Book Reviews · books · young adult fiction

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Heir of Fire

Author: Sarah J Maas

Published: 11th of September, 2014 by Bloomsbury.

Pages: 562

Goodreads rating: 4.65

My Rating: 4.5

Synopsis:

Consumed by guilt and rage, Celaena can’t bring herself to spill blood for the King of Adarlan. She must fight back…

The Immortal Queen will help her destroy the king – for a price. But as Celaena battles with her darkest memories and her heart breaks for a love that could never last, can she fulfil the bargain and head the almighty court of Terrasen? And who will stand with her?

This review contains spoilers for Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire. Please don’t read it unless you have read those books!

I’m a little behind the curb here, Empire of Storms seems to be the book everyone is talking about at the moment and the reviews are everywhere. My copy (courtesy of my husband, who loves the series just as much as I do) is waiting faithfully  for me on the bedside table, right next to Queen of Shadows, which I have only recently started.

I read Heir of Fire in just three days right after finishing Crown of Midnight (in four days). After Celaena said goodbye to Chaol and set sale for Wendlyn I was completely hooked and I needed to find out what happened to my favourite assassin and her conflicted captain of the guard. I was also curious about Rowan, who despite my efforts to avoid spoilers pops up every now and then on my WordPress and Pinterest feeds. I know he is a fan favourite and I was eager to find out why.

My first thought about Rowan:  This guy is a jerk. He is mean and dismissive – why are so many YA heroes like this?

But as I continued to read I witnessed how the author was building their relationship in a very slow way with a focus how similar they are – Celaena isn’t exactly likeable either. This is a different approach to Celaena and Chaol and ultimately I think the Rowan/Celaena ship will prevail. Am I happy about this? Maybe…. But I will always ship Celaena and Chaol, even if things in Queen of Shadows so far seem to indicate their romance is doomed.

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In this book Celaena goes through a complete transformation (literally and figuratively).

[SPOILERS she becomes Aelin – the powerful Fae heir to the throne of Terrasen. She battles evil both in the world and within herself and by the end of the book she is ready to return to Rifthold and begin the fight for her throne.]

Celaena was never a character that I found particularly likeable, but I think that is what Sarah J. Maas intended. Celaena is impulsive, short-tempered, somewhat egotistical and downright rude at times. But it is because of this that she is so refreshing. So many YA heroines are ‘strong’ and ‘feisty’, but they are likeable and always display weakness in a way that is reliant on supporting male characters. Celaena on the other hand doesn’t do this. When she gets mad or sad she doesn’t cry on someone’s shoulder – she starts fights and kills people (or tries to in Chaol’s case). She yells at people and there are misunderstandings that make for better character development across the novel. Many of Celaena and Rowan’s interactions go this way.

The setting for much of this book is Wendlyn, a land where magic is unrestricted (unlike Adarlan) and magical creatures are alive and well. Maas uses this plot device very well, as the reader discovers both the good and the bad aspects of a magical land through Celaena’s eyes. The use of Fae mythology adds an extra layer of depth to the world, as Celaena learns about her heritage and begins to wield her hidden power.

The fight scenes in this book were tense and exciting, while also revealing much about the characters and their respective journeys. Maas has always written action scenes particularly well and this is a key reason why the Throne of Glass series has been so successful. Maas also knows exactly where to insert a fight scene, so that the story is never dull (as opposed to Throne of Glass , where there wasn’t enough action in my opinion).

The story jumps between several character perspectives: Celaena, Aedion, Chaol, Manon, Rowan, Sorscha and Dorian. This is the only aspect of the book that let me down. I did not enjoy reading Manon’s perspective and found myself largely skipping those parts. Aedion’s story didn’t really interest me either. I do not like multiple character perspective books as a whole, I usually become invested in one character and tend to skim read the others.

One of my favourite things about this series are the villains. An evil, seemingly unstoppable villain is the best asset a fantasy series can have. The more the better! I love well-written villains. The King is a great villain in this respect and his actions at the end of book engineer a shocking twist that sets up the next book very well. Celaena and Rowan’s battles with the Valg Princes were gripping and full of suspense. A large reason why I finished this book so quickly was because I could not stop reading when the villains were present.

The ending of Heir of Fire left me eager for more and I immediately picked up Queen of Shadows. Initial interactions between a reunited Celaena and Chaol put me off, but I will be getting back to it soon. I’m looking forward to reading Empire of Storms.

What did you think of Heir of Fire?

Thanks for reading!

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4 thoughts on “Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

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