Author: Sarah J. Maas
So don’t kill me. This is the lowest official rating I’ve ever given an SJM book, but if I had my blog when I read Crown Of Midnight that may have been lower. To give you some context, I LOVED Throne Of Glass, HATED Crown Of Midnight, and gradually came to love the series again as it continued. But KoA, whilst being an epic end to this ambitious saga, was just too much. Where did the brave and snarky prisoner and her contest to be the king’s assassin go?? As much as I admire SJM’s world building and her ambition, I can’t deal with high fantasy novels with this much stuff. That is just a personal preference, and I can see why some people would die for this series – but for me, it’s become too Game Of Thrones.
*SPOILERS FROM HERE ONWARDS*
Props to SJM for the emotional rollercoaster! My eyes were watering the whole time, but there were two moments which made me bawl: Dorian reuniting with Chaol and Aelin, and ofc the Thirteen all Yielding to save Manon and the rest of the court. This series feeds off tragedy and sacrifice experienced by its characters, but it used to keep hope at the forefront too. I think this is what separates Kingdom Of Ash from the other instalments – the characters have lost hope completely and still keep fighting.
Unfortunately for me, the war and politics kind of fell flat. I don’t care for the battle strategy and endless fighting, and I know this is personal taste but I prefer books which focus on a smaller group of characters rather than multiple continents worth. I kept getting confused and I’d completely forgotten characters like Borte, Fenrys, Gavriel, Falkan, Nox Owen, Darrow, Rhiannon Crochan and quite a few more.
However, there were multiple moments that had me in awe of the beauty that SJM has produced from this novel:
- Evangeline and Darrow – Her fate as a lady of Terresan warms my heart because if anyone deserves the world, it’s Evangeline. The way that Darrow admires her had me tearing up and it shows how even the most experienced people can learn from someone with a kind soul.
- Elide riding into the battlefield to find Lorcan – Not only does this show how much these two truly mean to each other, it shines a much needed spotlight on the brave, reckless and strong-hearted nature of Elide. It reminds us that she will not be broken by her past, and would die for her friends to have a bright future.
- Fenrys breaking the blood oath – Firstly, Fenrys and Aelin’s relationship whilst she was trapped was perfect. They were each other’s reason not to break, and this can be relevant to anyone with any kind of struggle in our world. When Fenrys sacrificed his life to save Aelin, he truly demonstrated how much they’ve grown together and because of each other.
There are more, but these are definitely my top three.
Overall, very mixed feelings about this novel. I think it was too long, too dense, and too ambitious, but it was also full of beautiful, heart-warming and heart-breaking moments. It might just be down to whether or not you enjoy high fantasy, politics-and-war-centric series or smaller, more character-driven stories.