“They joined hands.Sarah J. Maas, Queen of Shadows
So the world ended.
And the next one began.”
The Queen has returned.
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 has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.
She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. 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.
The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.
Caitlynn: I did not remember how much I loved Queen of Shadows until this reread. This book is easily one of the most important, action-packed books that I have read in a while. Maas did a great job with this book and kept you on the edge of your seat the whole time. I can’t wait for the rest of the books. 5/5 stars.
Jenn: I really don’t know if I appreciated Queen of Shadows as much as I should have when I first read it. During this read I’ve gotten to really appreciate it. The combination of a fast paced plot and amazing character development was a perfect combination for this novel. This is by far my favorite of the series. 5/5 stars.
Eden: When we decided to reread this series, I was nervous that it would be hard to keep moving through the books and that I would stall at some point. That wasn’t the case with Queen of Shadows as rereading it was just a great reminder of the characters that are to come in the upcoming books. Rereading Queen of Shadows reminded me of the incredible female relationships that begin to grow at this point in the series as well as how truly awful some of Maas’s characters can be. Overall, 5/5 stars.
Eden: What did you guys think when rereading Queen of Shadows.
Jenn: I have very strong feelings about this book. I did not remember how much I liked this book. I don’t even know if I appreciated this much when I first read it. I really liked it. I think I gave it five stars, but I really latched on to it this time. I fell in love with it. I think it’s my favorite book in the series that I have read. Of the ones we’ve reread, this was my favorite. I don’t know how it will fall with the last two since I haven’t read them yet, but I have a feeling this will still be a top contender.
Caitlynn: I agree, I was thinking the same thing today when I finished it.
E: This one just has so many well written moments. It’s set up in such a great way that it’s hard to dislike because you have so many different plans and plot points going on at once and then they coalesce into this one insane moment.
J: I feel like it’s the payoff that readers want when they are reading through a series. Like, in the process of a series you expect that book one is trying to connect you to the characters and you learning to caring about them, and book two is more world building. This one really felt like a culminating book almost. There was a lot of payoff for all that you had read up to this point. Everything had a point that all connected in this book.
C: I agree and I also really liked that she made me connect to the characters that I’d already cared about, but then they all actually got what they wanted so it was really satisfying in that aspect.
E: We talk about it being this great culminating book, but it’s fair to point out that even as a book that brings everything together, she’s still building. She’s still making connections that will continue into future novels in the series.
J: Yeah, I think that as readers we want everything that we consume within a book to have a point and to matter and a lot of time we don’t see that in a series. They may just be building background knowledge of a character or highlighting certain quirks so characters feel more real, but with this book what really was nice is that it felt like all the reading you’d done up until that point mattered. You needed all the information that she’d given you in the previous three books rather than feeling like it was just another book in the series. Everything felt important and everything went back to something that was said in the second or third book.
E: You mentioned Arobynn in our last discussion because you were really excited to discuss this part of the novel. Do you want to highlight what really pulled you into the Arobynn plot point?
J: I just loved that it seemed to highlight her court. This book you see her court in a setting that you don’t typically see them in. We see them interact in a more informal way. You see that they’re doing everything not just because she is their queen but because first and foremost they’re are loyal to who she is. I felt like the Arobynn heist really highlighted where their roles are and where their loyalties lie and how much they are an integral part of one another.
C: I also love that they all have different reasons for that loyalty toward her.
J: Yeah, it just totally shows the different sides of her.
E: Something that I felt like we hadn’t seen — even with having Nehemia in the first two novels — that I really appreciated was a true female friendship. It was so different from seeing her flirting and swaggering in front of all these guys.
C: All of those guys just falling in love with her.
E: Yeah! When Lysandra comes around you’re like, “Huh, who’s this bitch?” and you see immediately that she’s willing to do anything she needs to make sure Aelin is successful against Arobynn. It was just really cool getting to see Maas set up a female relationship that wasn’t warring against each other over some guy or just petty arguments in the way that Kaltain existed.
C: I also loved the fact that we’re talking about Arobynn, but I just remembered that they save Aedion from the castle in this book. Like, there are three major heists — as Jenn likes to call them — in this book–
J: And it’s got all the different cogs that have to work together.
C: Yeah! And as the reader you don’t know whats going through her mind at all when she’s going through these. That’s one of the worst parts of Aelin because she shares no details with her court, but as the reader you’re just like, “oh my god, this is why she did that!”
E: Yeah, this is when we really start to see that secret scheming.
J: I want to go back to talking about Lysandra really quickly because what I appreciated more this time than I did the first time I read it is how Maas highlights the different ways that women can be strong. Like, Celaena is very strong and athletic. She can beat the people that she has to go up against whereas Lysandra has had to be super emotionally strong in order to get herself through the position she was in. In the end she doesn’t put her down for the position Lysandra was in and what she had to do in order to survive. It went from a childish girl versus girl to why don’t we lift each other up rather than tearing each other down.
E: Why aren’t we allies? Why are we letting this man come between us? That’s what they continuously talk about is how Arobynn essentially made them fight for his love and affection. Actually one of my faovrite moments in the book is when they’re at dinner and Aelin gives Lysandra that slip of paper and you just know what it says without even needing to know.
E: What did you guys think about the final stand in Rifthold?
C: I really liked it because, like I said last time, I’m going through it a lot slower and I feel like I picked up a lot of stuff that I missed. I really tend to skim through the first time because I just feel like I have to know. So this time it was nice because I don’t think I’d fully picked up on the evolution between her and Dorian’s relationship at that point. Then the aftereffects and how everyone played such a big part in it.
J: I feel like knowing the action coming up that it was much easier to picture the fight sequences this time. A lot of the time I just want to see the end result so I don’t pay a lot of attention, so it was nice to see how well Maas choreographed that ending. I really appreciated all of the details this time that I didn’t fully read the first time.
E: Something that Maas does really well, almost to well in a sense, is how she can make a person so absolutely respulsive. When you read about Arobynn and the stuff that he did and even the things he does in this book, you read it and you’re disgusted. He’s such a truly disgusting character.
D: Or Perington.
E: She just does such a good job painting a grotesque villain that you can’t help but think how awful they are.
J: Like unapologetically.
E: Yes! There is a moment in this book when Arobynn sends scenting oils to Aelin and requests she puts them on and the scent is of him and that whole scene just grossed me out so much. I don’t know if I felt that way in the original reading, but this time I was just so disturbed by it.
J: I really like that she isn’t afraid to lean into that. I feel like a lot of authors try to give back story to explain why they are the way that they are and I liked that we don’t have that. Some people are just bad. There isn’t an excuse for something that happened in his past because when you do the things Arobynn does you’re just a terrible person no matter what. I like that she lets that air out even though it can be really difficult to do.
E: I definitely appreciate that she does that because I don’t have to give Arobynn any excuses.
C: Going off of that, my favorite character development in this book is Manon.
E: Oh yeah.
J: I agree.
C: Because that’s the polar opposite.
E: You go from the last book where you really don’t care about her.
J: You’re just reading about a random girl.
C: I loved seeing her progress and her whole plot point with Asterin. I loved that Maas set that ball rolling last book and moved into Manon figuring out who she is.
E: She does such a good job developing her.
J: She just threw her story line last book and it has progressed into a character we love.
Have you read Queen of Shadows? What did you think?