Book review: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, Book 7)

I’ve been waiting for this one, and I wasn’t disappointed. KINGDOM OF ASH was a great Epic Fantasy adventure!

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I loved this story. Finally after 6 installments, the adventure concludes. And what a conclusion!

There’s everything here for those who love high fantasy adventure, battles, love-stories, and magic. It had all the elements I adore in fantasy, plus it brought three yet to be resolved romances to their emotional conclusion. Maas seamlessly includes ALL the major players from previous stories in for the grand finale, and she does so in the way that had me caring about all the threads, and all the characters. Quite an achievement!

The fantasy world is richly drawn, with sweeping settings. This story truly was epic in scale in every sense, and the battle scenes were fantastic. I particularly enjoyed the witch towers – terrifying!

It’s a big book (and the concluding chapters could have been shortened a tad, in my opinion, without losing any impact) that has a lot of questions to answer, and many subplots to tie up – but like I said, Maas does a great job of it. This is definitely a book I’d read again. Here were my highlights (hopefully none of these should be spoilers):

– Aelin’s imprisonment and torture … no I’m not ghoulish but I thought this section was incredibly well done.
– Dorian’s trip to Morath …. this section had me on the edge of my seat. Nail-biting!
– The conclusion of Aedion and Lysandra’s, and Elide and Lorcan’s love stories. These were highly emotional!
– Dorian and Manon’s developing relationship … two conflicted souls who are actually meant for each other.
– The final showdowns with the Valg, Erawan and Maeve. Great baddies in this series!

There were plenty of other parts of the story that I loved (too many to go into here) and the writing was fluid and engrossing. I can’t wait to see what new series Sarah J Maas has in store for us next!

Five stars!

Check out the book on Amazon.

Book review: Tower of Dawn, by Sarah J. Maas

31450852I really enjoyed aspects of Tower of Dawn – especially the setting. As usual, Sarah J. Maas writes really well, and brings her world to life brilliantly. Her characters are vividly drawn and sympathetic, and the plot is very clever, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

This novel is a deviation from the main plot – following Chaol and Nesryn’s journey to seek support for the cause to the north, and find a cure for his paralysis. I didn’t have a problem with this, as it was enjoyable to get a break from Aelin’s story.

Amazon blurb:

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

My favorite bits:

– The setting: loved the empire with its distinct, believable culture
– The section set in the mountains and the Darghul Fells … pretty exciting!
– The writing: it just flows and is easy to get swept away
– The big reveals near the end … although I’d kind of guessed most of them, but it was exciting nonetheless
– The scene when the princess gets dumped in the pool … she definitely had it coming!

My least fav bits:

– The mid-point: the story dragged a little in the middle, too much talking and too little action for my liking
– The romances: I adore a good love story, but both of the romances in this story didn’t grab me. Not to go into too much detail here, to avoid spoilers, but one of the romances was a bit underwhelming, lacking tension, and the other was a overplayed … and just went on and on. Romance is difficult to get right, especially in an action-driven Epic Fantasy, but done well it can really lift the story…

Despite these niggles though, I really enjoyed returning to the vivid world of Sarah J. Maas, and can’t wait for the next book!

**** Four stars

Throne of Glass series – epic fantasy romance not to miss!

I’m a big fan of Sarah J. Maas’s THRONE OF GLASS series. I’ve read all the books so far and am hanging out for the sixth book in the series!

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Now… I’m not a big fan of the covers. In fact – the covers almost put me off reading the series. They’re too ‘young adult’ and comic book for my liking. The series gets very dark, has some steamy sex, is pretty violent and tackles some heavy issues. The covers don’t give you any of that – they are all wrong. That said, don’t let the covers put you off. This is a hugely epic, emotionally powerful series that gets better and better with each book.

I actually wrote reviews for each book as I read it, and thought I would share them here. I’ve also inserted in links to Amazon for each book, just in case my reviews inspire you to read the books!

51egs3mf22l-_sx166_sy265_Throne of Glass (Book #1)

An exciting start to a well-written series (I’m now into the third book and loving it). Maas creates a believable fantasy world and the main character – Celaena – is fantastic. I’m always a bit cautious when reading novels where the heroine appears to have superhuman abilities but Celaena is completely believable as the tough-as-nails teenage assassin. I highly recommend this character-driven fantasy series.

Crown of Midnight (Book #2)51nyjnp7ktl-_sx166_sy265_

The second installment to the Throne of Glass series was even better than the first. The character development was more exciting, the themes darker. There’s more at stake – and the twist half-way through was fantastic. I love it when an author surprises me with a twist I never saw coming!

Celaena really develops in this novel. She matures and we start to discover more about her heritage, which sheds light on parts of her character. I also enjoyed Chaol and Dorian’s character development as they embark on subplots of their own. This novel really is a roller-coaster, Maas packs in a lot into it but everything works. A fantastic series!

Heir of Fire (Book #3)519kgyzi9rl-_sx166_sy265_

The best of the series so far!

Each novel is getting darker and more complex, which I love. I also enjoyed the various subplots – especially the one about the witches. The Yellowlegs, Bluebloods and Blackbeaks all vie for dominance as they strike a bargain with a human king and train wyverns for the battle ahead. These witches are unlike any I’ve ever read about – worthy of a series all of their own!

Maas creates a truly believable fantasy world populated by richly drawn characters. We learn more about Dorian and Chaol, with a twist at the end I never saw coming (unusual for me!). The creatures Maas creates – the Skinwalkers for example – are excellent. They reminded me a little of George R. R. Martin’s White Walkers, with a creepy twist of their own.

Well-written, gripping epic fantasy. I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series!

Queen of Shadows (Book #4)51frdjedgl-_sx166_sy265_

Another wonderful installment in this series. Maas’s world building is great – and I love the supporting characters as much as the heroine. I particularly like the witch Manon Blackbeak and can’t wait to see how her character develops in the next book. The fact that I’m four books in and still want to keep reading says it all really. I don’t usually have the patience for long series but I’ll make an exception here. A real page turner – highly recommend!

Empire of Storms (Book #5)51qvjmwvsxl-_sx166_sy265_

A fantastic book – this series just keeps getting better and better!

It’s epic too – huge in its scope – and Maas manages to pull everything together. She has subplots, a massive cast of characters and a overarching theme that has been on a slow-burn since Book #1.

I really felt it all works.

This story surprised me, not just because of twists and turns, and the shock ending I didn’t see coming – but also because of the way the characters developed. For me, Aelin and Rowan were the least interesting characters in this novel. Sadly, Chaol disappears in this book but instead we have some great subplots with Dorian and Manon (I adore Manon – this woman deserves a series of her own!), Aedion and Lysandra, and Lorcan and Elide.

I think these three ‘secondary’ romances are actually more interesting than that of Rowan and Aelin (which I found a bit overplayed). There’s more grit, tension and realism in the developing relationships.

However, the best thing about this book is that it’s a sheer emotional roller-coaster. This is what makes epic fantasy such an incredible genre. Maas makes us feel as if we’re right there, as if it’s our world on the brink – as if Aelin is our queen. Long series often aren’t my thing; I tend to get bored. It shows real writing talent to be able to develop stories and characters over five books and still keep readers on their edge of their seats. Maas does this brilliantly.

Absolutely loved this book, and now have to sit on my hands and wait for the next installment.


So there you have it, my thoughts on this amazing series so far. As a writer of fantasy romance these novels really inspire me!

The stories are not without their faults (a slightly overplayed central love story, superhuman heroes and heroines instead of men and women we can relate to were my two main gripes) but the storytelling is so strong, the writing so seamless and the emotional connection so strong that I can forgive these – and that’s the test of a great story.