Not gonna lie, I’m slightly disappointed. Ok, not slightly, I’m very disappointed.
I didn’t love this book. I wanted to, but I didn’t. It’s all made worse by the fact that some part of me knew I wouldn’t.
What I love about this series is how each book brings forth a new layer of complexity to both the plot and the characters. I love that unlike in most YA people don’t fall in love with the first people they meet. I love that there are strong female and male friendships, and they are bonds not easily broken. That is especially great since most YA seems to focus only on love interests, and here we have a friendship like Chaol and Dorian, best friends who would kill and die for each other. We have Aelin and Lysandra who are both wicked, and mean, and true to themselves and each other. I love the strong family relations too with Aelin and Aedion. There are so many great things in this book.
And it saddens me that I did not love it because there are also so many things I hated.
I used to love these characters, now it seems like the characters are going down the toilet and it doesn’t seem to matter cause Rowan is here and Rowan is hot.
Celaena was stubborn and quick tempered and brash. Aelin was selfish and mean, and quite frankly, annoying. She wouldn’t stop giving Chaol all that crap, walking around acting all self-righteous and whatnot. Blaming him for all the terrible things in the world, things entirely out if his control. Like blaming him for not killing the king, even though she didn’t kill him either after all that time she spent under his roof. And then blaming him for not saving Dorian, like, hello, the king had dark magic and an army, what did you expect Chaol could do? And still blaming him for Nehemia despite the fact that Nehemia orchestrated her own death. It was all by her doing! And then calling him selfish while in doing so she was a hypocrite. Chaol was doing his best, trying to save his friend and make sense of the crazy world they lived in. Chaol was such a good and important character in the first two books, and now he’s been discarded and made out to be a bad guy that the reader should dislike. And you know what? I might have been OK with that if it had seemed natural or served a true purpose. Instead, it seems like SJM was destroying his character so that we would love Rowan a little more. Especially with that ending. Like seriously, how much do you hate poor Chaol? Seems like an awfully convenient way to get rid of him without having all the Chaol fans start a riot and nothing more.
Then there was everyone else who just loved, loved, loved Aelin. The girl could do no wrong. She was perfection made flesh. I honestly am surprised SJM didn’t use that line since everyone was “Death made flesh” “fire made flesh” or “*insert word here* made flesh” to describe how awesomely awesome her characters are. And of course, none more awesome than Aelin, whom everyone worshiped.
I understand why people were loyal to her. She had earned that loyalty. I understand why they followed her, and why there were her friends, and why they loved her. She earned it all. What I did not understand was how they could just stand there while she called everyone out on their shit and yet everyone always turned a blind eye to hers. It bothered me how little Aelin was the epitome of perfection in everyone’s eyes.
I admit that while I criticize Rowan for basically just being a really hot, really territorial dude who seems to make all the world’s problem seem small in Aelin’s eyes, I must also admit that I was glad when he showed up. And I don’t know how I feel about it. Up until he showed up, Aelin was being kind of annoying. She was being arrogant and rude, and super disrespectful towards Chaol. And then he shows up and she starts acting somewhat like the character I fell in love with back in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. I didn’t like it. It honestly feels like SJM is forcing us to love Rowan. Aelin/Celaena has known Chaol and Dorian for far longer and yet she was willing to kill them both without too much thought. While I loved Rowan in Heir of Fire, I just found him to be a bit too much in this one. Especially since Aelin couldn’t look at him without going into paragraphs about how hot and awesome he is. Like, OK, I get it, the dude is attractive. On top of that, their relationship just didn’t seem natural to me. I don’t know what it is, but it felt weird.
I used to love the characters in the first two books. I loved their bond to each other, their devotion. Now Chaol and Dorian and even Nehemia (but especially Chaol) have been thrown to the dogs. It’s as if the first two books didn’t even happen. In fact, some things seem to straight up contradict things that happened in those first two books, like the inexplicable connection both Chaol and Celaena felt for each other, the thing that tied them together. No one talks about that. Or when in Crown of Midnight she told Chaol “I’d pick you. I’ll always pick you” right before she left. And no I’m not just a disgruntled Chaol lover. This book didn’t feel right to me. The characters and their actions didn’t feel right.
I don’t know how to feel about any of it.
I might now have an actual excuse to leave this series behind. I’ll probably keep reading though, if only because Manon is an amazing character and because I want to see where Elied’s story goes from here on. Other than that, it was all pretty meh.
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