**This review contains major spoilers. To skip the spoilers, see my Goodreads review here!**
The fifth instalment of the Throne of Glass series, this book continues the story of Aelin Galathynius and her court on their journey to take back the Kingdom of Terrasen and ultimately save the world from the evil Valg King Erawan.
What I thought:
I loved this book. It was a rollercoaster of feelings and hopes and dreams and wishes and tears and sadness and love. I had ALL THE FEELS at ALL OF THE TIMES.
We got to see so much in this book. We learned more about Erilea and the kingdoms we haven't seen before, including but not limited to a mysteriously familiar-seeming swamp land (*coughDeadMarshescough*). It's great, and and I adored the presumed homage to some of the classics. I am so sad we didn't get to see more of Ellwye, and that Maeve pretty much ruined it for everyone, because she's evil incarnate.
We got to meet new characters and learn more about our old favorites. I adored getting to know the cadre, Elide, and Lorcan better, as well as Manon and pretty much everyone. GUYS. THE SILENT ASSASSINS. (*quiet sobbing*) And Ansel, and FREAKING KASIDA THE ASTERION. (I'm so glad I just happened to finish Assassin's Blade RIGHT before I read this.) That ending scene with all of the forces coming together after Maeve carted our beloved Aelin of the Wildfire off--I just actually cannot think about it without tears coming to my eyes. Like...fantastic and so heartwarming and hope-inducing yet just *after* perfect timing. Abraxos and Lysandra are my new two fave characters. Lysandra is amazing and badass and so brave. Abraxos is the most majestic and loyal flower-scented wyvern ever and I love him forever.
The action scenes were so stressful yet exhilarating. I think my favorite was the epic sea wyvern/sea dragon!Lyandra battle. It invoked so many emotions in me because all the stuff from all of the characters' perspectives were just so poignant and like real feelings. THESE GUYS LOVE EACH OTHER and it both warms and breaks my heart because I don't want any of them to be hurt but I know it will be inevitable because drama. The battle with the Ilken at the Stone Swamps was so freaky but showed that the cadre amazingly is so willing to work with the Court and they can be a fantastic unit. God, Maeve ruins EVERYTHING! She's like the Dolores Umbridge of Erilea--we know Erawan is the big evil baddie, but then someone on the inside who we would expect to be good turns out to be a total selfish bitch. (Show us how you REALLY feel, Emma!)
YEAH. GO TO HELL, MAEVE!
The romances were adorable. I know people don't like that fact that the majority of the characters are paired up neatly, but...it's fiction, and I enjoy good romances, and these are good romances. I was kind of iffy about the whole Elide/Lorcan thing happening, but seeing how she changed his character for the good and softened his Maeve-induced hardness (no pun intended, yikes) made me change my mind about that. I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop, and somehow that made me feel not as mad when Lorcan decided to be a dumb-ass and accidentally-on-purpose call for Maeve.
Lyandra and Aedion is so tragic yet realistic. I love that they obviously have strong feelings for each other, yet still respect boundaries and are the closest of friends.
Manon and Dorian is like...whoa. I like it, because I've been shipping them for a while, but to see it finally come to fruition, and the way it came to fruition was sexy as all hell and fitting for their relationship.
Last but not least, WAY TO ABSOLUTELY DAMAGE YOUR READERS WITH THE AELIN/ROWAN STUFF, SARAH. It was so great and romantic and freaking hot but also adorable and my heart just cracked when it was confirmed that they were mates and that they got SECRETLY MARRIED AND WHAT AELIN HAD PLANNED BECAUSE SHE'S A SNEAKY GENIUS. OTP status gained, OTP BROKEN UP AGAINST THEIR OWN WILL.
DAMN YOU, MAEVE! (She needs to DIE a HORRIBLE FIERY DEATH)
All in all, this book was fantastic. It dragged me in and had me both grinning with happiness and crying tears of hopelessness on public transportation (yeah, it was as awkward as it sounds).
With that ending, I CANNOT WAIT to see what happens. I know they'll get Aelin away from Maeve, because Rowan and the cadre (ex cadre now, AND THEY'RE COMING FOR YOU, MAEVE) are sure to succeed in getting her back. HOWEVER, I think the end game, at this point, could be up in the air. It feels hopeless, and that Aelin is sure to die, but I think there are still options out there and I think that with all the twists and unexpected events/Aelin's sneaky plots that we've come to expect, I just have a feeling. Right now I feel heartbroken, but I remain hopeful that things will turn out acceptable, if not the exact way I want them to.
Rating: ALL THE STARS. (Ok, ok. 5 really big stars)