Title: Kingdom of Ash
Release Date: 23rd October 2018
(This review is spoiler free, however, may contain spoilers for previous books)
Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…
With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.
And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.
6 Years. 7 Books. 4 Novellas. 589 Chapters. 4,793 Pages.
Many wonderful characters. Countless tears.
The finale for the best selling ‘Throne of Glass‘ series came in at a massive 992 pages, and each one was overflowing with action packed adventure. Not one moment of this book was dull as it threw us right into the depths of the story that was now taking place months after we left off at the end of ‘Empire of Storms‘. Like all the previous books in the series, the book is written in multiple POV’s, the main ones being Aelin, Chaol, Dorian, Manon, Rowan, Elide, Lorcan, Aedion and Lysandra’s (That’s a lot of characters). I personally found Aedion and Lysandra’s POV’s to be the less entertaining of the bunch until halfway through this behemoth book.
As ‘Tower of Dawn‘ was the 6th book in the series and solely focused on Chaol Westfall, it’s been a hot minute since we’ve seen what these characters have been up to, and when reading, I really felt like Maas took the time to scatter reminders throughout the chapters, just to refresh our brains on why characters were feeling a certain way, or why they needed to achieve certain goals. She did this brilliantly alongside filling us in on the character’s whereabouts and tasks as the prepared for the inevitable final battle ahead.
A previous issue I had with Maas’ books were that some relationships and/or events felt incredibly forced and appeared out of thin air with no decent amount of foreshadowing that could have supported them. It’s always a worry that the author is going to rush things in the final book, or not do the finale justice as they try to make everything they want happen in the last instalment of their series. That worry was very real this time around too. I’d seen it in previous books in this series and I was worried it would happen again.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that everything in this book flowed realistically. Nothing was forced, no spontaneous relationships emerged from nowhere. Everything had a reason and linked to another part of the book, or another task that a different character was pursuing. Ultimately, this lead to characters meeting in unexpected, but again, realistic manners. I believe that all these little things really highlighted how much time Maas has probably taken make sure that everything in this book is pristine perfect and that there were no loose ends.
Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom…
One of the best aspects of this book, in my personal opinion, was the characters and the character development. We all have characters that we don’t particularly enjoy or like, and I definitely had a few in this series that I didn’t favour. But, the character development throughout this book was so brilliantly executed, I genuinely closed the book, loving every character. Every. Single. One. Even Maeve, she was a great villain! Maas also didn’t hesitate to reintroduce some older characters from the series that we loved and it was such a wonderful surprise.
It was interesting to see how Aelin was dealing with being Maeve’s prisoner in the iron coffin, and how the torture she’s put through helps her see the importance of what she has to do, what she must do to save her Kingdom and the rest of Erilea. Aelin ruled this book and showed that you can achieve anything if you stick to your own beliefs, your own plans, no matter how crazy they may sound. Her banter along with the rest of the Cadre was thoroughly enjoyable too.
Through, the shocker for myself, was who ended up being my favourite character in this book. Dorian Havilliard. He was a character that I didn’t enjoy that much throughout the first four books of the series. However, in ‘Kingdom of Ash‘, he completely earns his title as King of Adarlan from the risky tasks he sets out to do and the goals he reaches just by pushing himself to his very limits. He was also god damn hilarious and as expected his and Manon’s POV’s were never boring. Their banter was priceless and the growing fondness between them really pulled at my heart strings. They are without a doubt, my favourite couple to come out of this series.
She would live. She would live, and they could all go to hell.
It’s no secret that Maas’ world building has always been as breathtaking as the story itself. Her descriptive prose never fails to paint the most vivid of images, of landscapes and characters in our heads as we read. Unsurprisingly, there was no change here. I would go as far to say that her world building has improved since her latest works. Maas’ wonderful writing helps us envision every single part of this book, from inside the iron coffin, from the back of a Wyvern, and from the battlefield itself.
And, we finally get to see Orynth. It’s no shock that some characters find themselves here at the beginning of the book, battling to defend it’s walls. We’ve been told throughout all the other books of Terrasen. We briefly visited it in ‘Empire of Storms‘ but, we’d never truly been in the heart of Terrasen, in Orynth, Aelin’s home. And now we get to discover it in the final book of the series, which again, really tugs at those heart strings. Because, not only has it been Aelin’s journey to get to see Orynth again, it’s been ours too.
The final chapters are really what reduced me to tears. It hit me like a brick wall that this story was coming to an end and Maas executed that bittersweet ending perfectly. The ending was a full spectrum of emotions for me, and I’m sure it will be for everyone else. The conclusion of a journey, the betrayals, the deaths, page 800 (Yes, page 800, you’ll see), and the love and relationships that are formed in this book alone truly will have you exhausted by the time you reach the very last page. The emotions and exhaustion I felt after closing this book solidified my decision. ‘Kingdom of Ash‘ is now my favourite book in the series.
I truly couldn’t imagine this series ending in any other way, Maas completely delivered on what she promised us and all I can say is, that through all the ups and downs I’ve experienced with this series, I’m going to miss this story and these characters so damn much. They have been part of my life since the very day ‘Throne of Glass‘ was published in August 2012 and I truly don’t know if anything will ever fill a space in my heart like this story and these characters do. ‘Throne of Glass‘ was also the first book I ever read in one sitting and was the book that introduced me to YA fantasy.
Thank you so much to Sarah J Maas for sharing this series with us. It’s been a pleasure to read!
Are you reading ‘Kingdom of Ash’ yet?
Who is your favourite character from the series?
(No spoilers in the comments, please!)
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