Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Review: Heir of Fire - Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire
Sarah J. Maas 
Series: Throne of Glass, #3
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Thanks to Bloomsbury USA Childrens for the ARC I received at Book Expo America!

I started reading this book in August. As many projects, assignments, and shows piled up, this book sat on my shelf looking sad and unloved, only occasionally being picked up for maybe a few chapters a month. Once the end of the semester came around, I was finally able to pick up this book. Let me tell you something about this book - every moment that I waited to finish this book was worth it because it was such a satisfying and fantastic book.

For those of you who have not read Throne of Glass yet, YOU NEED TO GO READ IT. YOU ARE MISSING OUT. If you have read Throne of Glass but not Crown of Midnight, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GO DO IT. Now, if you've read Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, you are prepared to read what I write below (as it contains some spoilers for Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight).  I will not judge you as harshly for not having read Heir of Fire because surely you will after I tell you of its gloriousness.

**Note: I was completely serious about there being spoilers ahead for Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight - read at your own risk!**

Knowing that Celaena was no longer going to be in Rifthold with the other characters I had grown to love, I didn't entirely know what to expect in terms of who we would still hear about. I was pleasantly surprised to read all of my favorite character's stories throughout Heir of Fire despite the fact that they were over seas from Celaena. The way Sarah J. Maas weaves all of these characters' stories together is truly magical in itself. Through the close third person point of view that we've had throughout the series, the characters continue to grow and come to life, especially some of the newer characters.

I absolutely LOVED some of the new characters, especially Rowan and Manon! I won't give too much away about them, but they are really great.

Manon, who was featured in my Stuffed Animal Saturday post a while back, is a character who I just could not get enough of throughout Heir of Fire. She's completely different from any of the characters we've met so far while still having somethings that remind me of Celaena. All in all, I'm glad to see another strong female character in this series after losing one in Crown of Midnight.

Rowan is also great throughout the book. I loved seeing the way he interacted with Celaena and helped her grow into herself. Rowan proved to be a great companion for Celaena and I can't wait to see what the next book holds for him.

Throughout the entire book, we learn a lot more about Celaena's past, but also the past of her world as a whole. Sarah J. Maas built this incredible mythology within this incredible world and it is truly incredible. Did I mention that it's incredible?

Overall, I am so happy that I finally finished Heir of Fire and I kind of feel as though I disrespected this glorious book by not reading it in a timely manner. But what a book to finish as my first book read since August! I have the utmost respect for this series as a whole - it just keeps getting better and better - and I cannot wait for the next book to come out in September (so long, sob)! At least A Court of Thorn and Roses will release in May to hold me over! Oh, and in case you couldn't tell, I highly recommend this series and this book. It gave me all the feels.

- Kiersten

Marlon's Review *nearly spoiler free*
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

So unlike Kiersten I bought the hell out of this book, somehow circumventing the popularity of the first and second and totally not reading them until a couple of months ago. But I'm so glad for that, I would probably have died waiting to read the sequel to Throne of Glass, and then again to Crown of Midnight, and I'm dying now to read the fourth book.

For me, the strongest aspect of this book is Maas's unravelling, both of the history and mythology of the world of Erilia and of the specific character developments that drive the heart of his novel.

The first and second books were highly linear, and understandably so: there was a lot to introduce the reader to in terms of mythos and significantly more physical action going on. Therefore, the unravelling was not as significant or abundant in the past novels, which were driven in my opinion more by plot and the gorgeous, and often very sharp language that Maas has. Heir of Fire on the other hand, leaves a lot of space for contemplation, consideration, and therefore complex characterization.

The novel begins with Celaena mulling about in a Wendlyn town,  starved and depressed. This is one of the central, if not the central, conflicts in this book. In this section of the novel, she is shown to be almost completely ruined by the events of Crown of Midnight. So what the hell is she going to do about it? What will happen to her? What does she want now? How does overwhelming sadness affect a person who has responsibilities well beyond their reach that they are committed to?

Far from being a meditation on this soul-searching arc, however, there exists the contrast that is given with the other main characters. Dorian's budding romance and frigging awesome new powers and Chaol's identity crisis and his actions bring a lot to the table to absorb. The novel has a scope somewhere between Game of Thrones and The Mortal Instruments in terms of the level of character drama versus the world around them, by which I mean in GoT there's a lot of focus on the overarcing political conflicts, and in TMI there is more focus on the individual's experience. With the triple narration, there is a balance struck between these two ways of portraying a world and I really really love this particular balance.

Like Kiersten I also loved the new characters, Aedion, Manon, and Rowan. I love love loved how each of these characters helped fulfill some aspect of characterization in our main cast. For example, the combination of Rowan's gruff, immortal solidity with a tiny tiny core of sensitivity coupled with Celaena's apathy, callousness, and anger, make for a volatile thing.

"Training was bad that day." is probably used more than the average person says "like" or "uhm".

But this is good! I loved their banter, the way they brought out the worst in each other, and the partnership they built from this.

Similarly, Aedion brought out the dissent and critical side of Chaol that I have waited two books for, and Dorian seems to be in a coming of age novel the way he acts around Manon and I frigging eat up every second of it.

This book is just really good. The humor is strong, the narrative is expertly done, the plot does not feel rushed and never drags, the mythology is beautiful, the secrets are incredible, and the owls are hot. Of course I would have liked to see some more ethnic/sexual/etc representation but I'm rarely satisfied with representation these days to the point where I'm happy that at least there were those two gay faeries and the realistic female characters and the realistic display of loss. I'll take that.

Anyway, this is getting too long, just like this excessively long book. SO GO BUY THIS ISH. READ IT. IT'S VERY GOOD. 

What series do you think everyone should be reading?
Let us know in the comments!

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