There’s Chaol and Dorian, obviously, after the “I love you” in Heir of Fire, and Chaol doing everything he can to save Dorian and all. But Aedion and Rowan!!!! They have my heart, because those 2 freaking fae (half-fae) males are so damn AMAZING! 😀 😀 😀

And Aelin was beyond glorious!!!! The “Firebreathing bitchqueen” is freaking amazing!!!


So, to sum it up, I loved this book – if that wasn’t clear so far. I loved the action, the plot, the characters and their development. I loved the amazing females in this book, the males, the men, the witches and the shapeshifter. I LOVED the plot twists, and I can’t wait to see where it will all go. I loved the friendships, and the fights, and the romance. I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BOOK!!!

Now I apologise for my LONG (2000 words *cofcof*) “review” that is more of a fangirl and opinion dumping. I know most of you won’t agree with some of the things I said, but that’s totally fine ;-). Also, one of the reasons I loved reading this book so much was thanks to Josie, Anjie and Erika, so, thank you girls – even if Anjie will positively hate what I wrote here.

(I’m sorry, this was too cute not to share! Little Rowan – source)


31 thoughts on “Queen of Shadows (Sarah J. Maas)

  1. bookishthingsandtea says:

    YES LYSANDRA IS MY NEW FAVORITE! I love her and Aelin’s relationship because I feel like it’s so important for her to have a strong female friend after Nehemia. I also like your point on Chaol and it totally makes sense, I felt as if he was off in this book but now I can understand more. And although I don’t personally ship Rowaelin, they did have some wonderfully smutty scenes together 😉
    Great book talk!

    • MyTinyObsessions says:

      Lysandra is great 😀 . I actually feel like she’s much more a friend to Aelin than Nehemia ever was, because Nehemia and Celaena’s relationship was shrouded in secrets.
      I’m clearly a Rowaelin shipper, since HoF, and I’m curious to see where it will all lead. Who’s your ship?

      • bookishthingsandtea says:

        Quite honestly, I have no idea xD I was a hardcore Chaolaena shipper in books 1 and 2, I didn’t have much preference in 3 but I did grow to like Dorian and Celaena, but now….
        I think I’m team Aelin! As long as SJM makes me swoon and Aelin is happy, I’ll probably be happy with any outcome.

        • MyTinyObsessions says:

          good 😀 I think that’s the right spirit! I was team Dorian in book one, then I was happy when she got with Chaol in book 2. But Rowan to me is perfect. But if she ends up alone, it’s fine by me 😉

          • MyTinyObsessions says:

            i honestly feel like he’s the obvious choice for her, just because they’re so much alike and they know each other better than anyone. But, because there’s still 2 books left, I’m afraid that he’ll die 😦 and that she (because of it) ends up alone or with someone else. Though I don’t think it will be Chaol, and I don’t see it being Dorian either

  2. Melanie says:

    I agree with you on every single part of your review. I love Aelin and Rowan, the bromances, the friendships, everything. It really is a perfect transition book from what has been taking place story-wise in Adarlan and now moving on to Aelin’s return to Terrasen.

  3. thedaydreamingbookworm says:

    Your review was on POINT! I think people forget the blood bond made between Aelin and Rowan in HoF. They are now bonded on such a level that they know what the other is thinking with just a look. & you’re right, it’s Aelin now so of course she’s not going to be same person. Lysandra was my favorite character in QoS. Ghost Leopard saves the day!

    • MyTinyObsessions says:

      well, they were having the telepathic connection even before the blood bond, I think it’s just right for them, they are so similar and have gone through so much, that they are just RIGHT, you know?
      Lysandra is the best! I love how she taunts Aedion 😀

  4. Trisha Ann says:

    So I just scrolled down your review because of the promised spoilers but I absolutely love your detailed take on this. For some reasons, I stopped at Heir of Fire. The first parts are just a little tiring to read. But I heard it was the bomb so I swear to pick it up again soon (and get back to this review once I finish QoS)!

  5. susannahhtaylor says:

    YAAASS I AGREED WITH EVERYTHING!!! QoS was this & so much more I don’t know how Sarah’s going to top this because it was full on amazing. I loved how you wrote this review & the quotes were wonderful!!! Where did you get them???

  6. Sara @ freadomlibrary says:

    So I liked this when you posted it but I wasn’t able to read it until now because I just finished Queen of Shadows and hand wrote my review and can I just say: you shared ALL OF MY THOUGHTS though! All you said about Aelin and Chaol is spot on. I honestly think people are more upset about the ship being broken than anything else. Celaena/Aelin controversy. I feel like Celaena was Aelin’s alter ego, the persona she used to perform to the world and to protect herself from the horrors of her kingdom and people. But she’s accepted herself now and her job. But all the things that happened to her as Celaena shaped her as a person and as a ruler. They’re not different people, they’re two sides of the same coin. I wanted to ask what you thought of Nesryn and of the King of Adarlan’s speech at the end! That was insane! Do you think there’ll be a Lysandra/Aedion relationship? I’m sorry for the long comment, I just want to talk about this book with people and everyone has already finished talking about it haha

    • MyTinyObsessions says:

      ohhh, i’m so glad you think as I do!!! And yes, Celaena was a persona that Aelin projected, and what she did shaped Aelin to what she is now, which is AWESOME! I like Nesryn, I liked how she saw Aelin for what she was and not through Chaol’s eyes, you know? But I’m not 100% on her relationship with him… we’ll see. About the King’s speech, I believe that he’s not the one behind everything, I’m not sold on him doing it to protect Dorian though. I can see a Lysandra/Aedion relationship thing, and I would like it, because she keeps him on his toes, and that is just amazing. Do you think it will happen? would you want to? (I’m always game for talking about QoS!)

      • Sara @ freadomlibrary says:

        I liked Nesryn as a character too. She’s tough and does what she feels is right. I like that she doesn’t let Chaol get away with shit. She puts him in his place by not giving into his self deprecating stuff but I don’t know how their relationship will blossom. I’d love to see that in the next book. I totally believe the King was possessed but I don’t know about the protecting Dorian thing. I mean, it just seemed too convenient and to do it right in the end? Now he’s dead and we’ll never know for sure which sucks. I feel like Lysandra/Aedion would be cute but really convenient. I mean Aelin’s cousin and best friend together? But it’d be funny to see it. I think it’ll happen though because of the last conversation they had haha. I want to see the witches align with Aelin. Duke Perrington has been the undercover bad guy for a long time and the war is still coming but I’d love for Manon to kick her grandma’s ass and say fuck this loser and go with the cool people haha. Also Manon/Elide should be a thing. We need some diverse sexuality up in those books. Elide I think will be a stand out character in the next book, there’s no way not to be with how much attention Maas gave her

        • MyTinyObsessions says:

          I would love to see the witches align with Aelin too, and I think that will happen. Other possibility is Aedion and Elide, because they did grow up together and all… it could happen… but you’re right about the diversity stuff =/

  7. notetoselphbookreviews says:

    I totally agree with you! I just finished this book and I’m still reeling from the whirlwind of emotions. It was so good and the break down in your review is just what my fan girl heart needed. I was initially taken aback when Rowan became the new man for Aelin but I was swooning from the start. Plus, Lysandra is my new favorite! She was awesome. There is one thing that’s bugging me. I can’t remember who Kaltain is. Do you? It’s been forever since I read the last few books.The book says that Aelin gave her a cloak in a dungeon but I don’t remember it.

    • MyTinyObsessions says:

      🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed it too. Yes, I read the books all in 2015, so I remembered it well. Kaltrain was in Throne of Glass, she was the aristocrat that was always batting her eyelashes at Dorian and was engaged to the duke. She gets arrested at the end. Then in Crown of Midnight she’s in the dungeon and Celaena is arrested for attacking Chaol, and when she’s leaving, she gives her her cloak. ring any bells?

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