Warning: This review will likely contain spoilers for Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. If you haven’t read either of those books, you should probably go read them now, then check out my other reviews here and here before coming back to read this. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…
Done? Okay, now on to Heir of Fire.
As you probably already know I’ve been really enjoying this series. I managed to finish the first three books in less than two weeks. I’ve mentioned before how I love the way Sarah J. Maas defies convention and doesn’t follow the standard YA fantasy formula. She continues that tradition with Heir of Fire.
This novel picks up about a month after Crown of Midnight. Celaena’s voyage to Wendlyn took about two weeks, and she has been in the country for about the same period of time. By the time the novel opens she has already concluded she cannot actually assassinate the royal family as planned. She also decides she will need the help of her Fae aunt, Maeve is she is ever going to find all the wyrdkeys and defeat the King. However, Maeve’s agent finds Celaena first and brings her to meet Maeve, where she is informed that she will be taught how to control her Fae powers before Maeve will give her any information.
Back in Adarlan Chaol is reeling with the discovery that Celaena is actually the lost princess of Terrasen and part fae. He teams up with an unlikely ally in order to gain more information about the King and try to work out a way to restore magic, which he believes will ultimately help Celaena and Dorian.
This book was kind of intense, and it was completely different than the first two novels in the series, proving that Maas can diversify her subject matter well and still keep it compelling. It didn’t feel like she has gone off track at all; rather, she was expanding the universe of the series even more with this novel. We finally get to see some of Wendlyn – which has been discussed frequently throughout the first two novels – and we finally get our first real look at the world of the fae in this series. I love that the cultures of this series – particularly the fae – seem to be closely aligned with the Gaelic mythology – with celebrations of holidays like Beltane.
I love that in this novel Maas is building a male/female relationship that is completely platonic (at least for now). Celaena doesn’t need a boyfriend to complete her or make her feel her worth, but she does need friendship and that is what she is given in this novel.
I do feel the need to state that I got really frustrated with Chaol in this novel – he spent much of his time clinging desparately to that fence instead of choosing one side or the other, but I think that is the point of his journey in this book. This central theme of this novel was of making choices and choosing sides. Though separated, Chaol and Celaena had similar journeys as they had to learn more about themselves and what they were willing to fight for.
This novel also introduced several new characters, most of whom I enjoyed, though I’m starting to worry about the Game of Thrones-like impending doom for all of them. Aedion is one of the King’s most celebrated generals, but he is also Celaena’s cousin and had been her best friend when she was a child. Sorscha is a healer in the castle who develops a bond with Dorian. It was nice to see him relax a little in this book. Lastly, Rowan is the fae warrior tasked with training Celaena. I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop throughout the book.
One more point I would like to make about this series – we are now three novels in (with the fourth due out in September) and there is still no obvious choice for “romantic lead” in this series. There are many potential partners for Celaena and each of them would probably be good for her in different ways – there’s also an equally likely possibility that she may not choose any of them, but may meet someone completely new in an upcoming novel or may just remain independent, and I love that. I love that this character has not been defined by her relationships with men in these novels, and that you can’t tell which if any she would choose. And honestly, I’m not sure I even have one I like more than the others (though I do have a soft spot for Chaol, even if he really frustrated me in this book).
Usually at this point a YA series tends to loose it’s steam. I felt the Mortal Instruments series would have done well to end after book three, as well as Twilight, but the Throne of Glass series feels like it’s just getting started. I can’t wait to see what will happen next when Queen of Shadows comes out.
And in the meantime, I still have The Assassin’s Blade to read.