Final Ruling: 5/5 stars (of course)
With this book, it’s official, Sarah J. Maas is a goddess that I will gladly sell my soul to in exchange for more books even half as good as this one. Queen of Shadows was everything that I hoped it would be and more. Because I’m me, the thing I loved the most about this book was the characters, oh my sweet goodness, the characters. Going into this book, I already loved the preexisting characters, but the new ones and the development of those preexisting ones was absolutely and completely spectacular. All of the characters were so three-dimensional and realistic that they seemed to leap off of the page and into my reality, I sure do care about them as if they were real people. It takes a lot for me to get that attached to people, even fictional ones, so kudos to Miss Maas for creating a cast that will be impossible for me to ever forget.
(as we get into the nitty-gritty of it, please remember that italics mean spoilers, so if you want to avoid the spoilers, please don’t read the italics. Thanks a bunch!)
So, since I finished this book, I have been trying my best to figure out the one specific thing that I liked most about this installment in the Throne of Glass series. I find myself torn between two minor character arcs that really stood out to me: Lysandra and Asterin. I now realize that I tend to fixate on minor characters instead of major characters like I’m supposed to. Oops.
(CAUTION! Spoilers ahead…)
Lysandra is quite possibly my new favorite character in the whole entire series, regardless of the fact that we are first introduced to her in this book. She is strong, she is beautiful, she is selfless, she is brave, she is breathtaking. At first, I really did love to hate Lysandra, seeing as she seemed like an uppity prostitute concerned with nobody but herself. However, by the end of the novel, I was so incredibly attached to her, it pained me to close the book and let her go. Her love for Evangeline is unexpected and took my breath away. The things she does for that little girl are amazing and seriously do bring tears to my eyes, the way that she essentially sold herself into Clarisse’s service for another lifetime so that Evangeline didn’t have to be a part of that world. It adds a whole new layer to her character, one of selflessness, nobility, and maternal instinct. Not to mention the fact that she is a freakin badass shape-shifter. She is a wild thing hidden in a beautiful human body, someone who prefers living in a body with fur and fangs to living as a fragile human. Her soul is that of a snow leopard and she is not afraid to show people that. Yes, she can be manipulative, but nobody can be absolutely perfect. She does have intense character flaws, but still I adore the sassy, blunt, beautiful, and wild girl that is Lysandra. Aside from her character, the relationships she has with other characters are so great, especially her unlikely friendship with Aelin. Together they are badass, beautiful, and absolutely unstoppable. I can’t wait for her to kick some serious Valg behind in EOS.
Next up on my favorite character arc of this particular book we have the bloosthirsty and brutal Asterin Blackbeak. (at first I was going to say Manon, but then I realized that though she is phenomenal, Asterin is the one who really shined in this particular book). Oh goodness, my darling Asterin. Hearing about her great human love and what happened afterwards literally split my heart in two. She is beautiful, she is powerful, and she is quite possibly the strongest character I have ever read. Her character arc was phenomenal, and made me love this wildfire of a girl even more (not to mention that it made me hate the Blackbeak Matron even more as well…). She literally clawed her way back from certain death, after miscarrying and literally being branded “UNCLEAN” by the same person who was supposed to support her and allow her to heal after the tragedy that was losing her witchling. Now, she did have a support system outside of the Matron, and that really did make me love The Thirteen even more than I already do (which is a lot). Despite basically being told by the Matron to crawl in a hole and die, she healed and proceeded to waltz right back into Manon’s life (and into the Matron’s), and growing to become a reckless force of nature who really did adore life. She is strong and stands up for what she believes in, and fights with everything she has to do what is right, even if it means losing her life in the process. She is admirable and even though she has done things that cannot and should not be excused, she really is a phenomenal girl. I really do adore her
Yes, the plot is breathtaking, the twists and turns tugged on my heartstrings, the character development was amazing, and the ending was just…. okay, I’ve run out of words of praise so I’m just going to call it amazing again. I could literally go on for the rest of my life about these characters and these books, but alas, this is all the time I have for now. Feel free to message me if you want to chat more about this series, because it is seriously the best in the whole world ever.
I would recommend this book to anybody with even the smallest preference for fantasy and kickass characters. I would love for all y’all to join me in my worship of the wonderful Sarah J. Maas.