Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Summary (from Goodreads):
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?
So far, I seem to be the only person who doesn’t absolutely love this one…I didn’t dislike it; I just think that it was nowhere near as a good of a read as the earlier books in the series. It always feels weird being the only one to feel a certain way about a book. I think my biggest problem was the lack of action. It took me over a week to complete this book! And I know her other books were close to being one-sitting reads.
The book is a bit of a monster, at 565 pages.  But, with me length is almost redundant. If the story is grabbing, the number of pages can whiz by. The story just didn’t grab me enough here. Not a lot happens for the first 85% of the book. I kept waiting for it to happen.  By the time it was almost over, and stuff was finally going down, I wasn’t that interested any more. Too much time was spent on Celaena feeling guilty.
The Celaena of this book was reminiscent of Katniss in Mockingjay and Karou in Days of Blood and Starlight. In other words, she was totally broken. And while I understand her character went through a lot at the end of the previous novel, I don’t think the extent of her guilt and broken-ness fits with her character. Where was the snarky, sarcastic, tough-as-nails girl from the first two books? I have always been a reader that dislikes the books in series where the main character is too depressed and mopey, so I know this is a part of my lack of love for this book 3. And not everyone hates these additions to series.
I might have accepted more of the destroyed Celaena moments though if more things were going down plot-wise. While Celaena is in a perpetual state of doom, she is also stuck in a training mode for her magic. She has to train with one of my new favorite characters in order to be able to ask the fairy queen her questions about destroying the evil king. And normally, I love books that deal with magic training. For Celaena though, it wasn’t so much about magic, as it was about her inner demons –and forgiving herself for her friends death– as well as pushing past the even darker demons of the deaths of her family.
I did enjoy the cast of new characters, particularly Celaena’s magic fairy mentor. And I loved all the chapters that followed the witches. At first I was annoyed that Celaena’s story kept getting interrupted, but then I came to love the witches and the wyverns too. I also liked learning about what was going down at the castle through the eyes of the prince, and a certain royal guard. However, like for most of Celaena’s story, not much actually happens in the castle until the last 15% of the book.
More is learned about Celaena’s history. More is learned about the magic that was taken away from the kingdoms. More is learned about fairies and magic in general. It’s clear the author has it all planned out. The scope of her story across all the lands and characters keeps improving and interconnecting, and I’m excited to see where it all leads. The book had a lot of planning and training (for a war to come). Also, there wasn’t a lot of happiness. Each character was so alone. Each character was suffering their own case of serious depression, and no one had a friend to lean on (including the prince).
This wasn’t the book for me. I needed more action and less planning. I would have loved a little less depression (from any of the characters…), and a little more friendship or hope. I’m not a fan of broken Celaena. Though, she’s less broken at the end of the book. I loved the last 15% of the book. And I loved all the new characters and paths pieces of the story are leading to. I do really enjoy Maas’ writing skills and I cannot wait to see where things go. I give it a 7/10.

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