[Queen of Shadows: Throne of Glass IV] Sarah J. Maas

As always, slight spoilers for the previous novels.

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Coming fresh from reading Heir of FireQueen of Shadows lacked a little bit of the punch that the other did. Perhaps it was because she was back in Adarlan where I was already familiar with the villain, but I felt that this book dealt with a lot of the logistics of setting up the next book in the series and dealing with the aftermath of what happened in Heir of Fire instead of really doing anything new.  For me, Celaena’s journey back to Adarlan and the duties she had to address there were a little boring after the excitement of her training and coming into her identity as Aelin, as well as the excitement and horror at the capture of Aedion, Dorian, and Chaol. In Queen of Shadows, not only does Aelin have to address her past, but she also has to address the future of her kingdom as well as the continuation of the one she’s known for half her life. And unfortunately, a lot of that was planning and plotting.

In the last book, Celaena’s character growth was something that I truly enjoyed reading and that growth is not quite done. Yes, she came into her power and name, but there are moments in Queen of Shadows where Aelin can’t quite shake her identity as Celaena. She’s been Celaena for half her life to survive, so getting rid of that persona completely is likely impossible. There are skills and allies she made while she was an assassin and she finds that it is necessary to masquerade as Celaena for a few moments longer.

This time, however, I liked reading how that caused conflict within her, as well as shock for the characters around her. The characters who only knew her as Aelin sometimes struggle with her actions as Celaena, while the characters who knew her as Celaena struggle with seeing her as anything else and don’t always trust her actions as Aelin. That leads to conflict between all the characters involved, which was a source of a lot of the tension in the book.

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[Lastland: War of Princes IV] A.R. Ivanovich

28227333Riding out the consequences of the events in Monarch prove to be a trial for Katelyn and company. Prince Varion is coming into his own power and trying to amend for his mistakes while the war continues to rage across Lastland. He begins to put in motion plans to end the war, plans that are so extensive that even Katelyn has little idea of how much he wants to change. Finally,  Katelyn’s worst fears have been confirmed in Lastland: the war that has ravaged the outside world has finally reached Haven. Prince Raserion has brought shadows to her family and friends in Haven, a place that used to be green and safe. Fearing that time is not on their side, Katelyn has to return from Lastland to the original portal before she loses everything she loves.

While I was reading Lastland I came to the realization that I was done with the story before the story had even ended, which was incredibly unfortunate. I felt like I was reading regurgitated lines; a lot of the information about Dragoons and Hussars and their ruling parties were repeated. I already know the roles they play in the novel. I don’t need to be told for the third time (because this happened in Paperglass and Monarch too) of who Prince Raserion is or how bad the Margraves are. I know this because I’ve been reading the series from the beginning. It bogs down the narration and read a little sloppily to me; instead of giving me new information for the setting or the war, I was treated like I would have forgotten who these major players were in the interim between Monarch and Lastland, as well as the other novels.

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