Monday, August 18, 2014

Set the World on Fire

"...she would not be afraid."
--Sarah Maas, Heir of Fire


Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 565
Publication Date: September 2nd, 2014
Source: ARC provided by publisher and author and Book Rock Betty in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: The Assassin's Blade & Throne of Glass & Crown of Midnight
Goodreads Description

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?

Uh...I can't do a breakdown for this review. It will chop up the amazing vibe I've got going with this book. Where do I even begin? No words will be able to be able to convey how much I loved this freakin' book. If I had to pick my favorite thing it is this: the cadence. The pacing and flow of this story is absolutely amazing. I loved the first two books to pieces and I loved the sense of urgency they brought, but this book's pace was definitely different and I loved it for this reason. We slow down. We get so much complex character development that I just fell in love with ebb and flow of the story. We get so much more of characters we already know and love, we meet new characters to root for, and we get even more storylines and continuation of the fight against the tyranny of Adarlan.

*MILD SPOILERS FROM THE PREVIOUS BOOKS--BEWARE IF YOU HAVE NOT READ**

Celaena is broken. Broken doesn't even begin to describe the emotional fragility this young woman is going through. She is a phoenix that has been reduced to ashes and is struggling with an internal debate whether or not to rise from them. Her strength of character never ceases to amaze me and we get to know her so much better if you can believe it. We get flashbacks (WHICH I LOVED) and we get more pieces to the puzzle of what happened to her 10 years ago. That's all I can say. But I will continue to be Team Celaena because this bitch is fierce and she is who I want having my back in this world, her world, or the next.

The new characters we meet are highly complex and fleshed out having only gotten to know them in this book. No spoilers but I will just say that Sarah J Maas continues to bring the delicious boys, the heart-stopping swoon, and moments that will make your breath catch. The men of the Fae are something to write home about and I'm not about to jump ship but...let's just say there's something to be said about these new characters. Rowan is just an "undiluted warrior" who has a big piece of my heart. His journey with Celaena is absolutely beautiful in so many ways. They need each other for so many different reasons. She needs him in order to even begin to start accepting who she is as a Fae and he needs her in order to get a little bit of his humanity back. Rowan is pretty much a Type Kelly kind of book boyfriend. If the word warrior didn't do it for me the fact that he is a broken man searching for salvation definitely did. He is swoon worthy to the max. Aideon is a soldier from Terrasen and cousin to Aelin. His loyalty and work to help bring back the people of Terrasen is uh-may-zing. The fact that he also works with Chaol and makes friends is a major chunk of points in his column.

SPEAKING OF CHAOL...Oh, Chaol. I love you. You are legit one of my most FAVORITE book boyfriends ever (yes, Alexa, I know you have dibs, just stay away from Z and we'll be fine) but you need to start manning up bro. Chaol is obviously also very upset with the loss of Celaena. It took him awhile to get back to that fierce Chaol I know and love but he did. His journey to stepping up and deciding what he was fighting for was realistic. While I was frustrated at points because I just wanted him to start kicking asses and taking names, that is not realistic in this world. I loved his internal struggle to choose what was right and what he wanted to fight for.

Dorian is a character that really surprised me in this installment. He is such a different person from the first book and his growth was exponential. Each book he gets better and better. I cannot tell you enough how much I loved reading him coming into his own. He starts to see the bigger picture of Adarlan and his father's endgame. He fights. He fights for what he wants. He fights for the good of his country. And he might even fight for love. Dorian is on his way to becoming the man he is meant to be. Inspiring is just the beginning of all the amazing adjectives I could use to describe him.

The fight for hope, a better world, a promise of tomorrow, and the overall sense of good is present throughout this entire series and this book does not disappoint. While it is heartbreaking to read, I really feel like we finally get a true sense of the depth of destruction the people of Terrasen and all the other lands went through because of the King of Adarlan. I knew it happened, obviously, but this book really showed me how deep the depravity of the king goes. Evil doesn't begin to cover it. My heart broke when reading certain scenes and the destruction involved...but we also have hope. There are two scenes in particular I can think of that I was just crying my eyes out from how tragically beautiful the moment was. People are starting to hope...and hope can be a dangerous thing...that's all I'll say about that.

Words really cannot do justice to what an amazing experience it was reading this book. This entire series is overflowing with intricacies of plot, complex human emotion, and the fire we have inside us all to make the world a better place. The subtle eloquence that is the writing of Sarah J. Maas continues to astound me in its ability to have my heart actually aching for the characters in this story and the world that surrounds them. I am not afraid to say this but while I was reading this book I couldn't help but make comparisons to Harry Potter because of how epic this story feels. This story feels bigger than the individual characters. This story is encompasses an entire world's fight for survival. While our main characters are obviously extremely important to the telling of the story, I feel like these books are about the greater good and how these characters play an important role in making this world better. Gah! It is seriously just SO inspiring. That is how much I love these books and believe in its message. This series is on the fast track to becoming the next Harry Potter phenomenon with its level of epic storytelling and underlying themes.

I cannot get over the overwhelming emotion I got while reading. The characters are so well-written that I feel a connection with all of them. And this world?! This world is built so well and because you love the characters so much, you are dying for this world to succeed and these characters to be okay. There are so many moments of love and beauty and understanding and forgiveness. Forgiveness stuck out as a huge theme to me. Celaena working through the hardest type of forgiveness...forgiving herself. Her journey trying to get back from rock bottom is not undergone lightly. It is a daily battle to try and find a reason that she is worthy. Chaol and Dorian are going through different struggles and I loved reading about them trying to work it out. They may or may not succeed but the effort is there and that's all you need to start. I cannot wait to see where this story goes. Infinite possibilities...



VIP
An AMAZING continuation of this series. I f'ing loves these books something fierce and I cannot...CANNOT wait until the next book and this one isn't even out yet. The characters, the world, the story, the writing, the hope...I love love love it all. 

4 comments:

  1. Your review is so so perfect, Kelly! I felt the same way about this book. The hope. That was what got me. I just teared up and literally got goosebumps reading during some parts for that small speck of hope that shown through. All the new characters were amazing. Aedion, Rowan, Manon. All awesome. I love how protective Aedion is and how he's kind of like that big brother figure. And Rowan is just awesome. He needs to find his own romantic interest in the next book I think. Because obviously I'm still riding the Chaol/Celaena ship. But Rowan definitely deserves to find someone. Especially after everything he's gone through. :(

    This book was just incredible. I love Sarah J. Maas so much and I am so in love with this series. I would just reread it over and over again if I had the time. I'll probably just make the time actually. Let's be honest. This series deserves to be read over and over again.

    Beautiful review!

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  2. I love this review because this book made me this emotional and I just love it to pieces and you do it justice. I love the comparison between Celaena and a phoenix - that is a PERFECT description. And Rowan stole a piece of my heart too. I agree that this book was all about the characters and I'm not sure it will be perfect for everyone but I loved it. And that ending was a killer.

    The front of the line isn't going to be so easy to get again next year at BEA ;)

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  3. I love your review!!! I just finished it this morning and I just.. I just love these characters SO much. I also found myself crying in various scenes and it totally caught me off guard. Sarah just writes so beautifully and writes these amazing relationships between the characters and GAH. love.

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  4. I legitimately got goosebumps reading your review, K! You've perfectly captured how I felt while I was reading the book and after reading the book, AND you've also made me want to reread it even more than I already did. I just fell head over heels in love with everything Sarah Maas put in this novel - from the new characters, to the development & growth of old ones, to the incredible story that just keeps on getting bigger and bigger. She is fucking amazing at what she does, and I love it and cannot wait for more.

    PS - I love that you acknowledge my rightful dibs on a certain Captain of the Guard <3

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