Friday, September 5, 2014

Book Review: Heir of Fire

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. 
While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?  Quoted from Goodreads


I'll be honest, when I started this series, I wasn't too impressed.  I'd heard so much about the first book, how amazing it was, how much I would love it, that really nothing could live up to the hype, and it sort of didn't.  It was a good book, but I never fell in love with it.  So when the second book came out, I didn't rush right out to read it, but I knew I would get to it some day, and I did.  And I loved it.  It was everything I wanted the series to be and more.  Maybe it was my lowered expectations or (and this is my personal opinion) it was just better and more complex, full of twists I didn't see coming.  So I tried to keep my expectations lower for this third one so it could possibly be as amazing as the second one, and it absolutely was.  I am totally and completely a huge fan of this series.  It's complex and amazing and everything I could have wished for and more.

Celaena grows so much in this book.  I love the person she is by the end, but it takes her a long time to get there.  She really grows up.  She's been so broken by the deaths of so many people she loved, she really has to work through all those emotional scars, and it's a fantastic journey.  We get a lot of new characters this book, and one of the best has to be Rowan.  He's basically the male version of Celaena plus a few hundred years, and he is awesome.  Sure, there were moments when I disliked him.  But then, there are moments (especially in the first book) when I disliked Celaena, and a lot of times for similar reasons.  Basically he is kick-butt awesome with his own set of scars to rival Celaena's and I adore how their friendship grows. 

In this third book, we finally get to leave the castle, so you see and experience so much more of the world Sarah J. Mass has created.  The world building is awesome.  Part of it is a few of those new characters.  We get Manon Blackbeak, a witch (like Baba Yellowlegs), and I love these witches.  They are delightfully evil, and yet you can't help cheering for Manon, dark as she is, and her own journey. Then there's Mab and the Fae.  The author takes so many similar elements and then twists them, making them her own, complex, and completely unique to this world, that I love it. 

Other new characters, we get the absolutely delightful Aedion Ashryver, who I thought I would hate at first, but has become one of my favorite characters in the series, and I will be so sad if he dies later (no one is safe in this series. NO ONE). Through him, (and Chaol and a little bit Dorian) we learn more about what the King did ten years before.  It's fascinating watching them solve one of the mysteries that ripped apart their world.

As for Dorian and Chaol, I have mixed feelings.  I feel like both of them are growing up, but I hate their relationship in this book.  Mostly, I'll admit, I'm frustrated with Chaol.  I feel like Dorian and Celaena grow up a lot (though they're not perfect) but it takes Chaol a little longer  to get where you know he can be.  He's good by the ending . . . mostly.  I won't go into it because he does something I love and absolutely hated him for at the same time, but I like the person he's starting to become.  

Aaaaaaagg, the ending!  It really just about killed me.  You might want to stop reading a few chapters before and then read the rest right before the fourth book because I guarantee it will kill you just a little bit.  It starts to wrap up nicely, and then . . . well you know there are some absolutely, perfect villains that you can't help but hate on multiple levels (the King of Adarlan, anyone?) and the things they do at the end to characters I absolutely love . . . well, death is only the beginning of the bad things that happen.

All in all, this is an amazing addition to an amazing series.  If you want something that's complex, full of action and character growth, world building and history, with characters you love and hate, you need to read this series.  My only stipulation is it isn't done yet (we get 3 more books!) and the ending will leave you dying to know what happens next.  I'm giving it a delightful 4.5 star.  It's wonderful, delightful, and one of those books I want to rush out and make everyone read.

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