Read: 18 August, 2018
I found this to be the weakest of the series so far. The pace, which has been a fair trot throughout, slows right down. Not only is this book the longest of the first three, it also has far less plot.
In summary, Celaena has been sent to a continent that still has magic so that she can learn to control her powers. She discovers a handful of things along the way, she makes a few new friends, but the whole book is essentially a really loooong training montage.
To pad this out, we get a bit back in Rifthold as Dorian gets a romance sub-plot and Chaol discovers the rebels. This still isn’t enough to fill the run time, however, so we also get Manon – a witch who has been recruited by the king. Unfortunately, her plot is also a training montage, so much of the book goes back and forth between her and Celaena, as they each get incrementally more powerful.
While I’m sure Manon’s plot will be important, delivering it in this way just bogged the story down. Celaena needed her training, but the book could have focused on Dorian and Chaol’s plots, or even Celaena’s mystery with the weird corpses they keep finding. That, and maybe cut about a hundred pages, too.
Also symptomatic of the editing issues with this book, every character seems to “purr” all their lines.
The pacing made this a tougher book to finish than the preceding two. That said, I do like increasing plotlines and character depth as we spend more time with the cast. And while I didn’t particularly feel that Manon’s plot fit into this book, I do like where her story is going. I also really like the way friendships are treated in this series – Celaena’s devotion to Nehemia is beautiful, and Chaol telling Dorian that he loves him was absolutely perfect. Friendships often get pushed to the sidelines in fiction, and it’s great to see them treated as relationships that are every bit as deep and important as romances.