Thursday, September 4, 2014
Review - Heir of Fire
Heir of Fire
Sarah J. Maas
Bloomsbury Publishing UK & ANZ
I stumbled across this series back at the beginning of the year because the first two books were part of the Kindle post-Christmas sale. I'm really picky when it comes to high fantasy - I either love it immediately or I hate it with a fiery passion, and the odds of me loving it are about 1 in 10. So I'm not usually willing to spend a whole lot on high fantasy books. So when I came across Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight for about $2 each, I figured it was worth a shot. It took me a while to get into the first book, but once I did, I was sold and immediately read Crown of Midnight, which I loved even more.
All of which is a VERY long-winded way of saying that I was indescribably excited when I got approved for an ARC of Heir of Fire. Right. Fangirl gushing aside, let's get on with the actual review, shall we?
I LOVED IT. It's long, yes, but it's worth every single second that it takes you to get through those 565 pages. The story this time around is split between multiple characters in multiple locations, which I think was part of why I loved it so much. We still get Celaena's story - she's abroad learning about her own kind and how to use her fae powers. And, for the first time, we see what happened to her between finding her parents dead and being rescued from the river. Celaena's opening up properly about her past for the first time, and we can see just how broken she really is.
But we also get narration from Chaol, who's struggling with the idea of going home. We get Dorian's story, who's learning more about himself and what his father's been doing, and making new friends along the way. And we get the story from Manon Blackbeak's perspective, which was definitely the most interesting for me. Look, I know that the witches are antagonists in this world, I know that. But Manon is such an AMAZING character that I couldn't help but love her. Yes, she's cold and brutal and part of a really messed up society. And yet I still found myself cheering for her time and time again. I can't wait to see what the rest of the series has in store for Manon and her wyvern, Abraxos.
We also get a new major character, the fae prince Rowan Whitethorn. I'll admit, I had a tough time with Rowan to begin with. He was all broody and demanding and kind of a jerk. But as we learn his story, and as he and Celaena bond, I came to really like him. Celaena + Rowan = BroTP, you guys. I love that there's no hints of romance between them. They're just two soldiers thrown together by circumstances, and they form a really significant friendship as a result. It's pretty great to see that kind of non-romantic relationship in young adult fiction.
It's darker than the first two books, and the ending was pretty mindblowing. The writing felt cleaner and more developed, and the changing narration worked beautifully. It's very action oriented - moreso that the previous books - and there are few signs of the "which pretty dress shall I wear today?" Celaena that we knew in Ardalan.
In short, fabulous new characters, awesome new settings, incredible character development and darker, more compelling writing. Heir of Fire is definitely a strong contender for my favourite book of the year. And given that I've read over 170 books this year, that's really saying something...
Does this sound like something you'd read? (Hell, even if it doesn't, you really should. Because it's amazing. If I could give it more than five stars, I would.)
Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Heir of Fire is available in Australia and the UK on 11 September, and is already available in the US.