Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas brings us to the third installment of the acclaimed Throne of Glass series. In this one, Celaena travels away from the corrupt castle, and king, and to a faraway land where everything will change.
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Okay, for those of you who read my Crown of Midnight review (read it here if you missed it!), you know I said that COM lagged a little. The plot was nice and lovely to read, but it was a bit slow until right at the very end.
With Heir of Fire, we immediately get a major change of setting. I think it was a very smart move to change things, pretty drastically, at in this third book. The first book (not counting the novella prequels) was an introduction to the setting and a whole rigmarole of how things operated in that castle. By the second novel, I was getting pretty familiar with the castle and was pretty ready for something new.
I’m not sure if that was careful planning on the part of Sarah J. Maas, or if just happened that way through circumstance, but the timing, I thought, was near perfect.
Here is our opening line to Heir of Fire:
“Gods, it was boiling in this useless excuse for a kingdom.”
Wow. First of all, right off the bat, we begin in a completely new location, which is already attention-grabbing. Secondly, as has become the pattern, we can already tell a lot about the character just from one, single line.
This is also something, I think, that Sarah J. Maas has mastered quite well. I’ve come to appreciate how she can introduce a character, and tell us so much about them, in very few words.
Anyway, this “useless excuse for a kingdom” that Celeana speaks of is no other than Wendlyn, the land of the Fae.
She is under the guise of going there to kill the despicable Fae rulers (as the king sitting on the Throne of Glass sees them) but, really, she is there to get some answers about how to destroy some really evil objects. Oh yeah, baby.
So, this novel also begins a little slowly. However, this is a pretty good slowness. Moving at a slower pace is not always a bad thing, I don’t think. It just has to feel like it’s going somewhere, you know? It’s a kind of slow burn that lets you know a raging fire (excuse the pun) is just around the corner.
Heir of Fire pulls this off perfectly. The first few paragraphs are nothing but Celaena surveying her surroundings and complaining about their food and yet, you somehow know that something big is coming.
When Celeana finally gets into the heart of Wendlyn, things really begin rolling like a pile of boulders, not intent on stopping any time soon.
I think this novel was a vast improvement from the last one, personally. The pace, as said above, improves a lot, and things begin rolling once again.
In addition to the pacing improvement, there is also a whole new cast of characters. The Fae, of course, are a nice addition.
Let me just say that Rowan Whitethorn is my new favorite male character of this series. Seriously. I know not everyone digs him, but I definitely do. Yummy. (I kind of have a thing for guys that are also animals…)
Also, Celeana undergoes a huge, huge character arc in this novel, and it’s quite lovely to see. She’s not the only one, either. While most of the focus is definitely on Celaena and Wendlyn, we do get a little bit of action back at the castle with Dorian and Chaol. I won’t drop huge revealing bombs, but let’s just say that, for once, Dorian is being sensible and Chaol is being pigheaded. I know, it blew my mind too.
Still, I wouldn’t say that Chaol undergoes a character arc just yet because, well, he doesn’t, but he is getting there! In this novel, he’s basically the annoying date that you know can be a nice guy if he’d only get beyond his own stupid stupidness.
Dorian, on the other hand, goes through quite a change. Is he still the same Dorian? Yeah. Do I like him any more now? No. But I appreciate the attempts to make him at least slightly more aware that a world, and other people, actually exist that aren’t, you know, him.
The entire plot of this novel is riveting and breathtaking. Cutting, emotional scenes are dispersed between scenes of breakneck action and angst. This is how you write a novel with equal parts bark and bite (hehe. I just made that up.).
I’m honestly so glad to see this series return to its former magnitude. Don’t get me wrong, because I still thought Crown of Midnight was pretty good. I’ve definitely read worse. But all in all, compared to the first one, it was a tad disappointing.
Heir of Fire, however, more than makes up for all of that. It really does. It’s a monster of a book, both literally and metaphorically, and it will drag you from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other.
If you have not gave it a go yet, then please do, especially if you liked the first two. If so, you will lovelovelove Heir of Fire. What are you waiting for?!
No, seriously, what are you waiting for?
Rating: Five stars. Oh yeah.