First Lines: He had been hunting for her since the moment she was taken from him.
Alright, y’all, I finally did it. This has been sitting on my shelf since August after months of putting it off prior to that. Why did I wait so long? Partly because I feared what would happen, partly because it had been 3 years since the last time I read about Aelin. (I read Tower of Dawn like a year or two ago, but Aelin wasn’t in that book.) I feared it had been too long since I’d followed her story.
*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead. Dude, it’s the final book in the series. Proceed at your own risk.*
Aelin has vowed to protect her people at all costs–and what a terrible cost it’s been. Locked away in an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin will have to rely on her strength to get through the torture Maeve has in mind. Because if Maeve learns anything at all that Aelin is hiding, it could mean the end of everything she loves. But each day is getting harder and harder to withstand. With Aelin captured, her friends are scattered across the lands, desperate to fight back in whatever way they can. Bonds will grow deeper, some friendships will be tested. And some will not make it.
Before anyone starts berating me for my rating, I just want to say that a lot of my issues with this book simply stem from the fact that it’s been so long since I read the previous books that I struggled to remember what happened. But I also had a few other minor issues.
But first, what was good. Obviously, as the last book in a series, there’s a lot that still had to happen. The last time we saw Aelin (two books ago), she was in some Pretty Serious Trouble, to put it mildly. So I was absolutely looking forward to seeing how that played out and I was pretty satisfied with that.
I also adore these characters. I reread my previous reviews before reading this and in most of the reviews, I had specific characters that I adored and wanted to see more of as time went on. First Chaol. Then Aelin and Rowan. Then Aedion. Then Elide and Lorcan. Then back to Chaol and Yrene. I mean, there isn’t a terribly written character anywhere in this series. One way or another, you come to love most of them. And that’s pretty awesome. (Until it isn’t. I mean, this is the last book in a series. Things happen…)
And now we start getting into what was a little dicey for me.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s been so long since I read the other books (Empire of Storms was November 2016!) that I truly had a hard time remembering things. I relied heavily on Google during the early chapters to remember who some of the characters were. But the great thing about Maas’s writing is that once I saw what happened to those characters in previous books, I actually usually had a pretty vivid picture of something they did in my head.
Also, I’m still not over the fact that there are so many references to things that happened in Assassin’s Blade and it isn’t quite part of the series. At this point, I gave up on ever reading that and just dealt with not knowing who Captain Rolfe was beyond Empire of Storms and a few other characters.
But perhaps one of my strongest beefs with this story is the same issue I tend to have with a lot of final books in series: the Final Battle. I mean, look, I get it. We’ve been building up to a Standoff for the last six tomes in this series. We’ve got to have something epic to end on. But with this book being a monster 980 pages, I felt like 75% of this book was engaged in some sort of battle. And while that was fun and exciting in the beginning, it was starting to get a little old by page 600.
It didn’t exactly help matters that the story was told from about 12 different people’s perspectives. Yes, I wanted to see what they all had to say. I’m not exactly bemoaning the narrators. But it seemed a lot of the time like 6 of the characters were fighting all the time and we’d get a short reprieve with 1-2 of the others for a time, then we were back in the thick of it. And as dark as this story gets, it was hard to be stuck in those dark emotions for long enough to make any serious progress on the book.
In the end, the ending was pretty satisfying though.
Look, we all know Maas is amazing. I’m certainly not discrediting that. I just felt this was not one of her better books. And I discovered a few years ago that I adored A Court of Thorns and Roses series more than this one, so I could be a little biased in that regard.