First things first, this post is going to be less of a review (totally full of SPOILERS) and more of gushing and fangirling, because I have read this series multiple times and this book is my absolute favorite. This book is totally action packed but also full of emotional moments that make this an amazing read. But everytime I read or listen to this book, all I hope is to see all these amazing scenes on the screen, because this book will make for an even better TV show. I guess it's not a surprise then that the (hopefully) upcoming show is named Queen of Shadows.
Aelin is at her best in this book. She is finally ready to accept her heritage as Queen and kick some ass. But it's a long list to get through before she can go to Terrasen - save Aedion, figure out how to deal with Dorian, free magic and kill the King and boy does she do all of it.... with a BANG!!!!!
The whole sequence of saving Aedion on his execution day is absolutely perfect. The planning, the dramatic backdrop, the impossible rescue, the moment Aelin and Aedion's eyes meet - OH GOD this whole episode gave me chills (happy ones, ofcourse) and was terrifying because I didn't want anything to go wrong. And then the first scene where they finally talk to each other.... I SOBBED A LOT!!!!! Beautiful and poignant and emotional... They are technically not siblings but I think they have one of the best sibling relationships I have ever read.
Aelin and Rowan's reunion and the following banter and angst throughout this book is just HOT!!!! Swoon worthy... I can't wait to see the fireworks that will explode when they finally make love and I really don't mind the wait. They share some amazing moments together and if I start listing them here, my post will be as big as the book. I also loved that Rowan and Aedion got through their initial territorial issues and formed their own bond to protect and serves the ones they love.
The newest addition to my list of favorite characters here is Lysandra. Her history and backstory is heartbreaking, so it was good to see her finally making friends - ones who were ready to risk their lives for her just as much as she did. And she has some of the BESTESTTTT scenes in the book. She is totally badass and I can't even imagine what Aelin and Lysandra will do together from now on. Anyone who takes them on is as good as dead - which is what happened to the King of the Assassins. I didn't think I could hate Arobynn anymore than I already did, but he is truly worse. Though I am glad he is gone, I still think he should have suffered more.
Manon goes through a lot of character development in this book. From being the obedient, disciplined, bloodthirsty witch to one who questions about right and wrong, I never thought I will come to like her. Elide is a very underestimated character but I commend her quiet strength and courage and hope. The whole ending episode in Morath where Kaltain changes the fate of the war completely just blew my mind and I felt bad for misunderstanding her so much. Asterin's backstory is one of the most emotional and heartbreaking moments in the whole series and I weep even thinking about it. It's possibly the single most important moment in changing the character arc of Manon and the Thirteen and I can't wait to see what they do next. Now I have to mention one of the most anticipated scenes I was dying for - Manon and Aelin coming face to face. WOW was that a sight... EXPLOSIVE!!!!! I can't wait to see more of them together and hope they never fight on the opposite side - I don't think my sensitive heart could handle that.
And now coming to my sweet baby Dorian - I wanted to cry every time his chapter came up. Why the most adorable and kindest character in the whole series had to suffer such unspeakable torture, I still don't understand. And what an ending that was - the whole action episode was thrilling and emotional and watching Dorian finally free was unexplainable. The ending again proved why Aelin and Dorian make such a formidable pair (I still ship them in a teeny tiny part of my heart though Rowaelin is perfect) and even if they can't be together, I just hope that they remain BFFs.
I don't even want to talk about Chaol. The ending is very sad for him but it was also good that he finally decided to make it count. However, for most part of the book, I hated him. He was very rude and mean to Aelin and I just couldn't tolerate him blaming her for everything bad happening in Rifthold. He better do something phenomenally great in the upcoming books if I have to like him again (even a little).
I could go on and on and this would never end. This book has great writing, lots of plot twists and revelations, amazing action sequences and deeply emotional episodes. In simple terms, it's a complete package and has everything I could ever ask for in a book.