Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas


Genre: Young adult | high fantasy
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Goodreads rating: 4.67
My rating: 3.5






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.


While I’m typing this I still haven’t decided on a rating. I want to write down my thoughts first, because honestly? I don’t know how to rate this, which devastates me. It’s Throne of Glass, it should be an immediate 5-star rating! But nope, while I did enjoy QoS, I have a few problems with it.

Bye bye Celaena, hello Aelin? I know that bits and pieces of Celaena were fake; a mask to conceal her real identity, but Celaena and Aelin seem to be a completely different person? I love Celaena; she is one of the best female protagonists in YA fiction. She is badass yet girly, loves reading and puppies and appreciates weapons. She isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, though she did have a conscious. Aelin? I don’t even know who that is. I’m not saying I completely hated Aelin; she had her bad-ass moments, but I was actually mad at her and I don’t feel very attached to her either to be honest. Spoiler: it also felt very out of character to me how she decided to kill Dorian instead of trying to save him. Yes, she has already faced the Valg and even one of their Princes, but we’re talking about Dorian here. Dorian, who is one of her best friends, who she loves and cares about. Dorian, who is the only hope for Adarlan. Also, she didn’t want to Rowan to tattoo another friend’s name on her back? Then why kill one of your friends yourself, Aelin? And the way she treated Chaol (I’ll get to the way he treated her in a bit)… Okay, so when he attacked her first, obviously I was all: GO AELIN. But she was so heartless towards him regarding Dorian. Also, Chaol did have a point. 

Sarah where are you hiding the real Chaol?? Um, Chaol wasn’t mad at Aelin/Celaena when Heir of Fire ended? He didn’t blame her for everything? He wasn’t this vicious? Okay, so maybe he snapped a bit because of what happened to Dorian, but he can’t blame that on Aelin. The way he treated her just felt very out of character to me. Lot’s of things did (unless it came to Dorian. Bless Chaolian). I’m just mad, because I loved Chaol, but this just wasn’t him. Also, he used to be a main character? Dorian too? Okay, so Dorian’s possessed, but I don’t care. I expected more Chaol and Dorian, instead of more new characters I don’t care about (like that servant girl in the Manon chapters whose name I can’t even remember. I just didn’t care at all what happened to her).

Speaking of Manon! While in Heir of Fire I didn’t like her chapters that much (I did like Manon herself, just for some reason I found most of her chapters a bit boring?), I absolutely loved them this time. Manon and the witches were badass, things were interesting and I loved the new side we saw of them. While I didn’t like what’s-her-face herself nor her POV, I did like what she brought out in Manon. Also, her fight with a certain someone. THAT’S WHAT I’M HERE FOR GUYS.

Let’s keep things positive for a little bit longer: AEDION. I fell in love with Aedion in Heir of Fire (he’s precious and has to be protected at all costs) and my love for him remained through QoS. His fanboy moments were just so adorable and his love for Aelin is just perfect.

Lysandra is also reintroduced, and I’m so glad she’s not as shallow as she seemed to be in The Assassin’s Blade, but I won’t go into it too much, since it’s a pretty big spoiler.

I’m afraid I have to get a bit negative again. I know a lot of you love Rowan. Before you grab your wands and swords and other weapons, I don’t hate him. I did find his narrating voice annoying to read at times and I DO NOT approve of the way he threatens Aedion (he’s Aelin’s beloved cousin why are you threatening to rip his tongue out if he talks to her again like that. I actually want to cuss, which I don’t do on my blog), but I really don’t hate him. I just don’t really care about him? I mean, I don’t want him to die for Aelin’s sake, but when he and Aedion were in trouble, all I could think was: ‘NOT AEDION. NOT AEDION’. Sarah has two books left to make me fall in love with him though (and with Rowaelin. I just don’t ship it? It’s weird, I didn’t ship Chaol and Celaena at first either, but then Sarah made me fall in love with them in CoM, so I kind of expected that to happen this time as well. I seriously ship Aelin/Celaena with so many characters, just not with Rowan. I just really loved their friendship and I’m a bit annoyed that it couldn’t stay that way honestly. But that’s just how I feel! Besides who knows how I’ll feel in book 5). Though what does bother me is that he’s supposed to be the strongest Fae warrior in the world, but it didn’t feel that way?

Another new character is also introduced: Nesryn. She’s a soldier and Chaol’s second in command. She could’ve been one awesome character, but instead she’s reduced to a love interest. I hope she’ll be more 3D in book 5, because she has so much potential.

Spoiler: I need to rant about this a bit, because it bothers me, but it’s a spoiler and I don’t want angry fangirls going after me! (we’re a scary bunch after all). I found Arobynn’s murder a let down. It was clear that Aelin would go after him and take her revenge. I’m not saying I wanted her to torture him or anything, or that I’m even disappointed it was Lysandra who killed him. There was just such a build-up to it, and we didn’t even get to read the murder. 

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I felt it was too long. I feel like a lot of stuff could’ve been left out; I was actually bored at some points. Great, I still don’t know how to rate this after such a long post haha. Thing is, I did enjoy it. There was action and blood, there were some feels, but I’m just not blown away. And when I look at my rants above, I don’t even think I should rate it 4 stars.

I wanted to be part of the people who loved this book. I wanted to be blown away. IT’S THRONE OF GLASS GUYS. WHY AM I NOT IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK *looks at above rants* Oh right. That’s why. So 3.5 stars it is then *sigh*. I just hope the next book will be better.

Thankfully I know I’m not the only one who is disappointed, which does make me feel slightly better. SO! How do you feel towards Queen of Shadows? 


14 thoughts on “Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

  1. I agree with you on sooo many things! Ugh! Queen of Shadows is a 3.5-star book to me too, and it’s beyond disappointing. I found myself wanting to skip Rowalaena chapters of the book because they were so ridiculous lol.

  2. I did enjoy it better than you did, although I had some problems with it as well and I can understand your points. I liked Celaena better than i like Aelin as well! And I also agree with your point on what happened between Celaena, Arobynn and Lysandra. I somehow imagined the event being more worthy of Celaena’s character and the actual events were a bit of a disappointment.

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  4. I also expected this to be THE BEST, especially after the hype, but like you I had a few points I really didn’t like.. so I ended up with 4 stars. Aelin, you are so right. I felt like I was reading a book about almost someone else. The Dorian situation was so unlike Celaena. And yes, what happened with Chaol? But also, why was Aelin so judgmental and unfair towards him?

    • YASSS ALL OF THIS! I’m really glad I’m not the only one who felt this way. The first books were so good, the hype was enormous, so I expected it to be so much more.
      Just what happened to Celaena/Aelin and Chaol? I don’t even know who they are anymore :(

  5. Echoing your sentiments on the book being a bit too long. The Rowan and Aelin parts were very weird to read. Did you also notice how Sarah made it a point to write Aelin at least 14 times in the first chapter so that you get used to Celaena being Aelin and not herself. I’m unable to review the book at all because of my rather mixed emotions about it! Also I didn’t expect Arobynn to die as easily as he did. For someone who was King of the Assassins, dying of a slit throat while sleeping seems wayy too easy.
    Great review, I enjoyed reading it! :)

    • Yeah I felt they were odd too :/ It was just such a weird transaction from the Rowan/Aelin scenes in Heir of Fire.
      I didn’t notice! Now I’m tempted to reread it haha.
      That’s exactly how I felt for a long time, but I wanted to write down my thougts.
      Yes exactly! It was waaay too easy. I read it and my first reaction was: wait, that’s it?? King of Assassins my ass

  6. This breaks my Queen of Shadows loving heart! Of course I understand everything you said in this review. And while I understand and can relate, my feels were basically “LOVE LOVE LOVE” from start to finish of this book for me!
    I was very surprised to see how Chaol has such a sudden bitter transformation! It saddened me and I almost started to hate him. But the past scene scared me so much that I adore him again.

    AEDION IS THE BAE FOREVER AND EVER. HE MUST BE PROTECTED. Gosh the last battler scene? I was so scared something would happen to Aedion I almost cried. No, correction, I was crying throughout the entire battle scene 😂

    While I loved and loved this book unconditionally, I understand everything you’ve said. I’m sad that you aren’t on the Rowaelin train.. I will ship them no matter what happens. I might go mad if Sarah J Maas changes the the relationship again. But at the same time, just like you, I ship Aelin with pretty much everyone 😂

    Wonderful review!

    • Yeah it breaks my heart too :( I wanted to love this book so much, but the more I thought about the more I realised I really don’t *dies*
      I hope I’ll feel different towards Roawelin in the next book, but I’m just glad I don’t hate it haha. It’s just terrible when you’re reading a book and you don’t like the main ship.
      Haha yeah Sarah just keeps changing ships, it’s crazy. I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S ENDGAME ANYMORE. It really looks like it will be Rowaelin, but I honestly don’t trust Sarah 😂
      At least Aelin is very shipable :P
      Thanks :)

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