Audiobook Review: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)

Published September 1st 2015

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Narrator: Elizabeth Evans

Audiobook Length: 20 hours 43 minutes

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.

Queen of Shadows is the fourth novel in the Throne of Glass series. I am very curious about how this series is going to continue as each novel keeps building on the one before it and I am trying to figure out how each character and story will end. Since all of the novels are continuous, it is best to read them in order. I will try my best to avoid any type of spoiler for this story, but there will be some spoilers for the previous novels. Throughout this novel there are some plot points that are wrapped up and others that still need to be resolved, so it will be interesting to see how the series continues.

In this one Celaena Sardothien has embraced her identity as Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, so she is ready to take her rightful place as the Queen of Terrasan. While Celaena and Aelin are the same person, their personalities are completely different. While Celaena was confident and bordered on arrogant, Aelin fully went and became very arrogant. The story continues with the same missions as the previous novels with some added twists that came towards the end of the previous novel. The King of Assassins, Arobynn Hamel, a character introduced in the prequel novellas and mentioned throughout the series, finally makes his appearance in this story. As he poses a threat, he may need to be eliminated, which is easier said than done.

A new character Nesryn is introduced. While she was a well-written character, she seemed to be introduced in a similar to manner to Sorscha from the previous novel. She seemed to be introduced as a love interest as her main purpose, which was disappointing considering she was an enjoyable character and I wanted more from her. Manon Blackbeak, the heir of the Blackbeak coven of the Ironteeth witches and leader of the Thirteen, continued to impress me in this story. She is an excellent morally grey character that can enact violence yet be vulnerable. I have a few guesses on the direction for her story, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

In the last novel, I was on the fence with Rowan where I liked him, but he was not a favorite. I liked his relationship that was forming with Aelin, but I felt there was too much of a jump between the last story and this one. For me, their relationship was not a slow-burn like some other readers, including many of my friends, felt. Instead, there just seemed to be too many elements of instalove between them and I would have preferred a little more build-up before either character took the leap. Their relationship could grow on me if they continue to be together in the rest of the series, but it felt a little too forced for my taste. As there have been many options for Aelin’s end-game relationship, including one potentially where she does not end up with anyone, I am not putting too much effort into caring one way or another about the romance for her.

Based on how Chaol is written in this novel, I can see why is not liked by many readers. For me, it seemed forced for him to come across this way, especially to distance himself in any way as a potential love interest still for Aelin. Their relationship was a huge part of Crown of Midnight and even given the events that happened after, they could have gotten together again; however, Maas wrote Chaol in a way where the reader almost has no choice but to root for Rowan. Between Dorian and Chaol, I favored Chaol as a love interest for Aelin, but I never fully shipped the two together. He is more bitter and carries dislike for some characters that did not match the character in the previous novels. There are discussions surrounding Nehemia and Chaol’s involvement with her story that seemed to come out of nowhere when this was explored in the second novel. It just seemed to be conflict for the sake of conflict as there was not a lot of substance to support this plotline’s use in the story. The one part of his character is his caring relationship with Dorian as I love their bond.

As for Dorian’s journey, there is the darkness in him that he is trying to overcome. The entire storyline with the Valg demon was interesting and Dorian’s chapters made it easy to root for him to finally be free of it. His character continues to grow a lot and I continued to love him outside of the initial relationship with Aelin. He is not a highly featured character in this story, which was disappointing, but he continued to be a delight and I am excited to continue reading about his journey.

While my opinions for the characters may differ than others, the one aspect that greatly stands out in this series is that there is a character for every reader. While some may favor Dorian, Aelin, Chaol, or any of the others, it is rare to find someone that truly hates them all. There are those that may dislike the way a character’s storyline is written, but the actual characters are likeable in one way or another for each reader. This novel was slow as there is a lot of build up to some plots and characters. It does take awhile for some action to take place and there are some chapters that feel like filler, but everything does make sense by the end. I can see the direction the author is trying to take with the pacing and the story did keep my interest. Overall, this series is very interesting and makes me intrigued about how it will end. I cannot wait to continue and complete the fifth novel, Empire of Storms, next!

5 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)

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