Book Review: Throne of Glass


Title: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publication: 2012

For those of you who have read my review of Queen of Shadows, you've kinda been spoiled for my review of this book - clearly, I love this series if I'm already knee-deep in the shit, right? :) Reading it for the second time, there are so many reasons to love this novel from the wonderful characters, to the expanding world to way the story was written. All reasons why I really vouched for this to be September's book of the month. I didn't want to be the only one obsessed. (And I'm not! I'm looking at you, Kristen, book twinsy <3)

Celaena Sardothien, the 17 year old deadliest warrior in the land, has spent the last year in the Salt Mines where prisoners are sent to die. When the Prince arrives with an offer, it's one she be a fool to refuse: compete as his participant in a competition to be the King's Champion thereby winning her freedom in a few years or die in the Mines. It's not a choice, but it's also not as simple as just winning. 

The characters shine the brightest of all the stars. And I don't think the story's solely character driven, yet they leave a lasting impression. There's, of course, the arrogant yet still lovable Celaena "not taking none of your shit" Sardothein, along with an uber responsible Captain of the Guard with a heart of gold, a prince who will flirt and read books with you at the same time, and another princess that might be one of the strongest characters I've encountered in fiction in years. I like the diversity Maas weaves into this story in such an effortless and seamless way. It's so important but it's not stressed in a "hey, look at me over here, obligatory diversity" kind of way. 

My only complaint is that I wanted more ferocity from this first installment (for the record, it's coming!). There were moments during reading where I found myself wondering "where is this bad ass assassin I was promised and why has she been replaced by this spoiled brat stuffing her face?" Then Celaena would hit me with something so truly kickass and I'd go "ahh, there she is!" while stuffing my face. When I think of assassin, I expect fighting and a few deaths and while Celaena definitely had moments where she showed me just how boss she could be, I like the gritty stuff and I wanted more.  

Some reviews mention that Throne of Glass is a bit predictable. I do see what they are saying but I have to disagree with the idea that this should be held against the book or its rating. Saying too much here would ruin the book, I think (see my spoiler section below for my full thoughts). For now I'll say that although predictability can be an annoying feature of novels, for first books in a series I feel like an exception has to be made. Especially considering the fact that predictable or not, the excitement overshadows all of that!

If you are wondering whether you should start the Throne of Glass series, don't. You should. It's action-packed, mysterious, really fun, full of witty one-liners and characters you will want to invest your time into for volumes to come.

"Here's a lesson for you, Weapons Master," she said, stalking past him. "Give me real men to fight. Then maybe I'll bother trying."

"You could rattle the stars," she whispered. "You could do anything, if you only dared."

                                          4 Cups = Stay Up Late!

                                          4 Cups = Stay Up Late!

Only highlight the text below to read it if you have read Throne of Glass already.

Only highlight the text below to read it if you have read Throne of Glass already.

I don't have very much to say by spoilers simply because I don't want to slip up and talk about future installments (a series' story can sometimes bleed from one book into the next). I just wanted to comment on the predicability I mentioned earlier.

When you are beginning a series well into it's run or you know there will be multiple books released, it's obvious: the main character will live. I get that. I understand that in Throne of Glass it is obvious that Celaena will somehow defeat the darkness plaguing the castle, win the competition and become the Champion. But for a fantasy series like this one, it's not about being surprised by the setup, for that's essentially what the first book in any series is. The job of a series opener is to intrigue you enough to invest in the story and the characters despite the fact that you may know where it ends up momentarily. In my opinion, Throne of Glass does that and then some. It's my second time through and I'm still delighted by Celaena and the gang and the mysterious happenings in the castle. I like the story as it comes through Celaena's mistrustful yet hilarious psyche, Chaol's stern yet tenderhearted thoughts and Dorian's adorable banter. I may have known what was going to happen at the end, but I had no idea how. Watching Celaena make a new equally-kickass girlfriend that she desperately needed (one who is one of my favorite characters in the novel to this moment) was so heartwarming. Living vicariously through the Dorian-Celaena flirting made me smile. Reading about the morning runs from hell with Chaol, the huge bag of candy that she devoured and forgot to share, and all the different "tests" she passed not always with flying colors. I loved the how - getting to know these characters and this world and falling in love with it all.

Have you read Throne of Glass? What were your thoughts? Link up here or leave tons of comments below! 

Once upon a midnight dreary...

If you've been puttering around these parts for I don't know - a week - you could've predicted that the FallOWeen kick off would contain books in some way.   

As I mentioned in an earlier post, fall is my favorite time to kick back with a dark and dreary read and a cup of something hot. So it should come as no surprise that I'm all for breaking out some horror (or at least fantastically creepy) reads for the season! 

Here are some perfect Halloween reads, many of which I intend to read this season (denoted by an "*"). Also, check out the cool video montage at the end for some awesome book cover porn :)

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I feel the urge to reread Wuthering Heights every year around this time (hence why we chose it for the book club last October) because it's dark, dreary and all about how love can be destructive, which I admit isn't per se sexy but the passion seriously drips off these pages. If you'd like to read a darker story, but prefer to stay out of the horror category, read (or reread) this classic!

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey*

I recently purchased books 2-4 of this series, which is a little presumptuous I admit, but I just know I'm gonna love it.  William Henry has seen a lot as an assistant to a doctor who studies monsters, a monstrumologist, so he's rarely surprised - that is until he is. Forgive my overly dramatic summary :)

The Shining by Stephen King*

I have wanted to pick up this creepy read by the King of Horror himself for years now, but every time I get around to it, the season is practically over. Not this year. This year I am determined to get to it. Telling the story of Danny, who was 5 years old when his visions at his father's hotel started getting out of control, The Shining is touted as King's best horror story, and with a premise akin to "haunted hotel", I expect to be in for some spooky times. 

Anna Dressed in Blood duology by Kendare Blake *

I enjoyed Anna Dressed In Blood so much last year that I plan to reread it and then move onto the sequel, Girl of Nightmares. Cas, like his father before him, travels the world to kill the dead. But when he encounters Anna Dressed in Blood, the ghost that kills anyone who enters her house, he gets more than he expected - a formidable opponent who for some reason spares his life. I'm so ready to reread this!

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness*

 It's about time that I read a novel by Patrick Ness and although his recent tome, The Rest of Us Just Live Here (released 10/6), looks damn good, A Monster Calls is so well loved in the book community and seems perfect for the season.  Not so much a horror read as much as a sad one, or so I've heard, A Monster Calls tells the story of a young boy grappling with his feelings, the fact that his mother is dying, and the monster that shows up in his backyard. 

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

We all know the story of Jekyll, doctor who develops a poison to unleash his evil side. It's another classic that is creepy but not quite horrific, so it's perfect for readers who can't stomach too much gore. 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein was a favorite of mine as a teen (cue teen angst jokes of massive proportions) , and although I haven't reread it in a while, it still holds a special place in my memory. It was one of the first classics that I really felt like I could relate to. I'm not sure what that says about teenage Kari but eh, nostalgic none the less. 

Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice*

Did I say that Frankenstein was a teen favorite? Because then I was obsessed with Anne Rice's first 3 novels in the Vampire Chronicles! Anne Rice weaves an exotic and insanely entertaining tale regarding the deepest confessions of a vampire and I eat it right up!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

You guys, I still cannot get into this novel because I cannot bring myself to care that Amy has disappeared after the first chapter. And I mean, what's the point of continuing with the story if you just don't care? Nonetheless, it is a well loved adult novel and I've heard fantastic things about both the book and the movie.  

You by Caroline Kepnes*

I've heard that this book is "seriously fucked up" from many people and strangely enough, that makes me even more interested. You combines a obsessive stalker with the over-sharing of social media for a creepy and real read. Also, it's written in second person and as I've never read a novel from that POV, I'm very intrigued. And it's blurbed by Stephen King. 

Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe*

It's Poe. Need I say more? My tattered copy of this is well-loved, which you probably guessed from the title of this post :)

Do you judge a book by it's cover like me? Check out all the fantastically creepy covers for my recommendations in the video below!

If you've written any fall, Halloween or October related posts lately, please do link them below! I'd love to read them.

Have you read any of these books? Better yet, do you have any other recommendations?  

Hello Fall-O-Ween!

It's here! It's finally here. And if be lying if I said I haven't been planning for this month-long extravaganza for quite some time now. It's just the most wonderful time of the year, you guys. And it's back :) 


In case, you weren't around this time last year, Fall-O-Ween is a creation of my own making (or I mean, who knows? It could totally exist elsewhere) that combines everything I adore about this month. Fall, O for October, and Hallo"ween". And that quote up there is from Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, a book that speaks to me in general and also with this spot-on line. Sure, most people associate this season different, but to me, it's always the most lively time of year. If you don't believe me, believe F. Scott Fitzgerald when he says "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall".

So what can you expect this Fall-O-Ween?


Lots of posts related to fall/October/Halloween duh! Expect me, writing, right here, 3-5 times a week about all the things I can't get enough of. From beauty to movies and tons in between.


I'm planning 2 small giveaways, so keep a lookout for that, because who doesn't like free stuff.


If you're into this season as well, I'd love it if you linked up with me on Fridays. I'd love to read all about what you're getting into this fall, so feel free to grab the button (or not, totally up to you!) and join in.

Now that all the introduction things are out of the way, onto the Fall-O-Ween fun, beginning with my October goals and the first freebie of the season...

october goals

Finish your first draft, damn it! 

NaNoWriMo is around the corner, as in next month, and I plan to start working on a new novel that I've been turning around in my head for the better part of this year. Yet, I really really must have this done by the end of this month or I never will.  

Continue new workout.  

I recently gave myself a swift kick in the ass with a new workout routine. I'd like to, make that have to, stick with it.  

Create a budget.  

You guys. I'm way too old to spend money as frivolously as I do. I've avoided anything related to the word "budget" like a damn tax return over the years but the truth is, I need one. If only to save a little money for adult things like my future and book purchases. 

Read all the creepy, horror books. 

All of them. I save them for October and I'm so excited!

fall-o-ween freebie: halloween TV schedule

One of the best parts of the Fall-O-Ween season, aside from books (duhh!), is the Halloween-y movies and shows flooding the regularly scheduled programming. It's like witches and ghouls have commandeered the networks and filled the TV streams, and I look forward to it annually.  

There's so much going on that it's easy to miss your favorites, so here are some scheduled I created again this year. There's a cute and cozy one (with ABC Family and Disney Channel programming) and a strictly horror version (from AMC and Syfy Network) - take your pick :) 

Are you excited for the fall/October/Halloween season? What's your favorite part? 

Book Review: Everything, Everything


Title: Everything, Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon

Publication: 2015

Usually book hype doesn't effect me. This time, as I sit here a few days post finishing it, I feel like the hype has finally caught up with me. It's probably the main culprit in the case of "why I still haven't given Everything Everything a star rating". I read this book in less than 12 hours, in a single sitting, which usually means that I just loved a book, but I'm still sitting on the fence with all of my feelings.  

Everything, Everything tells the story of Madeline, a girl who is allergic to - you guessed it - everything and therefore hasn't gone outside for her entire life. But when Olly's family moves in next door, it changes her life in unexpected and pretty permanent ways. I expected to be blown away by Everything, Everything. Just blown, bbbssshhh! *Mimes mind-blowing action* And because of that, it fell a little short of my expectations - my mind was not blow, baffled yes, but not blown. 

Yoon's characters make this story interesting and lovable. Aside from a moment towards the middle of the novel that made me say "wait, what?", I found Madeline to be a pretty level headed and refreshing character, which is fortunate as the book is written in her point of view. Considering her condition, it would be easy for her voice to come across whiny or very 'woe-is-me", but it didn't. And Madeline's need for "more" was not only understandable but totally relatable. Olly is like a mystery that is solved in the most satisfying ways. At first, he seems like a manic pixie dream boy, this person that Madeline can't quite figure out. He's dressed in black from head to toe, and in his free time, he launches himself from his bedroom window onto the roof where he does mysterious things just out of Madeline's view. But eventually, his story expands in interesting ways that give his character much more depth. And as a connection developed between mysterious Olly and Madeline, I found myself with a serious case of the feels. The adults in Madeline's life add a lot to the story. Her caretaker encourages Madeline to live instead of just exist, despite her circumstances, and her mother plays the role of dutiful parent, who selflessly dedicates her life to her child. Both characters were essential to the story and a constant presence which is not typical of YA.  

It's the plot of this story that has me swaying on the metaphorical fence. The first half of this novel was great. The pacing was perfect and nothing ever felt extraneous. But towards the end, things got a little rushed and well, something felt off. About 3/4ths of the way through the novel, something happened and from then on, I felt like I was on a roller coaster that I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to be on. It was definitely an intriguing, stomach dropping ride, but it threw me for a loop and I'm not sure if I liked it.

Despite how I may have felt about the plot, there's something about this novel that makes it hard to put down, and I think it's the writing and the style. The stylistic choices stole the show for me. I loved the inclusion of the diagrams, definitions, webpages and IM conversations ... Even the chapter titles were cute. Yoon's writing is not to be forgotten however. It was straight-forward but also poetic, without coming off pretentious. I found myself highlighting so many lines within the novel because of how well-written and important they felt. I felt like I was receiving these inspiring little nuggets about life and I wanted more.

"Wanting just leads to more wanting. There is no end to desire."

"How the chocolate turned white, and the milk turned brown, and how sometimes you can't unmix things no matter how much you might want to."

"I was happy before... But I'm alive now, and those are not the same thing."
                                     4 cups = Stay Up Late!

                                     4 cups = Stay Up Late!

The only spoiler-y thoughts I have are about the perceived insta-love between Madeline and Olly and that ending (!).

I really liked the relationship between Madeline and Olly. I loved everything about their email conversations, their meetings in the green room, and the cute way they fall for each other. Normally, the sort of insta-love that occurs in this novel would bother me, as I prefer my romance slow-burning. But under the circumstances, it made perfect sense. Madeline has had very limited contact with the outside world, so clinging to Olly's companionship seems totally normal for her. In fact, I expected much more. I cannot say enough about how much I really loved the romance in this novel. It was cute, touching and exactly what Madeline needed in her life to discover herself and the world (and secrets) around her.

Which brings me to the ending. That roller coaster I mentioned above should be named "Why The Hell Is Madeline Going Outside, She's Gonna Die!" because that's how I felt for the final 25% of this book. Her decision to leave seemed to come out of left field, and a few things about it bothered me. For one, it felt a bit selfish. Sure, we eventually find out that Madeline's mom is kinda nutso and has falsely diagnosed her daughter, thereby confining her to what has essentially been a prison sentence, because of her personal fears of the outside world. But that doesn't change the fact that Madeline chose to recklessly endanger her life (according to her knowledge) and worry her mother half-to-death. Secondly, it was a bit unrealistic that Madeline was able to be outside for as long as she was, considering the condition that she does have. We find out that although Madeline doesn't have SCID, she does have a weakened immune system due to her confinement. So I find it strange that her excursion to Hawaii, which includes a germ-y airplane ride, doesn't effect her much sooner. Lastly, something about the entire ordeal felt a bit frustrating. Although it was a damn interesting twist, it fell a bit flat for me, because quite frankly, it's not really what I wanted from this story. I wanted a story about a girl who actually is allergic to the outside world and how she copes with that.

That said, I still give this novel a 4 star rating because I really enjoyed it. Sure the ending felt a little off to me, but the writing, the style and the characters almost overshadow the ending in unexpected ways, making Everything, Everything a solid debut for Nicola Yoon.

If you're in the mood for a sweet contemporary with a unique story, you've come to the right place. As Yoon's debut novel, I think it was pretty fantastic. She illustrates her ability to create unique and diverse characters, and write about interesting topics with flair. Everything, Everything does what I think most writers hope their work will do - make me want to read more.

TV Shows You Should Binge Watch

If I've been trying to hide it, I haven't done it well because you all know by now - I'm a grown-up fangirl (or maybe not so grown-up). So the impending return of fall tv has me planning social events around show premieres like some anti-social weirdo. Not that I'm denying the accusation. But seriously, fall is my favorite for multiple reasons and TV is one of them.  

So here are the shows I can't wait for come the next few months, and the shows you should binge-watch right now (*edit: this post was written weeks ago so some of these have already premiered or will very soon). Prepare for quite a bit of fangirling. Sorries all around in advance.   

Once Upon A Time

(New Season Premieres: September 27th)

Once Upon A Time is every fangirl's dream. It's a big girl show, I mean it's on ABC, but the entire show is pretty much based on a single premise, aka every little girl's best day ever: what if all the fairy tales were real? Season by season, viewers are introduced to new characters that pop up in a Storybrooke, a small down where .... I mean really. Need I say more? 

The Originals

(New Season Premieres: Thursday, October 8th)

When Klaus and his vicious original vampire family popped onto the scene in The Vampire Diaries, I thought: who is this asshole ancient vampire and why/how can he be so damn terrible?Soon enough, I found myself utterly smitten with him, so when he and his family got this spin-off series set in bluesy Louisiana (which is such an ah-mazing setting), I couldn't wait to tune in. From the moment Klaus, with brother and sister in tow, began reeking havoc on the magical kind of Louisiana and bullying his way to regaining control of the city from his protegé, I was hooked. And you will be too! 


(New Season Premieres: Wednesday, September 23rd)

This show took everyone, including me, by storm last year. I was skeptical at first, as I normally am with shows that are surrounded by so much hype, but once I caved and finally watched an episode - I couldn't stop. The first season of Empire tells the story of Lucious Lyon, media mogul and owner of Empire Records, his ex-wife Cookie who helped start the empire but has been locked up for almost 20 years and their 3 children. It's scandalous, addicting, hilarious and produces bomb music without getting too High School Musical on us (not that there's anything wrong with HSM!). 


(New Season Premieres: Friday, October 9th)

Reign is a historical fantasy teen drama, documenting the lives of the royals in France in 1557, specifically the early years of Mary Queen of Scots. Yes, that Mary Queen of Scots that you barely heard/could care less about in history class in 9th grade. Except you will care this time; you will care so much, you'll be screaming at the tv. I just get so wound up watching this show. Reign is definitely one of the best shows on television right now if you ask me. I can't even deal with all the feels this show delivers straight to my heart. They wrap it all in such pretty freaking packaging that I don't expect an explosion of hideous feels, yet every single week, I open the damn thing. Really, if you haven't watched this show, stop reading now! 


(New Season Premieres: Thursday, October 1st)

Raymond Reddington is a US Navy officer turned high-profile criminal and one thing is for sure, he's damn good at it. So when he surrenders himself to FBI custody and then agree to serve as a confidential informant for the bureau, helping to bring down the very criminals he's colluded with, it's unexpected to say the least. And Reddington continues to keep viewers hooked with the unexpected every episode, dazzling us with his unbelievable intelligent, hilariously witty monologues and complete badass attitude.


(New Season Premieres: Monday, September 21st)

I kind of have a thing for the Batman. Ever since I was a little girl, he's been one of my favorite superheroes. And Gotham gets us deeper into the circumstances surrounding the rise of Batman, but it mostly focuses on the story of a young James Gordon (with at most a secondary focus on Bruce Wayne). Most of us know Gordon's role in Bruce Wayne's story, as the officer to investigate the murder of both of Bruce's parents, but we don't know much else. Gotham is so addicting because it delves into the stories of Gotham's other known citizens while lifting the curtain on some of our favorite villians, like the Peguin and Fish Moony (and it looks like possibly the Joker and Harley Quinn this coming season). And with the slogan, "The Rise of Villains", we're sure to see their stories unfold as well.   

The 100

(New Season Premieres: 2016!)

My love for this show has been well-documented in this rambling, raving post, so suffice it to say, I cannot wait for the next season. I mean, hell, I tricked Netflix into thinking I was Canadian just to get my hands on season 2, you know I'm desperate! It's the story of 100 teens that are sent from the safety of their space station homes to see if Earth is habitable, and all the crazy things they encounter once they get there, a land that due to nuclear war hasn't been livable for 97 years.  

Just realized that Season 3 won't premiere until 2016 and so technically it doesn't belong on this list. Well, that give you even more time to get addicted. You're welcome :) And because we've already broken the "fall tv show" rule, I have to quickly mention...


I haven't a clue when the next season will begin but my excitement for it is immeasurable. This show is fantastic and deserves it's own tribute post, which you can bet your pretty little head is coming soon :)

What shows should I binge-watch immediately? Not that I don't have enough to watch already.

Also, if you haven't yet -- enter to win $75 worth of PSLs (or whatever Starbucks drink you fancy) in the "Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice" giveaway that I'm hosting with these lovely bloggers:

happy friday!

Book Review: Queen of Shadows

I suddenly have a deeper appreciation of book bloggers on YouTube. Making videos takes quite a bit of time, skill, not to mention balls. While writing this, it's dawned on me that video reviews have benefits, namely the ability to give spoiler warnings especially with books in a series which is harder in blogging. 

So I'm going to try another method of book reviewing (especially in the case of series): Part 1, I'll give a completely spoiler-free review. That will be followed a "spoilers ahead" banner, and then Part 2, which will be for spoiler-y discussion up until the book at hand. And lastly Part 3, typed in white font, will be no holds barred. The intention is to cater to everyone - Part 1 for everyone, Part 2 for those who have read up to the current installment, and Part 3 for the fangirls (and boys) who wanna read all my spoiler-y thoughts. Of course, all of this info will also be over here on my brand new review page!


Title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)

Auhor: Sarah J. Maas

Publication: 2015

Queen of Shadows, the fourth installment to the Throne of Glass series, delivers pretty much what readers have come to expect of Maas's books. It ups the ante with more assassin action than any book so far and even more answers. It wasn't perfect on a few regards but it damn sure was an excellent installment. I want to reread it already!  

The Throne of Glass series tells the story of Celaena Sardothien, the 17 year old deadliest warrior in the land, dubbed Adarlan's Assassin and feared by everyone. She's spent the last year in the Salt Mines where prisoners are essentially sent to die, until the Crown Prince arrives with an offer she can't refuse: compete as his participant in a competition to be the King's Champion and win her freedom. But of course, it's never that simple. 

[*Note: Throne of Glass is our book of the month, and we'll be linking up reviews on October 6th!]

I can't decide if Queen of Shadows is fast-paced or I just read it quickly because I love Throne of Glass so much, but I found myself physically trying to slow down. I was hooked even though I wanted to savor it so bad.

I was successful on some days and not so much on others, but I always wanted to tear through it like a fantasy addicted fiend. Even now that I'm done, I find myself thinking about it all the time. In my opinion, that's always a good sign. 

Maas continues to deliver, including multiple high stakes fight scenes, fantastic and pointed one-liners, powerful and impressive prose, as well as a storyline that just keeps on giving. She also does an amazing job at depicting both friendships and relationships while maintaining an aspect of self-discovery as well as continued badassery. It's pretty much everything I was expecting. I took mere decimals off my rating for a few small things (discussed in the spoilery sections below), but it was still phenomenal and I cannot wait for the next installment!

Why a whole year, Sarah J. Maas! Why?!!!! 

To hold me over, I've been creating playlists inspired by Queen of Shadows. Here's a playlist inspired by my favorite ship (romantic, friendship, whatever). Check it out while you're reading or to bide your time until next September!

If you have not read up to and including Heir of Fire, skip down to comment section!


I can't say much here without spoiling Queen of Shadows, so this will be short. And quite frankly, if you've read all of the books up until now, I'm sure you need little prompting to dive into this massive tome. But if you're getting ready to open this bad boy up, be prepared for a grittier and angry story than before. Also prepare to love the ride. 

QoS picks up right where HoF left off.  Celaena's back from Wendlyn, where she learned to tap into her powers and to accept her fate, and she's out for blood. Specifically her old master's. Her plan is to find Arobynn and get back the amulet, but what she returns to in Adarlan is a lot more than she expected. There's Aedion's imprisonment and the possession of bodies by the Valg, not to mention the Dorian ordeal and what remains of his relationship with Chaol. Queen of Shadows attacks all of these issues and more with vigor and expediency while also setting up some burning questions for the rest of the series.   

spoiler-y discussion of QoS in white font below

(highlight to read!)

As I mentioned before, Queen of Shadows was great but not perfect. On one hand, I loved the pacing of the novel, the characterization of many of the characters and most of the plot points. On the other hand, I was saddened by the treatment of a favorite character, Chaol, and a bit frustrated with one of the "reveals."
I'll just come straight out with it. I ship Rowaelin so hard. And although Rowan's persona did shift quite a bit from HoF, I think it flowed from his previous characterization and I'm glad Rowaelin became a thing for a number of reasons. Rowan and Aelin, at this point in their lives, really just fit each other. In many ways they are similar - both are magical, both have lost a lot in their lives and have a hard time dealing with those losses, both can be cold and distant as a protection mechanism, and both are stubborn as all hell. But they are also opposites - the fact that Aelin has fire magic and Rowan is ice/wind is also reflected in their personalities in various ways, Aelin being quite a hot head while Rowan is much more calm and leveled. They enhance each other, sharpen each other, but also balance each other (like the scene in HoF when Aelin damn near overheats and it's Rowan's wind/ice magic that literally saves her life). Every moment between them seems to be teetering on that line between friendship and something more, so it's not surprising that it led that way. It also comments on an interesting concept about romantic love, one that I also subscribe to: romantic love is jut friendship on fire. Some believe that the relationship diminished Rowan a bit because he seemed "softer" this book, but I feel like we caught hints of his gentleness in HoF, especially when he discovers her scars, and that this perceived 'softness' might just be a result of seeing from Rowan's POV much more this book. I really loved the characterization of both Aelin and Rowan.
I didn't however enjoy the characterization of Chaol in this book, who I think was greatly diminished for the first half. I couldn't understand where Chaol was coming from for a while and I found myself getting frustrated by the arguments between him and Aelin. To me, it went beyond misunderstanding and felt very out of character. Chaol, who can usually be relied upon to be a very stable and sure presence, departed quite a bit from this and because this development seemed to come out of nowehere it felt weak. Although I did like how Chaol was in some ways the voice of reason, the Chaol we met at the start of QoS is stubborn and unsympathetic and much too self-loathing in comparison to the Chaol we've grown to love. He does seem to get it together later on, although I have to say I wasn't happy with the conclusion of with the Chaolena relationship or his story arch (paralyzed?!). I understood why she and Chaol couldn't be together after Nehemia's death. Whether Chaol was responsible is debatable, but it's definitely understandable that tragedies like that tear relationships apart. It hurt, but I got it and even agreed with it a little. However, in QoS, it felt like their relationship was written off by angry words thrown at each other and no real resolution, which made it seem like the relationship never really mattered at all.
Aside from my sadness over Chaol, I am absolutely over the moon about the women in this series. OMG the women are so badass. I LOVE THEM ALL! Nesyrn is a great addition to the cast and right off the bat, we can see why she and Chaol would make an excellent fit. She's beautiful, strong, reliable and easy-going. And she's got this understated killer instinct that even Aelin has to take notice of. We see Kaltain this book, which is a surprise (I totally forgot about her!), and although it seems like she's being controlled for her scary powerful shadowfire, it turns out she's been playing these men for fools and burns half the sanctuary to the ground. I legitimately cheered. I also cheered so hard for Lysandra, who might have been my favorite character in this book. I love that he depth that comes with the revelation that she is a shape-shifter and that she enjoys being a vicious as well as sexy. I also love that Maas explores her many talents that she's picked up, adding dimension to her character that I didn't expect. But most of all, I love how loyal and brave she was. Before magic was lifted, she was just as down for the team although she wasn't a fighter or a big bad assassion like the rest. And when she finally got her magic back, she returned when she didn't have to. She killed (literally) in that final battle and I love the genuine friendship developing between her and Aelin. Lysandraland, forever!
Speaking of that final battle, I'm still on the fence about that reveal regarding the king. I admit that I definitely did not see it coming at all, and so that made it an interesting enough twist. The only thing is I'm not sure how believable it was. There's a good chance I'm missing something, but I didn't think it was possible to control other Valgs if you are a Valg yourself. I mean I suppose if you were a Valg king but I don't think that was what happened. I also feel like this revelation wasn't foreshadowed enough in the previous books so it almost feels like it was tacked on. With that said, I'm very interested to see where Maas goes with this, and I have to say that I was glad Dorian killed the king. Dorian Havilliard during that final battle - ain't no weak ones over on this side. (I know, silly... but legit).
And lastly, the standout for me (aside from Lysandra) in this book was Manon Blackbeak and her Thirteen. Manon slays. Big time. I can't even get into all the things I loved because this review would be longer than it already is. However, my favorite moments include her general protectiveness over Elide (sings Manon has a heeaarrtttt) as well as all the tension surrounding the impregnation of the witches (gross). I loved how her Thirteen began to depart and shine as individuals, especially Asterin. Although I thought the Manon chapters were a bit more interesting in HoF, I still really enjoyed these. By far, the best thing ever was Manon meeting the crew :) The fact that her Blackbeak eyes somehow were capable of reaching Dorian in all that darkness (is this ship sailing yet?) and then we get the fight and mutual respect budding between her and Aelin, two of the most badass bitches in all the land. And then Manon's all running flying around doing good deeds and whatnot. Gah! Just gahhhh, I love.
I wish there were 600 more pages, seriously!

What are your thoughts on the series? Be sure to use spoiler warnings in the comments below!