book review, fantasy, young adult

#MaasMondays: Week 4 – Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

We’re already on our third week of book discussions in the World of Sarah J. Maas! And as it is April 3rd today, that means in less than one month (May 2nd) we will have ACOWAR in our hands. And there will be much rejoicing, and love, and possibly the need for a box of tissues to wipe away tears.

This week’s discussion / fangirling is on Heir of Fire which is my favorite (so far) of the Throne of Glass series. As in previous weeks, note that if you haven’t read the books, there will likely be spoilers. Disclaimer over.

Book blurb:

20613470Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Times best-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.

My quick summary:

Celaena gets off a boat, doesn’t want to kill the people she is sent to kill, decides it is preferable to be drunk, dirty and miserable as her heart aches over Nehemia’s death and the ending of her relationship with Chaol. Enter Rowan Whitethorn, who is sent to find Celaena by her aunt – Queen Maeve. Rowan is tasked with training her to use her magic, which is difficult because she seriously needs therapy about her whole life. They hate each other most of the time, but Celaena is grateful for the training and the distraction. There are horrible monsters about, and everything starts to connect to the greater scheme of the books. Celaena becomes Aelin, reclaiming her true identity. She also saves a bunch of people and kicks a lot of ass, overcomes her fears, and has magic and empowerment back in her life. The book ends with her heading back to Adarlan with a plan, which will be awkward because somewhere between here and there she will lose her magic all over again because there is no magic in Erilea.

On a side note, there are alternating chapters with the Witches, and you may be tempted to skip them and get back to the main story line. Don’t skip the Witches because they become super important in Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms. Manon turned out to be one of my favorite characters, as she did for many other fans of the series.

The couple of this book? Well, I could say it is Rowan and Celaena, but they pretty much hate each other and only work together because they have to up until a certain point in the book. All things indicate that they actually do care about each other and that there is a deep bond at work here, but it isn’t really revealed until near the end. And even still, they aren’t together, not yet.

So for the purposes of this post, I will say that the true couple of this book is Manon and her wyvern Abraxos. Manon Blackbeak is an Ironteeth witch who wears a red cape… the cape is a trophy she took from her first kill of a Crochan witch. She is described frequently as the most beautiful thing ever (in short). Shining silver hair, fierce features, gold-flecked eyes and warrior strength. What’s not to love? Well, she is a killer. But she also starts to reveal a soft spot. When picking out wyverns (to help fight in the King’s forces), Manon selects a bait wyvern that was never intended for battle. They bond immediately, and she does everything she can to strengthen him on her way to becoming Wing Leader. Abraxos is small but cunning, unendingly loyal, and he loves flowers. So for all that they did for each other, this love is thee love of the book in my opinion.

The best moments of Heir of Fire for me?

  • Celaena drunk.
  • Rowan strutting in to town.
  • All of the Rowan training scenes.
  • All of the Manon/Abraxos training scenes.
  • Manon and the Thirteen. Period.
  • Celaena shifting into Fae form.
  • Celaena learning to use her fire magic.
  • The kitty cat friend.
  • Hunting the skinwalkers.
  • Everything between Rowan and Celaena.
  • The burnout.
  • The tattoos.
  • The uprising in Adarlan – the concert, the conductor.
  • Celaena becoming Aelin.
  • Aelin standing up to Maeve and claiming Rowan.
  • Everything.

EVERYTHING. I love everything in this book. I love that Aelin is finally who she should have been all along. She has been through so much in losing her family, and even before she lost them… knowing that she couldn’t control her magic properly was a source of shame and it was considered something that should be smothered.

The way that Celaena changes to Aelin over so many moments…

“Because I am lost,” she whispered onto the earth. “And I do not know the way.”

“Because she is dead!” She screamed the last word so loudly it burned in her throat. “Because she is dead, and I am left with my worthless life!”

“Gods, he was brilliant. Cunning and wicked and brilliant. Even when he beat the hell out of her. Every. Damn. Day.”

“I claim you, Rowan Whitethorn. I don’t care what you say and how much you protest. I claim you as my friend.”

“Their hands clasped between them, he whispered into her ear, “I claim you, too, Aelin Galathynius.”

“To whatever end.”

“She knew the gold in her eyes had shifted to flame, because when she looked to Maeve, the queen’s face had gone bone-white. And then Celaena set the world on fire.”

“She lifted her face to the stars. She was Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, heir of two mighty bloodlines, protector of a once-glorious people, and Queen of Terrasen. She was Aelin Ashryver Galathynius—and she would not be afraid.”

To me Heir of Fire is all about Aelin and self-acceptance. She was destroyed emotionally at the end of Crown of Midnight and had lost everything for the third time in her life. It was time she had room to grow, focus and find a little bit of truth.

But aside from Aelin, Dorian is also going through a lot of rebuilding and self-searching. I won’t talk about Sorscha, but that relationship is a major catalyst for Dorian in moving forward. Chaol is not my favorite in this book. Obviously I love Manon. And lastly, Aedion. Aedion is my favorite along with Rowan as far as the men are concerned. (Sorry, Sam.)

What did you like in Heir of Fire? How would you rank it in the rest of the ToG series?

Next week we are on to Queen of Shadows, which I will definitely need to re-read as it blurs for me from QoS to EoS. (I read them back to back, so gotta separate them back out in my head!) Until then…

 

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