When I started the Throne Of Glass series this September, due to this novel, Heir Of Fire, being nominated for the BookTubeSFF Awards, I didn’t really know what to expect. Well yes, I knew it was about this girl-assassin and a mad king who banished all magic, but that’s about it. What I was expecting was a pretty standard YA story and knowing my history with YA, I didn’t set the bar all too high. So when I read the first two books in the series, I was actually pleasantly suprised that I got an entertaining story that was above par compared with its peers. I was not prepared, however, for Heir Of Fire..
Warning. Potentially minor spoilers for all three books.
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?
While I enjoyed Throne Of Glass and Crown Of Midnight, I had my problems with them. Compared to a lot of other YA Fantasy novels out there, they were good, but still lacking, not delivering on the potential that was there. Fast forward to Heir Of Fire and it seems like Sarah J. Maas sat down, took a look back at what held the first two novels back and propelled this series into greatness.
Whereas prior to this novel the plot was very much straightforward, we now get three separate storylines with Celaena, Chaol and Manon as main characters. Celaena is very much coming to terms with the happenings of Crown Of Midnight and trying to figure out who she is and where she belongs. In order to do this, she travels to the kingdom of the Fae and Demi-Fae, where her aunt Mav resides. Here she’s training to get a grip on her magic alongside a new bunch of characters.
“propelled this series into greatness
Celaena’s departure from Adarlan worked magic for the story. First of all, it set us free of that awkward love-triangle and gives opportunities for growth. Not that love has completely left the building, but instead of infatuation, we get the real deal here. This is how people meet and grow fond of each other, not the puppy-eyed swooning upon hello. Heir Of Fire really takes time to let Celaena grow as a character and instead of just thinking of her as just nice, this book made me really like this fiery assassin. The additions to the cast of characters in this part of the story are also more than nice. Rowan is, well, Rowan. I like him, and I love how we got to meet him together with Celaena. Slowly crawl our way through his defences and that sturdy exterior. Also, props to Maas for adding a same-sex relationship and not making a fuss about it. It just is. Lovely! Second, the discoveries of Crown Of Midnight get their continuation in this part of the story and we get an explanation. You get to sit through sulky and angry Celaena for a while, but when the shit starts hitting the fan, it’s hitting so good and it’s so riveting I couldn’t prise my eyes off the pages. This also allowed us to get more of Celaena’s backstory and these parts are smoothly slipped into the story without it ever feeling like infodumping.
The second storyline concerning Chaol and Dorian is a bit less exciting than the parts about Celaena and is slowly moving about. For the main part, this serves as our eyes and ears in Adarlan while Chaol is piecing everything together and wrapping things up for his departure to Anielle, as anounced at the end of Crown Of Midnight. It’s not until the end, though, that this part of the novel gets really exciting, and when it does, it simply explodes. I mean, that thing that happened in the throne room?!
“It just is. Lovely!
Whereas the POV’s of Celaena and Chaol are two diverging storylines from the one in the previous instalments, the third part of Heir Of Fire stands on its own. The fair in the previous book introduced us to the witches and this is expanded upon here. These witches are a creepy lot for sure, but I think I kind of like Manon and Asterin and I am excited to see where this is all going from here. The part they played in this book was nigh to nothing despite them having a great amount of chapters, which is a bit of a shame, I guess. In the grand scheme of things this will all make sense, I’m sure, but where Heir Of Fire is concerned, their parts felt just tacked on, mainly because there is no link to the rest of the story. That is my only criticism on this part, though, cause I am terribly excited to see where Sarah J. Maas takes her dragonriding witches.. Yes. Witches. Riding on dragons.
The main thing this book does is taking its time. Being almost twice the length of the previous novels, it never bores cause Maas takes her time to develop her characters and to expand on her world. Really, the worldbuilding in Heir Of Fire is twice of what was built in the previous books. The things we learn, the things we see, the places we go, the people we meet… All this is done in a very fluent prose and if there is one thing you can say about this book, is that Heir Of Fire bears witness to Sarah J. Maas coming into her own as a writer. She creates a compelling story that had me glued to the pages. It might be quite the departure from where the series ended in Crown Of Midnight, but I’m totally down for this and what’s to come!
★ ★ ★ ★
Keep this fire burning!