Sunday, November 16, 2014

Heir of Fire, By Sarah J. Maas - Review

From Goodreads:
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?

This series is intriguing to me, it sways back and forth a little between being powerful and being a bit silly at times, and I think it has a lot to do with the scope of it. Maas has said recently that it was sold as a six parter, which is awesome, but does mean there are lots of middling parts where things are being set up and developed. To me this is where things can get a bit silly sometimes. Rowan, for instance, is a perfectly good character with a strong reason for being included, but all the bits where Celaena contemplates his body or ponders their strange intimacy (they've seen each other pretty much buck naked but aren't sexually attracted to each other) are both unnecessary and a bit weird. It's an element I feel wouldn't be there if their "training" storyline wasn't quite so long. It was a similar trap I felt Maas fell into a bit with the first book with the somewhat pointless love triangle, and the rather self defeating "romantic" moments that often ended up nulling out some of Celaena's so-called awesome skills (remember how many times both Dorian and Chaol were able to sneak up on her?).  I think this series would be considerably stronger if attempts weren't regularly being made to shack Celaena up with someone.

However, outside of the Rowan weirdness, this was a great book. Maas branches out into multiple POV's, including an unexpected bad guy, making  a slower growing pains book, much more page turning then it might otherwise have been.

Chaol and Dorian are perhaps the biggest surprise for me.  I didn't think following them in the wake of Celaena's abrupt departure would be overly interesting, and at first it was not, but their path is the truly startling one, and where all the shocks at the ending were felt the strongest for me.

Although I wasn't left as much on the edge of my seat as last time, I am looking forward to part four with enthusiasm. It makes my book saturated heart happy to see some epic fantasy, with a long reaching storyline take a foothold in YA.  May it's success lead to more.

Heir of Fire, by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury, Sept 2, 2014


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