Review (1 of 2): Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Published by: Bloomsbury
Format: 648 pages, Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Sarah J. Maas | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Assassin’s Blade Review | Throne of Glass Review | Crown of Midnight Review | Heir of Fire Review


Rating Breakdown:

Mini-Review (1 of 2):


Ehrmergerd. WhAt eveN! Now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s get to the serious things. It has been 4 days since I’ve finished reading Queen of Shadows. It took me so long to sort out my feelings and look at this book without bias (still impossible but I tried). When the book first came out, there were so many low ratings. I just couldn’t understand and wrap my head around it. I mean, it’s Sarah J. Maas! Her writing is exquisite and the first three books were so marvelous. It wasn’t until I was in the middle of reading it that I finally saw why so many people were bothered by it.

My thoughts about the book can be summarized into one sentence: Queen of Shadows was a grossly underwhelming disappointment of a book with a couple of wonderful scenes thrown in. That is literally the hardest sentence that I’ve written. SJM is one of my favorite authors and Throne of Glass is my favorite series. If it weren’t for that and those few amazing scenes, my rating would most likely be even lower. I have such a love-hate relationship with QoS, where my love for it stems mostly from its association to the other books. I will go over in detail the issues that I did have with the book to explain my rating.

The Good

The best thing about this book and probably its saving grace were the action sequences. I can honestly say that this was where SJM’S writing really shined in this novel. In particular, the final battle in the book was reminiscent to the beautiful and effective prose that SJM employed throughout the first 3 books. The action-packed scenes were so well written, you can visualize every punch, kick, and kill. Along with that, there were few points of view that I actually did enjoy. Even with my mediocre scoring of the plot, the direction of the novel and certain events were really great.

The Bad

My main issue with novel stems from the apparent degradation of SJM’S writing. I was honestly so appalled that QoS was even a part of the ToG series – or that it came from SJM entirely. The deficit created by the writing seriously affected many aspects of the book, including the plot, characters and their development and romance, all leading to a diminished entertainment value. More often than not, I found myself rolling my eyes and getting angry over the drastic changes in the characters. I also felt like a handful of the characters backslided from the development that they experienced in the previous novels. The greatest drawback of QoS was that a lot of the plot and characters were adjusted for the sake of validating a romance subplot.

That concludes part 1 of my review on plot, writing style, action sequences, and entertainment. Part 2 will be on romance, ships, and characters. I will now continue to my detailed, spoiler-filled portion of the review. If you have not read Queen of Shadows and you don’t want to be spoiled, I strongly urge you to stop reading after the line. If you’d like to discuss or share your opinions or ask any questions, my comment box is open below!

Line Below Contains Spoilers

Spoiler-Filled Breakdown:

I’m starting this spoiler review with the writing since it encompasses every single aspect of this novel. In two words, I’d describe SJM’s writing in QoS as mediocre and subpar in comparison to her other novels. The height of her writing in this novel came at the end, which I will go into detail later. Before going off into the things I didn’t like about the writing, I want to talk about the great things. SJM put in some amazing plot twists that I didn’t see coming and I really enjoyed them. I was genuinely surprised with Lysandra’s story with Wesley, Gavriel being Aedion’s father, Kaltain’s shadowfire, Asterin’s background story and a couple other things. Aelin’s plans for many of her missions were flawless and well thought out. I really enjoyed how dark this novel was and how serious the situations were. 

The action was on point! Dorian’s breakthrough in the end and the death of the king: flawless. Aedion’s rescue: exquisite. Manon and Aelin’s fight: wonderful. Lysandra’s rescue: fantastic. Lysandra turning ghost leopard: perfection. So many amazing action sequences that kept me wanting more. They were the light of this book. It reminded me of the badarsery that was displayed throughout the series with even darker overtones. The action was largely responsible for a higher rate of entertainment. If it weren’t for that, I think that might have been a lot lower than 3-stars.

However, I felt that these were all overshadowed by the negatives in the book. For maybe 70-75% of the book, I was angry. Angry like that gif I put up there. I wanted to throw my book across the room several times. At times the writing was choppy and inconsistent. One scene is happy-go-lucky Rowaelin frolicking through Adarlan, not a care in the world, their attention solely focused on each other’s beauty. Then, a page later is the darkness and despair that every other character has looming over their heads. Thanks SJM for pretty much reminding me that Aelin has yet to do anything to save Dorian or any innocents from the king. Aelin was too busy parading Rowan around the city and showing him her nightgowns and not wearing underwear during missions. Wow. Totes not inappropriate at all and totes fitting to the plot and seriousness of the situation around them. Since I’m thanking SJM, I want to thank her for slowing down the plot and breaking things up for the freaking sake of making Rowaelin happen.

Don’t get me started on how repetitive things were. I get it. Aelin is super hot. Rowan is a sexy brute. You don’t need to remind me every other page and you don’t need to talk about it in different points of view. Seriously. Ever single character thought that Rowan was a god sent from above. Even Chaol said he was hot (WHAT?!). Furthermore, anyone else sick and tired of having a new love interest in every. single. book? What guy out there is resistant to charms of Aelin Galathynius? Apparently there is no one. Honestly, the book exponentially went downhill for me with Rowan’s return. Here’s the thing about it. Once he came back, the other characters weren’t of importance to Aelin or SJM for that matter. Aedion’s, Chaol’s, and Nesyrn’s presence drastically dwindle.

The thing the bothered me the most about the writing was the inconsistency within the book and the series. Additionally, the previously developed characters in the series pretty much took 5-steps back. But I shall delve into that more in the second part of my review. So. Inconsistencies. Aelin says things like how much Dorian means to her and how she doesn’t want to add another name of a loved one on her back, yet she was ready to kill him without trying any other alternative. But no worries, let’s hang out and eat breakfast with your court. If I remember the conversations about the amount of food they now eat because of her court, then it was in the book too much. Who gives a crap about your freaking breakfast! What is that adding to the plot? You know what Dorian’s eating? The freaking blood of innocents that the Valg is making him eat. (Okay, that was a low blow. I admit but I’m on a warpath right now and there’s no end in sight). Aelin, do you care about Dorian or do you not? And I shall quote you from Crown of Midnight.

“Now she had no choice about what she had to do. What she would do to protect Dorian. It was what she’d realized last night: she did have someone left—one friend. And there was nothing she wouldn’t do to keep him safe.” -Aelin

You spend a good chunk of the book doing nothing for his rescue mission and you have the audacity to tell Dorian that you came back for him HAHAHAHAH.HA.HA. ha NOPE.

*calls 911* hi police. yes. please come over asap. a liar’s pants are on fire. –extremely disgruntled Anjie

SJM introduced us to Arobynn as the undefeatable Mr. Big Bad Wolf, whom the king would be stupid to go against. Even Aelin was worried that Arobynn would actually hurt the 300-year old trained-in-battle Fae. Here’s the secret though — apparently Arobynn’s kryptonite all along was a beautiful inexperienced killer that he just bedded. Wow. That was an easy and quiet death. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that Lysandra killed him but after your big talk of how deadly Arobynn was, this is what we’re dealt with? Oh, yes please SJM, give me some more anticlimactic deaths! 

Oh here’s one of my all-time favorite inconsistencies. Aelin and Rowan apparently are the ones for each other despite the fact that there was absolutely zero indication of a romantic relationship in HoF. I think I laughed so hard at the absurdity of them telling each other that they make each other want to live — about how Aelin has not been happy in the past 10 years or Rowan finally finding the one he was looking for all these centuries. Wait … what is that? Oh, that’s just the sound of Sam literally rolling over in pieces in his grave and Lyria joining along. Thank you for diminishing the importance of Sam’s character and the whole Fae mating thing.

Okay, here’s my last point because this has gone on long enough. Remember a couple of paragraphs ago about how I talked about Aelin’s willingness to kill Dorian? Here’s a guy who was always loyal to Aelin and loved her no matter what. A guy she once believed was the only friend left she had in the world and she was so quick to say, “off with his head!” Moreover, she’s ready to kill anyone who stands in the way of her quest to take back Terrasen. Then, there’s the king who killed her family, tortured and enslaved her and did many other atrocities and yet she actually hesitates and questions why Dorian would kill his father after he pleads innocence? Oh, please. Give me a break. And authors please stop making villains innocent the minute before their death. Just stop.


We shall continue this conversation in part 2 of my review but enjoy a snippet of my favorite scene in the book. Favorite Moments: My favorite moment in this book was the last battle. You can picture every single thing that happened. This is where the writing makes sense and all that is left is action and purpose. You have Aedion and Rowan underground, fighting Wyrdhounds, trying to blow up the clocktower. Chaol is fighting the king trying to give Aelin time to bring Dorian back from the abyss the Valg trapped him in. Then magic returns and the world explodes as the battle between Aelin and Valg-Dorian ensues. If the book was written as magnificent as this scene, it would have been 5-stars. The book is made infinitely better when the king comes along and mouths off about killing Chaol, effectively breaking Dorian from his possession. It doesn’t stop there! Dorian and Aelin combine their powers to become the most powerful entity in existence. This scene was powerful, breathtaking, and the best thing that has ever happened in this book. This is what anticipation is made of.

His name was Dorian.
Dorian Havilliard, and he was the Crown Prince of Adarlan.
And Celaena Sardothien– Aelin Galathynius, his friend … she had come back for him
[…] Dorian lifted his hands to the Wyrdstone collar — cold, smooth, thrumming.
Don’t, the demon shrieked. Don’t.
There were tears running down Aelin’s face as Dorian gripped the black stone encircling his throat.
And, bellowing his grief, his rage, his pain, he snapped the collar from his neck.

They joined hands.
So the world ended.
And the next one began.
They were infinite.
[…] They were the beginning and the ending; they were eternity.
They held tighter to each other, past and present and future.
[…] A wall of night knocked them back. But they could not be contained.
The darkness paused for breath.
They erupted.
[…] Infinite—Dorian’s power was infinite.
They were full of light, of fire and starlight and sunshine. They overflowed with it as they snapped the final tether on the king’s power and cleaved his darkness away, burning it up until it was nothing.


About Anjie @ Love thy Shelf

Hello there -- call me Anjie! I made this book blog where I can put down all my bookish ramblings and talk to those who have the same interests!
This entry was posted in Other, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Review (1 of 2): Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

  1. Pingback: October in Review | Love thy Shelf

  2. Pingback: Review (2 of 2): Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas | Love thy Shelf

  3. Aw I’m so sad that you didn’t love this book! I can understand why you didn’t, but for me it was the best book in the series, I loved everything about it! Hopefully the next book in the series will be better for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Josephine says:

    I choked on my tea when I saw your rating, oh goodness! I’m very sad that you couldn’t give this book 5 stars! I think one of the biggest reasons for low ratings depends on who you ship Aelin with and who your favourite character is. Obviously your love for Dorian would make you despise this, I definitely see that Aelin was a terrible hypocrite when it came to Dorian. He supposed “only friend”. I admit, that stuff she said, compared to her actions really baffled me. I can see why she and Rowans shenanigans would make you angry.

    I heard quite a few people comment on S. J. Maas’s wiring style. Someone said they really didn’t like how she said “eyes lined with silver” instead on simply saying they had tears in their eyes!

    Apart from the bad of course, the action was freaking amazing and I can definitely agree that they were the BEST parts (if we are excluding Rowaelin of course). All the scenes you pointed out, echo my thoughts exactly. AND THE FINAL BATTLE SCENE!!!!! Everything about that scene was perfect, especially the part with Aelin and Dorian. Gosh I do actually ship Aelin and Dorian because WHAT A POWER COUPLE. If they ended up together I would totally accept it. But Rowaelin make me weak at the knees.

    Anjie! This was a fantastic review! I can’t believe you were worried about not writing a coherent review, this was fantastic! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, I laughed when you said you choked on tea xD I was just imagining it in my mind, pictured you hold a cup of tea and scrolling through blog posts, then seeing my rating, choked and spit out tea lol.

      I was sad I couldn’t give it 5 stars, it felt like I was betraying SJM and the series haha. But the thing is, it didn’t matter who I shipped, I still would have had a problem with it. The only real difference was how it was all handled. I wouldn’t have minded if she came back and went with Chaol because they already had an extensive relationship built from ToG and CoM, same with Dorian. Also, HoF is my favorite in the series, despite my ship not happening at all. I also really loved CoM even though Chaelin was all over it. I just felt like there was more of an emphasis on the romance subplot than the bigger plot.

      I remember reading that line and thought how weirdly written it was lol Yeah, they would be an amazing power couple haha and I really didn’t mind who she ends up with but after QoS, I’m like Rowaelin a lot less. Hopefully, in the next book, I won’t get drowned in Rowaelin scenes that I find annoying lol

      Thanks! I was really worried I’d get so much hate for it. I took a whole day to write that lol


  5. wow, I hadn’t realized it was so bad for you… sorry for all our praises on twitter 😉

    Incredible, I interpreted the book so differently. I think it’s because she loves Dorian so much, that she wants to kill him right there, because she has faced the Vags and know that there is no turning back. Even Dorian wants her to kill him.

    You know I also don’t agree with Rowaelin… there were indications on HoF (I shipped them then), and SJM never dismisses Sam and Lyria (in my opinion), they are only right for each other now because they lost their true and first loves. Also, SJM as said that mating his possible more than once. And Rowan sees her as much more than a love interest, to serve her is his life mission.

    I shall stop now, because i have a totally different opinion 😉 but I do hear you and understand where you’re coming from 🙂

    (so sad about all your frustration…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol, it’s okay. You guys didn’t know. I just think my frustrations were heightened because of excessive praises for Rowan/Aelin and how they could do no wrong. It wasn’t only from you guys, it was like everywhere. I finally did find some people who shared my frustrations and it was refreshing to finally put everything into words lol

      I get her wanting to kill him so that he doesn’t have to feel more of what she felt. I just don’t get her saying that and then continuing the rest of the book not trying to a) kill him or b) rescue. Doesn’t matter if she promised Chaol anything, it’s not like she hasn’t broken promises before to help someone she loved. Don’t say you love him and want him to be free of the torture and then do absolutely nothing about it. I mean she had no plans about dealing with Dorian up until the last part of the book.

      Just because they were shipped in HoF, doesn’t mean that there were indications of a romantic relationship. I can attest to that because I’ve been shipping Doraelin forever and thus far there has yet to be any indications of them coming back. Even more so, before reading QoS, I reread HoF and took notes and it’s fresh it my mind where Aelin continually said how much she appreciated having Rowan as a friend and they had no romantic connections (other than saying they both are beautiful beyond words). Same thing with Rowan’s POV, only wanting to protect Aelin from the harsh past that she went through. Maybe you’re right about Lyria and Rowan since he’s been alive for centuries but we don’t know when she died. But Aelin saying that she didn’t know what true happiness was until Rowan or hadn’t experienced happiness in the 10 years and hadn’t really lived, yeah that’s dismissing the happiness that she had with Sam. I guess Sam just didn’t make her happy then.

      Thanks for understanding. I find it crazy how different everyone interprets books.


      • lol, so, Rowan and Lyria were together when he was young. I remember that he spent at least 2 centuries mourning her. I also think that the reason Aelin says she hadn’t been truly happy had more to do with all the things she was trying to hide while she was with Sam, and how she was never herself, you know? She loved him, she says she probably will always love him, but they were never safe or free, there was her past and Arobynn, and I think that weighted her down too much.

        About HoF, I shipped them from the moment he bit her neck, that was my first indication. The fact that he wanted to “claim” her, said enough about his intentions to me (sorry!). And the sleeping in the same bed, holding hands and whatnot…

        I get what you’re saying about Dorian, I also get why it affected you more than me 🙂 .

        I find it crazy too, but it’s all good, right? 😉


        • And I get that but don’t say you were never happy until Rowan. Poor Sam died trying to get them both free of Arobynn and he gets that a “I wasn’t happy once these past 10 years”. He bit her neck to get her to anger her so that she can shift to her Fae form and even when they did those things, there was never that blip of romantic from those gestures

          Liked by 1 person

What's on Your Mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s