Sunday, 23 August 2015

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

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?
Date of Publication: September 2 2015

As always, Sarah J. Maas' characters are written with so much honesty and insightful detail, that they feel real. It was almost as though Celaena Sardothien had just appeared right in front of me with her unquenched anger, latent sadness and glowing strength radiating from her. In the last book I think we all saw Celaena in one of her darkest and most vengeance-fuelled moments but here we get to see the startling after shock of her actions and how she deals with what she's been through. More than anything she feels alone at the beginning, not even the loveable and cute Fleetfoot is with her, so we see her deal with a whole colour wheel of feelings by herself for a while.

But one special thing about this book is that there's a bunch of new characters! I loved getting to explore how these new puzzle pieces fit into the story because I know at first it seems like it has the potential to take us away from the characters we are so invested in but in the end it really added to the story. Some of the new characters became huge parts of the main characters' lives, and because of that we get to see a new side of them. 
Some of the new characters are Rowan, Sorsha and Manon. Rowan is rough and tough, but not...;) He, in a way, acts as a begrudging mentor to Celaena - but their dynamic is wonderful because he isn't afraid of her unleashed wildness.

(Spoilers from the 2nd book) 
Rowan has awesome and complex tattoos and comes off as glaringly hostile and tough at first. But, of course, in this world the characters are beautifully 3-dimensional so we delve deeper into his true compassion and acceptance. He is the one who pushes Celaena to accept her Fae nature and not be afraid of what she can do- he is not afraid of her in the least. I loved the dynamic between them because it feels like Celaena has met her match, which you can see in their snarky battle of words and the way he makes her see what she is capable of. It isn't all sunshine and rainbows because he isn't for the faint-hearted- when I say he pushes her, I mean he shoves her towards her destiny of magic.
(Spoiler done;))

Sorsha has actually been part of the story before. She is the healer, who oh-so-kindly helped take care of all our characters in the last book when they got hurt. So here we see her own story and sweetly innocent thoughts - she's almost the opposite of Celaena in some ways which was interesting to see because I'm so used to our fearless, bold and daring protagonist, that to see someone who was in the background before come to the spotlight is new in a great way.

Chaol and Dorian are thankfully not forgotten at allI liked how Chaol moves away from his obedience to the King and instead chooses to walk down a path filled with danger, rebellion and magic. It shows us just how much Celaena has awoken him to the cruelty of the King and his role to play in fighting it. Come on guys!- just reunitePretty please...

I've always liked Dorian's character, not necessarily for Celaena, but instead just as a character. I feel like Dorian would be a way better ruler than his father could ever imagine, just because of his kindness and his determination to right what's wronged. Did I say I love the twist (from the last book) in which he has magical abilites? Because I doIn this book the author uses it to give him a new love interest... As cute as the stolen glances, blushes and puppy-love smiles were, I wish their romance was developed further- I like the whole Cinderella-esque romance because he's the Prince and she never even thinks he notices her but I just want them to have a funny conversation so that we can see that they can make each other smile in normal times. I wanted Dorian to be given a new love interest because it would mean he's finally over Celaena and moving on to someone who loves him back. As said in Moulin Rouge, "the greatest thing is just to love and to be loved in return."So he does get a romance that is startlingly different to the one he had with Celaena.

Manon Blackbeak is a new character that is so dark and twisted because that's how she was brought up to be. At first I hated the cruel grin on her bloodthirsty face but later we get to see her show some kindness to someone who has only been hurt and left to break.
Ah the character development is so wonderful!

(Spoilers from 2nd book and minor spoilers from this book)
Manon and the beaten but ferocious and determined wyvern was one unexpected but wonderful storyline. As someone who loves animals, I couldn't help but appreciate the way she treated him with friendship when everyone else was satisfied to watch him break. Go Manon
Aedin so obviously cares for Celaena that I really want them to meet again! The flashbacks just showed how they were like a two-in-one deal so having that positive side of her past come back in the flesh might be fun and may be endearingly sweet. 
(Spoilers done!)

Writing: As always the writing was engaging, magical, gentle, harsh and everything right! Initially I was sticky-noting all the parts which had lovely writing that made me re-read the quotes again and again. But then I was basically bookmarking every single page so I decided to stop:P None of the meaningful and almost lyrical lines she writes feels forced- the feel like they break open a hidden light in characters or create a setting so vivid that I can feel the frost chill my bones or feel the leaves tickle my arms as I run past them faster than an enchanted hurricane.

Plot: The plot... the plot... it was... AMAZING! I mean I'm always somehow shocked by just how unique the storylines are. I honestly wish I could borrow Sarah J. Maas' mind someday because the tiniest things that happen in the plot are always so well-thought out and push forward the overall story and character development. The plot starts off quite slow for Celaena which was unusual but I think it reflects her situation and then all of a sudden the plot is just on fire! There are so many things I didn't see coming but that, even if they break my heart, I loved. There were many shadows at the end of the tunnel but none were out of the blue, which makes for a perfect book!

So 5 stars!

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