Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Spoiler Discussion: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

This post is for anyone who has already read Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas and wants to discuss it.  SPOILER ALERT:  DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK.
This is one of those books where I find it impossible to review it without spoiling it so I thought I would just have a discussion about it instead.  First of all, let me just say that I did love the book, it was amazing.  Epic, in fact.  The plot was interesting, the pacing felt right, and I absolutely could not put it down.  I also loved the bromances between Aeidon and Rowan and Dorian and Chaol.  When Dorian and Chaol are both crying?  LOVE THEM.  I also thought the female friendships were well done and I don't think we see enough of them.  Loved Aelin and Lysandra as friends  and Manon and Asterin as friends.  I also loved the character growth of Manon and the fact that Lysandra was such a complex character and how great a friend she turns out to be.

Now here's what I didn't like.  What happened between Chaol and Celeana/Aelin.  I reread all three books before reading this one and it just doesn't make sense to me.  In Crown of Midnight, Celeana/Aelin tells Chaol that he is home and that she will always choose him.  In Heir of Fire, she never seems to feel anything but platonic feelings for Rowan.  Then it all just changes in Queen of Shadows.  It felt forced to me.  Like the author just fell in love with Rowan and wanted Celeana/Aelin to fall in love with him too.  And then makes Chaol also seem not to care about her so we wouldn't love him as much either (although I still do).  Instead, he just seems resigned to her not loving him or being with him anymore. Honestly, as soon as Chaol was seen with Nesryn in the very beginning of the book and we find out they had a previous relationship, I knew that was it for him and Aelin. And why is Chaol the bad guy because he doesn't instantly accept the fact that she's Fae and is the queen, etc. Uh, let him have time to adapt, ok? Just so frustrating. And then he's left paralyzed! 

I have nothing against Rowan, to be honest. In fact, I love his character. But why why why can't authors ever have a great platonic male/female relationship? I was so hoping Maas would keep their relationship platonic. It could have been amazing. And how is it going to work with him? He's hundreds of years old and will live forever. Um…does that mean that the author will somehow make Aelin like that? If that happens, how typical and ridiculous.

And the fact that Aelin moved on so quickly (and seemingly effortlessly) from Chaol really cheapened her relationship with Chaol, like it was just a silly girl thing or something. It's not like years passed or something. I didn't like how that was done. I wish Maas had had her and Chaol not necessarily get back together right away, but work through their problems. It could have taken a couple of books. How great would that have been? Have tension, fighting, etc. But NO. Instead she has to fall in love with the Fae prince. After he was HORRIBLE to her for awhile in Heir of Fire.

I tried not to get too upset about this. Just because the main character doesn't end up with the guy I like shouldn't mean that I hate the book. So it's not about that, it's about the WAY it happened. She still loves Sam and has wonderful feelings about him (which she should, I LOVE SAM). Why is she so unfeeling and cold about Chaol? And as much as the author keeps making the point that Celeana and Aelin are different people, THEY AREN'T. She's known she was Aelin the whole time. She's still the same person. I just feel like the author was trying to make Chaol the bad guy. I mean, what happened to the bromance between Aedion and Chaol that was starting in Heir of Fire? Went completely away.

And WHY DIDN'T CELEANA/AELIN KILL AROBYNN????? That is what we all wanted to see, right?  So anticlimactic.

Aelin and Chaol having their relationship almost destroyed and then fighting their way back through multiple books would have been much more unique. And having her and Rowan have a strong, loving, PLATONIC relationship would have been a breath of fresh air. Maas just joins all of the other writers who can't seem to write strong female/male relationships and can't seem to resist having every guy fall in love with the main character.

Now you may say, Aelin and Dorian have a platonic relationship. Yeah, NOW they do. But they didn't before. And rereading Throne of Glass made me think about how easily she turned off her feelings for Dorian. They were actually getting close and she definitely had romantic feelings for him but then it was like, I'm the champion, we're over. And she never looked back. Poor Dorian! Maybe given that I should have realized how easy it would be for her to turn her back on Chaol. When the going gets tough, she finds another guy.

So I did end up giving the book 4 stars (5 stars at first but then the more I thought about it the more I realized I wasn't happy…not just with the result but with the way it all happened). Certain aspects of it were disappointing, to say the least.

What did you think????

Posted by:  Pam


  1. OMG I just wrote a whole response and it didn't post so here is attempt number two - I feel very similarly to how you feel. I LOVE this book - it might actually be my favorite - I am just OBSESSED with these characters and these friendships and this story - but I am upset about what happened between Chaol and Aelin and I think i'd be even more upset if I read the books back to back. I think Sarah could have made Rowan the love interest without destroying Chaol in the process - it reminds me of what Tehereh Mafi did to Adam in the Shatter Me series which I was also not cool with. So that's my biggest complaint. I didn't mind that Lysandra killed Arobynn - I think she had a right to also - but I wanted him to suffer more. But that is just me being awful. Now fingers crossed that this comment posts.

    1. Sorry, I hate when that happens! Contact me if you want to chat more about it.

      YES, it's just what Mafi did to Adam, although in that case it was even worse because she made out Adam to be HORRIBLE and suddenly, everything we thought we knew about Warner was wrong, he was actually a good guy. Um, what??? Don't even get me started on that. I actually don't think Chaol was destroyed, but he surely wasn't acting like himself. And what was ridiculous is that it was only over the course of a few months. If Aelin (whatever her name is) was gone for YEARS, I could see it. Fickle fickle girl, is all I have to say. ~Pam

  2. WOOP!!! Happy to be able to find this and read it and DISCUSS!!!

    I KNOW! The Rowan and Aelin romance just felt like it went from 0 to 100 in this. They were FRIENDS in Heir of Fire. Then all of a sudden can't keep their hands off each other. I was not a fan, I found their romance super creepy and it definitely felt forced. It kind of ruined Rowan for me too. And made me really dislike Aelin.

    I wish she had got to kill Arobynn as well! I had been waiting so long for that. GAH!!! ANNOYING AS HELL!!!


    1. Yes, their romance is super creepy, I cannot get behind it. I'll still read the rest of the series and I'm sure I'll enjoy it and it will be entertaining and all, but I know I won't LOVE it. And won't reread. Oh well! So many people love Aelin and Rowan together, but to me he was more like a big brother to her and then suddenly they're all over each other…ewww. ~Pam

  3. I couldn't stand it reading through Queen of Shadows, so I checked the spoilers, found out Aelin doesn't end up with Chaol, and quit reading. Done with the series. I agree that a male/female platonic relationship for once would have been refreshing, and I enjoyed Manon's character. I just don't want to slog through something that is starting to feel predictable and forced...SIGH

    1. I had a feeling that she wouldn't end up with Chaol and I probably should have just stopped reading the series, but it's so hard for me to do that! Happy to find I'm not the only one who feels this way, there are so many Aelin/Rowan fans out there! ~Pam