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Book Reviews

Review: “Heir of Fire,” Sarah J. Maas

September 29, 2015
Review: “Heir of Fire,” Sarah J. MaasHeir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)
Written by Sarah J. Maas
Published September, 2014 by Bloomsbury
562 pages
Genres: Faeries, Fantasy, Medieval
Purchase: The Book DepositoryBookworldBooktopia
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four-stars

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth...a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

Some spoilers in the full review. Although I really enjoyed Heir of Fire, there was a LOT to take in and some very slow chapters. I felt mentally exhausted a lot of the time and chose to put the book down rather than read another few chapters. It took me a few days to get through this one, but I’m not disappointed in where it went or what I learned. There were some fantastic relationship developments, interesting new characters and a further understanding of the world behind the Throne of Glass series.

“She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.”

I find it incredibly hard to review each book in Throne of Glass series, because they are all so different in terms of writing style! I’m not sure if I’m the only one that feels that way, but let’s break it down…

Throne of Glass (Book One) was minimal fantasy, fast-paced and had a straight start to finish plotline with only one or two POV chapters. I enjoyed the easy problem/resolution method it had and I managed to read it in one night. Crown of Midnight (Book Two) introduced more fantasy, was slow paced and had no driving plotline. It was more of a ‘let’s learn about these characters a bit more’. While it was a lot slower than its predecessor, I felt the writing and ‘feel’ of the world was improving.

Which brings me to this book – Heir of Fire (Book Three). It truly leapt into the fantastical, had more than a handful of POV’s and although it was SO VERY SLOW at some points, I felt that Sarah J. Maas finally delivered the world-building I wanted in book one.

Each book has offered something different than the other, but instead of building on the good, they seem to chop and change all the parts that I like. World-building? You bet – let’s just take out the fast-paced plot… etc. I really want to finish one of the Throne of Glass series and be like ‘Woah, THAT WAS UTTERLY PERFECT…’ but it just hasn’t happened yet.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I am extremely invested in this series now and adore it… I’m just waiting for that perfect book that’s going to knock my socks off.

“She was Aelin Ashryver Galathynius—­and she would not be afraid.”

Celaena likes to change just as much as the books. In Heir of Fire, she was a little unlikeable for me. I know she’s been broken… but I just wanted her to MAN UP and do what she does best… deliver vengeance and strength. I felt we got a very weak-willed Celaena this time around and I found it hard to fathom that she was the strong fighter that had been pulled from Endovier in Throne of Glass. I’m not sure if it was merely because she was learning from the very beginning with her magic, therefore she was a ‘novice’ in some way, or what… but Celaena – or ‘Aelin’ – needs to do some impressing and amp up her game.

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED her relationship with newcomer to the series, Rowan Whitethorn. The incredibly stoic and formidable fae Prince just stole my heart. From the moment he appeared on the page, he commandeered the scene. His relationship with Celaena/Aelin begins as a mutual disdain (they are thrown together to train by Queen Maeve) but gradually establishes itself as a solid, trusting friendship built on respect. I love how you can see their relationship develop. It isn’t romantic in anyway and they just mesh well, given their mutual experiences.

Their hands clasped between them, he whispered into her ear, “I claim you, too, Aelin Galathynius.”

That being said… although it isn’t a ‘romantic’ relationship… it definitely has the potential to be one. I am already shipping it like mad. I love that they are an even match for one another, and that Rowan knows more truths about Aelin than any other living soul. There’s not the disapproval Celaena gets from Chaol, or the mistrust. She’s also not some gleaming idol as Prince Dorian would have her be. She’s just Aelin… the broken, scared yet formidable heir to Terrasen who has a lot to learn.

There’s quite a lot of different POV’s in Heir of Fire, like I mentioned. While Celaena learns all about magic and her fae heritage across the seas in Wendlyn, Chaol and Dorian are back at Rifthold trying to keep on going beneath the eye of the King. General Aedion (Celaena’s cousin) comes back to court and offers a new twist on the rebel uprising. While I enjoyed his character and adored learning about his unyielding devotion to the cousin he hasn’t seen in ten years, I found he and Chaol’s chapters very slow and… a little boring.

“You cannot pick and choose what parts of her to love.”
– Dorian

I just cannot believe that Chaol is someone I’ve come to find irksome. I know a LOAD of readers adore him and still want him to be with Celaena, but the more this series goes on, the more I see how mismatched they are. Chaol has no idea of where his loyalties lie, or how he’s going to react to seeing the woman he supposedly ‘loves’ again. He’s so torn about his beliefs and is so judgemental.

There’s some Dorian chapters, too… I like Dorian more than I like Chaol, admittedly. I thought his budding romance with the healer Sorscha was quite cute and I was pleasantly entertained as they learned more about Dorian’s magic and how to suppress it. I’m oh-so curious as to how the Crown Prince can wield magic when everyone else’s magical abilities are suppressed.

“Witches didn’t need blood to survive, but humans didn’t need wine, either.”
– Manon

Possibly the most unique and ‘new’ voice of Heir of Fire is Manon Blackbeak, witch and heir to the Blackbeak clan. I likened her chapters to ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, as we follow the ruthless and feuding witch clans in the mountains as they train their Wyverns. Manon is such a dark character and I’m interested to learn more about her as the series continues. (While some people may be put off by another completely different tale in the Throne of Glass world, I don’t mind it. There’s no way that Celaena is going to bring down the King on her lonesome, so of course we should learn about all the pieces that are going to come into play.)

There’s just SO MUCH LORE crammed into Heir of Fire, too. We learn about the obsidian towers places around the continent, the Valg, the neighbouring continent of Wendlyn and… FINALLY, FINALLY… Celaena’s heritage and the story of her parent’s deaths. There’s also a bunch of stuff about the Wyrdkeys, Celaena’s ancestor Brannon, Queen Maeve and… just so much more. Like I said, Sarah J. Maas’s world-building really stepped up a notch in this one.

The book is split into two parts – Heir of Ash and Heir of Fire. The second portion of the book was undoubtedly better, in my opinion. Things really picked up. The last few chapters, too – just whoa. Talk about exciting!

The ending of Chaol, Aedion, Sorscha and Dorian’s story blew my mind. If I didn’t have to stick by my own rules and write a review before proceeding with the next book, Queen of Shadows would have been in my hands that very instant.

All in all, Heir of Fire very much elevates a few things that were lacking in the previous two novels. However, the fast-paced plotline is sacrificed in order to do so.

About Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

1 Comment

  • Reply Jodie @ Words Read & Written September 30, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I’m re-reading this one at the moment :)
    Jodie @ Words Read & Written recently posted…It’s my 2nd Blogiversary!My Profile

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