Review: Queen of Shadows, Sarah J Maas

August 31, 2015 Reviews 9 ★★★★½

Review: Queen of Shadows, Sarah J MaasQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Published by Bloomsbury on September 1st 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 656
Source: Publisher
Amazon • Amazon UK • Book Depository • Bookworld

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.


Where to begin with this review? There is so much to say about this book!

Philippa and I had a chat soon after she finished it to try and put together a joint review, since we have both re-read the whole series over the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately most of the chat looked like this:

Philippa: The twist with the <spoiler> was really interesting, I wasn’t expecting that bombshell at all

Angelya: But like, <spoiler>.. when he thought <spoiler>.. and <spoiler>.. and.. BOOM

You get the idea. So we’ve tried to distill it down to the spoiler-free basics of what you can expect from Queen of Shadows, and why you should definitely read it. You can read my full review of the book over on Goodreads.

There are spoilers for the earlier books here, so if you haven’t read the series at all, we suggest reading our original Throne of Glass reviews (Philippa’s or Angelya’s), and go get reading!

We do recommend that you read the four prequel novellas, collected in The Assassin’s Blade, before you read Queen of Shadows. There is a lot of back story material that is mentioned in this book which is explored in a lot more detail in the novellas.

Here’s a quick recap for the end of Heir of Fire:

View Spoiler »


throneofglass_seriesSo, what can you expect from Queen of Shadows?


There is a definite shift away from Celaena here – the Queen is showing through. She kicks arse and takes names all over the place in this book.

A: I didn’t like Aelin for most of this book. I know she’s developing into the character she needs to be, but she’s bitchy and violent and generally horrible to everyone.
P: But she is SO AWESOME.  I loved that she has finally claimed and totally owns her birthright and Aelin might be a tad less sassy, but she is just as smart, strategic and girly as Celaena is!


The Boys

The on-off love triangle of earlier books has been replaced by some sort of oddly shaped polygon of indeterminate proportions.

P: Its funny because before rereading the series back to back, I was totally Chaol obsessed
P: I reread them and I couldn’t quite work out why I was Chaol obsessed, he annoyed me a lot for the first 3 books and then continued to annoy me for book 4! He’s morose and judgy!
P: I will probably be ostracized by book lovers everywhere about that haha
A: Really? Oh no! I felt so sorry for him again, everything he did he thought he was doing the right thing
A: It wasn’t the right thing at all, as it turned out.. poor bloke. He blames himself for everything and is really depressed.. a lot like Celaena in HoF
A: I still love Chaol, he’s just been so broken since Crown of Midnight and I just want to hug him.


A: I love Aedion. Did I mention that already?
A: Actually for a while there I kept picturing him as that guy who plays Oberyn Martell 🙂
A: which is totally a problem because he is blonde
A: also like… not Dornish
P: Did I tell you that the girl that plays Mia in Mia and Me is the sandsnake from GoT that shows her boobs?
P: Back on topic Aedion is awesome though I think he took a backstage role in this book – definitely shed his boozing, womanizing image from HoF!


P: Dorian was like epically awesome in this book, the feels, the goose bumps I think I love him more each book he is exactly what royalty should be.
A: Yes, Dorian for ever <3 <3


P: Dare I say it…. I love Rowan, all his dark immortal baggage *sigh* and that inner code of honor thing –  he’s got all the things in him that I wished Chaol had.  I think I totally was on the Rowaelin ship after reading HoF again and I won’t say anything else about my opinions on any ships after reading QoS!
A: I actually think Rowan is too perfect. He’d make a great Tamlin actually. If Tamlin and Rowan had swapped places I would have enjoyed ACOTAR a lot more!


P: On reflection the romances are really irritating – its like she didn’t really have an overall picture or game plan of what she wanted. Throne of Glass was definitely Dorian angled, then Chaol in Crown of Midnight and it was written like this was forever –  I wanted them to be forever! Then it just went nowhere in book 3 though Rowan appeared to be set up as a  love interest and then in book 4 <spoiler>  One thing is clear – this series breaks my love triangle theory wide open!  (Where the girl always goes for whichever guy she has a thing for first).


Manon and the Thirteen

Manon Blackbeak and her coven, the Thirteen, are back. Theirs is a very dark story, as they investigate the strange things going on in Morath, and their paths gradually begin to close in with the other major characters.

Even though a lot of people don’t seem to like Manon, she is having some very slow-burning character development that starts to really come into play in QoS.

P: The storyline with Manon and the witches was more interesting than I expected and I like the philosopy of nature vs nurture that’s been brought into it. Are you born evil or made evil?
P: Also Manon’s major fight scene in this book is totally epic! (no spoilers!)


The Action

The first half of this book is fairly slow, with small action sequences as each character carries out setting-up tasks, and we finally meet the King of the Assassins again. There’s a lot of blood, torture and general unpleasantness – it’s a lot darker than its predecessors (if that’s possible). It’s not until the later part of the book when things really start to ramp up, action-wise.

But when it does… whoa.

A: That whole final third of the book I was basically hardly breathing my eyes wide open, haha
P: The ending of this book…!!! It was like Act I just finished and now we are in the interval waiting for Act II and we just have a really really long time to wait hahaha
A: oh god, how are we going to do a year??
P: I don’t know! I need more and I need it now lol

Our ratings

Philippa: five-stars

Angelya: four-half-stars – (I can’t tell you why I took a half off for spoilery reasons!)

Congratulations to Sarah J Maas for creating another epic installment in one of our favourite series. We hope everyone enjoys reading Queen of Shadows as much as we did! Please, tell us what you thought of it, without spoilers if possible!


Anni lives in Brisbane, Australia with her young family. She loves everything fantasy and science fiction and believes sleep is really very underrated.

9 Responses to “Review: Queen of Shadows, Sarah J Maas”

      • Tracy Cornelius

        I was blessed with 2 days of jury duty so got to devour the whole thing while being paid to do so. Does it get any better than that?

        Loveloveloved Queen of Shadows. It might be one of my favorite in the series but I adore them all so hard. Amazing action that had me holding my breath and on the edge of my seat. Storylines came together and drifted apart in beneficial ways. I was living and dying with every page. As a good book will make you do. Already great characters developed even further and I am no even attached to some fairly minor ones.

        Sarah J. Maas is just the best. Maybe she has some grocery lists laying around that I can read while waiting on the final book.

        • Angelya

          That’s awesome! Well, as long as there aren’t any cases for you to be a juror on to take you away from the reading, hehe. I’d totally read SJM’s shopping lists xD

  1. thay

    really good review!
    I still believe that aelin will stay with dorian! I just think that rowan is more like a brother than like a lover!

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