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Thursday, 11 September 2014
Heir Of Fire
Heir Of Fire
Buy or Borrow: Buy!
Source: Copy courtesy of Bloomsbury
Picking up two weeks after the end of Crown of Midnight, we join Celaena in Wendlyn, broken, grieving, but determined to avenge the death of her friend and keep her promise to her. Wendlyn has the answers she needs to destroy the King, sent there by Chaol to keep her safe, she's under orders from the King to assassinate the King and Prince of Wendlyn...who are in actual fact related to her. Celaena's heart won't let her do it, and once warnings have been sent out, she focuses on her own personal mission. Find her Aunt Maeve, Queen of the Fae, and get answers about the Wyrdkeys, Wyrdgate and so on. Although spending her time lying on a roof drinking wine isn't getting her very far, so it's just as well one of Maeve's warriors, Rowan, comes to bring her to the Queen. Except it's not that easy. Celaena will have to stay at Mistward, training with Rowan and learning to use her magic, before she can earn entrance to Doranelle and the answers she seeks. As Celaena finally embraces what she is and who she is, she faces memories long locked away, memories that would break her, but in the end...they make her stronger. Fully in control of her magic and able to shift, when she's put to the test by the King of Adarlans attack on Mistward...will she become who she was meant to be? The Queen she was meant to be? Will she embrace her destiny and resume her old name? A name she tried to forget? Will she be Aelin, or Celaena?
Meanwhile Dorian is struggling to control his magic as his father takes drastic action against the slave uprising, but when he meets a healer named Sorscha, they work to find a way for him to control it. But is Sorscha just the healer she seems? Or is she something more? When Dorian finds out the truth about Celaena, will he become her enemy or still remain her friend? Can Chaol accept Dorian and his magic?
When Celaena's cousin Aedion comes to the court, Chaol is determined to find out what he's up to, but it would seem Aedion isn't as in the thrall of the King as he's leading people to believe, Chaol finds himself immersed in the rebel group, helping them, in order to help Dorian and Celaena, but still unable to accept who his two friends really are.
But the excitement doesn't end there, there's something dark lurking in the Ferian Gap, the Kings new soldiers, after making a bargain with the Ironteeth Witches, they will be the riders of his Wyverns, as they train for the War Games that shall determine which is in charge of them all, something isn't quite right.
When the King of Adarlan goes one step too far, he sets in motion a chain of events no-one will be the same after. Loyalties will change, destinies will be accepted, stakes will be raised, and things will never be the same again.
"She was not becoming anything different from what she always was and always had the capacity to be"
Heir Of Fire is a fantastic new addition to the series and it's expertly changing the direction of the overall story and slowly leading us to the big finale. Things are starting to heat up now, shall we say! (har-de-har-har)
I picked up Throne of Glass last year because everyone was going on about it, and I will admit, I wasn't sure what to expect, and I wasn't sure I'd actually like it, I was expecting some fantasy that was just action? I suppose? I wasn't sure, but as soon as I started reading, I fell in love with the world and the characters and here we are. The fantastic world, the badass and snarky protag, the romance, the humour, the action...it all blends to create a unique blend that is sure to become a favourite!
We've come so far since Throne Of Glass, and things have changed! What started as the story of a mysterious Assassin fighting for her chance to be free, changed to the story of the Kings Champion, trying to keep her friends safe at all costs, while trying to find out what the King us up to. In Heir Of Fire, the story changes to one of magic, Fae, and our hero finally accepting who she is, becoming her true self, and fully ready to kick ass and get this rebellion started....after a little detour in her plans of course!
I love the world, and every time I read a new book in the series, it's like coming home. The world is fantastically built and beautifully written, it's extensive, and we see a little bit more of it in this installment. A more....magical area of the world! I love how the world building is so detailed, but so concise at the same time. This continues in this installment as we explore Wendlyn and Mistward, and eventually Doranelle. All written so vividly you can picture yourself there as you read! It's a world you end up wishing you could visit, and certainly don't want to leave! The world 100% engages you and consumes you, the imagination of the author makes your imagination come alive because the world is so colourful and vivid and mind blowingly extensive.
Thanks for the forest of spiders, with the giant spiders that live there by the way Sarah....I twitched and got all itchy while reading that bit more than once!
The prose is tight, the flow smooth, the pacing just right. Background information is either concisely mentioned to you, or woven in to the story in an interesting way, such as in a flashback, that doesn't upset the narrative and flow and keeps you interested instead of pages of infodump, the same can be said for the concise and beautifully described detail.
There's lots of action, I mean....I feel like a badass reading it all! But it's expertly woven with romance, mystery, magic, history of the world and even some nefarious villainous/creepyness? If that works? All blended together to make sure the book is impossible to put down, there is never a boring section. Whenever I genuinely do have to tear myself away and put the book down, I end up staring at the book forcing myself to not skip read further to see what happens...I couldn't resist the urge when I was reading Crown of Midnight and it made it even more impossible to put down!
Every single character we love so much continues to be written with depth, complexity and multiple dimensions. It's like being surrounded by old friends again, and each of the characters jumps off the page with how vividly and coulourfully they are written.
Celaena is a badass. She's the type of character where I'm like "If they ever make a movie I need to play her" but in reality I'm too lazy, let's be honest. I kinda wish I was her! I love her snark, she makes me laugh one minute, and want to cry another when a shred of her background is given up. She's stronger than I think she thinks she is. Celaena is really easy to connect to, she is complex, but each side of her that's revealed you can empathize with and understand why she's doing whatever she's doing, even if it's killing someone.
Dorian. Well. I love Dorian. It's no secret I ship him with Celaena....what are they? Doraena? Corian? I don't know but I ship it. I love how Dorian has turned out to be more than he appears to be with the whole magic thing. He was never the typical spoiled Prince, with his reading and how kind he is, I just love him and how he's changed in this book, but more on that later. I love how when he finds out who Celaena really is he doesn't really care and still wants to be her friend, because when she found out about his magic she pretty much didn't care, and she understood. I can't wait to see the two of them together in the next book hopefully to see how he reacts to this new Celaena and if she can help him with his magic. The reason I love Dorian with her so much is that he knows what she is and is capable of, but he's never wished for her to be anything else than she is and she hasn't for him, whereas Chaol does. While he may have had a brief flicker of doubt I think he knows she's coming back for him to help him not kill him or whatever.
"The only thing you have the right to do is decide whether you are her enemy or her friend"
Chaol, I like Chaol. He's interesting, with the whole Lord thing and his father, I just don't understand how he can love Celaena but still be more loyal to the King and so on, and while that does change at the end of the book, I still think he's a bit of a prat sometimes! I mean I can't begin to describe to you how much it irritates me that Chaol is all "Celaena claimed" when he's thinking about something bad that she said the King did. To me the whole "she claimed" thing means he doesn't believe her, that's why I can't find it in me to ship them because until the end of HOF admittedly, he's more loyal to the King and he's always disgusted with her killing and so on, even though he loves her he wants her to be something else. I mean he was all whiny and "she was becoming something blah blah blah" no Chaol. No.
"You cannot pick and choose which parts of her to love"
Our three favourite characters have developed so much since Throne of Glass, and they develop even more in this book and I love watching them change and grow. As we find out more about what makes Celaena the way she is, we see the growth she has made that isn't written about in the book, and we see her become stronger as she faces the past, and her scars, and instead of releasing her rage and turning her in to a monster like she thought, it actually helps her become stronger and ready to do what needs to be done. Your perception of her changes with each book and each new shred of information about her background.
Dorians character growth...well....he said "festering shithole you call a court" to his dads face. I may have cheered. He stands up to his father more, he's still everything we loved in the first book, but he's stronger, tougher I think and he's accepted his magic and no longer afraid it, at least at the end.
The plot continues to be complex, it's a chunk of the overall arc of the story, but the individual plots are so complex it's fantastic! I never know where it's going to be honest! Nor do I know what's going to happen next, which is mildly terrifying when you love characters as much as you love these ones! The thing is, that when you actually finish reading, and you think back on the book as you process it....you realize there where little clues scattered throughout about what was going to happen or about big reveals and so on! I however, am too engrossed in reading the book to actually notice them!
I've gotten chills more than once reading these books, I'm not gonna lie to you!
There's still things we don't know, like what happened with Sam fully, who really betrayed her, if it was really Arobynn, and if so why? and so on. But I actually enjoy how we don't know everything, and certain background information is eked out in scraps, it keeps the intrigue, and you sit there trying to work it out with what you do know and the clues provided! It genuinely keeps it interesting and fresh, although I do fail at predicting and working any of it out!
The story isn't just told from Celaena's point of view, and in HOF, the POV's of Chaol and Dorian are even more important as instead of just providing their insight about Celaena, or different reactions to events etc, their POV's keep us informed of what's happening back in Rifthold. While there's the POV of Rowan, which lets us know he's not a total douche in the beginning and lets us see behind is exterior, there's also the POV of Manon, one of the Blackbeak Ironteeth witches, which is ridiculously intriguing because we're getting a glimpse of what the King is up to.
The POV switching continues to be flawless, smoothly continuing the story and the narrative. Often they add intrigue, or they add some information that adds to the story or explains something. I love the different POVs, they just add another dimension to the story, seeing characters inner thoughts sometimes so different to how they act towards a character and so on. Each character has different information so they all react differently to different situations and people. There's also the right amount of each characters POV to keep it interesting, so you don't get bored, or are left with a cliffhanger from one POV that doesn't get resolved until halfway through the book or whatever. The timing of the POV changes is perfect.
We get new characters in this book, which probably isn't a surprise. One of my favourites being Aedion, he was mentioned in the last book, he's Aelins cousin, and he's a source of more background and a better glimpse of Celaena's childhood. I really like him! Initially he seems a bit shady and suspect, because you think he's on the Kings side, but eventually your opinion changes when you find out more about him! He's clearly Fae, he sensed the ring was dodgy, and then you start to realize he's playing a game with the King. Like his "Bane" aren't actually soldiers, they're rebels, and when I read he staged all the battles I was like "that's it....you're one of my favourites now".
Aedion is a lot softer than he looks, which I loved, from his POV it was mildly heartbreaking reading how much he loved being called Cousin, how much he loves Aelin, and he blames himself for what happened, your opinion really changes of him in a short space of time. I actually really feel for him.
Then there's Sorscha.....no. Sarah, no. She's Dorians love interest of the book, and for me, who ships him with Celaena, you can imagine the amount of No I felt! I can't deny she was interesting! She was a part of the story I didn't see coming! Especially as she was the unnamed healer who's been patching the three of them! My poor Dorian/Celaena shipper heart. I genuinely just went "No" out loud a couple of times! Although, I know I was all "nooo go away Sorscha noooo nooo noooo", that didn't mean I wanted her killed off though!
Rowan....man I love Rowan. I kind of thought he was a bit of a prick in the beginning, but his POV changed that, and eventually you end up loving him, there's more than meets the eye with him. He's a rival for my love for Dorian to be honest, I can't quite work out whether to ship Rowan and Celaena or not because I'm not too sure if they're heading in that direction? I wasn't quite sure if it was romance or what. I liked Rowan because Celaena can tell him things like killing Grave and instead of being disgusted like Chaol, he understands and just says good. Rowan's suffered loss like her and he understands her and her reactions to it, and she can tell him things she's never told anyone else, he doesn't judge her and they work well together i think. I loved fussy Rowan, I need more of Rowan fussing, it's adorably hilarious regardless of if there's romance brewing or not!
"Oh he was definitely fussing, and though it warmed her miserable heart, it was becoming rather irritating"
As previously mentioned, we meet Manon and get her POV, this was a genius way to give us loads of info about the Ironteeth witches without boring us, and as I said, we see what the Kings up to. This also leads us to meeting Wyverns, who are incredibly intriguing because Manon's at least can understand what she's saying. It's also kind of weird, because Manon is the enemy really, she's going to be fighting for the King but I ended up becoming oddly attached to her? And actually empathizing with her and I actually really like her, she's badass, and she's not as heartless as she seems! I love watching her with Abraxos and I'm intrigued by how he understands her and excited to see where their story is going. Manon changes over the course of the book a fair bit.
While learning more about Baba Yellowlegs's people, we also learn a lot more about the Fae and magic in general, how magic works, some of the different types, Maeve's warriors, the Fae Hierarchy, culture, customs, legends and so on, all of which is incredibly rich and detailed and well....magical. Although I stand by the fact Maeve is a bitch and refuse to feel sorry for her, I'm seeing a death in her future. I enjoyed the unique spin on the Fae, how they weren't all Etheral and Legolas like, they where predators and there's lots of snarling and growling and sharp pointy teeth.
We also meet Ren, who I have a feeling is going to become very important. Like Rowan and Aedion, Ren and his Grandfather are the first members of Aelins new court. Ren being double sword dude from COM who was guarding Chaol and I didn't like, but now I do because I feel kind of bad for him, and I can't wait to see his face when he realizes Celaena is his Queen muahahaa. Someone's in for a rude awakening!
Another character I think worth a mention is Emrys, and actually Luca, Emrys was a friend of Aelin's mother, and I'm sure he's going to be making a reappearance and is going to be important? A member of her court? I don't know but he was a character I like because he was just what Celaena needed!
Each of these new characters has just as much detail, depth and complexity put in to them as the main characters, and I loved how they weren't just shoved there to further the story with no adequate detail to them.
I loved watching Celaena start to control the shift and use the power she thought she'd lost, it makes her even more badass, but it also helps her change again, and bring her back to almost who she should have been maybe? It was heartwarming to watch her stop fearing her power and losing control of it like she did as a child and actually become adept at using it.
I'm loving how each book adds another layer to Celaena. In TOG we knew the bare minimum about her background, it was expanded on more in COM and in HOF we finally learn a hell of a lot about what happened the night her parents died, what led her to becoming an assassin, and I love how we get more backstory layered on each book. Each book we get another layer, or a deeper explanation to something we already knew, this time for instance, we learned why she'd climbed in to their bed, the feeling she had etc.
We get more hints about her life at the Assassins Keep, and more glimpses of her childhood, meeting baby Dorian, her relationship with Aedion, we actually meet her parents and a character called Lady Marion who's daughter's whereabouts are unknown after what happened. Then, in an interesting format, we get the entirety of what happened when her parents died. The Kings visit, why they left the castle, the deaths, what happened after and how she ended up in the river.
We had a mystery in the form of the weird creature Celaena encounters near the beginning and then the bodies showing up, which of course is connected to something much deeper, but I didn't work out until I was told in the book! There's also the whole thing where Manon thinks the humans and meat taste wrong, so I'm wondering if the King is drugging the humans the meat to drug the witches to keep them compliant or weak or whether the proximity to one of the keys is messing with things?
Ooohh before I forget, we see Celaena's apartment! The one she left to Chaol! Man was it sad seeing it through Aedions eyes as he tries to get a feel for her! But she clearly retained her memories as much as she tried to shove her past down! It's interesting to watch Aedions impression of her form through what he learns from Chaol or her living area. He and Celaena had a bond of some sort, which I'm excited to see explored more. I genuinely ridiculously excited for Aedion and Celaena (Still not sure what to call her now!) meet for the first time!
Aedion thinks he failed her, Celaena thinks he hates her and she failed him and you just want to bang their heads together, she's worried of him seeing what's become and what she's done, and Aedions worried about her finding out his deeds as well, when in reality they'll both understand and UGH I JUST NEED THEM TO MEET NOOOOW! Although when I said that I didn't mean "oh let's have Aedion capture by the King and set to be executed so she has to risk her neck to save him which she will and it probably won't end well and there will be pain and suffering". Not sure how I feel about the whole "oh Aedion could be King" thing though.
Thanks to Aedion, like I said, we see what young Celaena was like, but we also see what happened the day magic left, or more accurately was frozen, and we learn what probably happened with the three towers forming a triangle, and the spell freezing magic, which brings us to how to unfreeze it, which I'm excited to see tackled in the next book.
There's plenty of intrigue to keep you interested, some of which is answered, some of which is not. I'd love to see more of Rowan's Cadre as Celaena calls them, more of Rowan interacting with them, i'm intrigued by them and how they all came to be! The interesting question raised about if Chaol is her mate seeing as she shouldn't have been able to attempt to kill him if he was. I'm thinking he's not but then I'm biased!
I love how while I ship Dorian and Celaena, you can pretty much ship whoever together, there's potential with Rowan, there's Chaol, and the pairings change each book, you see them with other people, except for Chaol, and nothing is set in stone until the last book when the series is done, one pairing isn't shut off just because they're not together anymore, there's still possibility and I'm finding it hard to predict who the end pair will be! But I love how the relationships flow and change with each book and plot.
There's things mentioned from TOG as well as COM so you need to keep your wits about you because something you thought had no meaning or importance in one of those two, could come back and bite you in the ass when you're reading HOF and you're like "ooooooooohhhh wait I get it!". I'm sure the same will be said for the next book!
I love how HOF starts the ball rolling towards the inevitable ending and show down with the King, but shows you there's still much to be done before we reach that stage. The story keeps changing each book while following an overarching storyline, each book becomes and is something different, changing direction each time, if that makes sense? The story started as one thing and now in book 3 it's something else, and will be something else in the next book.
The slaves....so much no! That was heartbreaking and ugh. Feels. As you read things start to click in to place for this book, but from the others as well and it's such a great feeling when you finally put the pieces together, although in this case it caused an intense rage at Dorians father. Yes, I'm referring to what I already mentioned, the day Dorian and his father came to Orynth, and before, during and after her parents death. It was really heartbreaking to read and I very nearly cried, I'm not going to lie. I just felt so much for her in those pages. Not just for the deaths and what she witnessed but the King doing whatever to her mind and making her lose control of her magic, something we read about happening before and you feel for how scared that makes her.
I'm intrigued to know more about this bond between her and Rowan, Carranam, and what it means for them, and I'm really sad she left him behind while she pretends to be Celaena in Rifthold again to get the last key. And yes I say pretends because I think she's Aelin again now. But seriously? No Rowan? We just got him!
The romance will be taking a new direction and I'm curious to see where it's going, Celaena would always choose Chaol, but she'll be coming back as Aelin, masquerading as Celaena. Aelin won't choose him, I can see why she shouldn't choose Dorian because of what his father did, but I don't think he's quite out of the running. Aedion could well be in it for all I know!
There's the whole vision of the future that Narrok gave her as a warning, it's going to be interesting to see her battle the temptation that will have the vision come true. We know what the King is up to in the Ferrian Gap and Dead Islands, e.g. Wyverns and Varg, but I'm curious about what's happening in the third line of power place, Morath, where Roland and Kaltain are? Kaltain is clearly so much more than a bitchy pain in the ass, and I'm beginning to think Roland isn't the evil/villain type person I had him pegged as. Hopefully more of them soon!
We learn of a character I already mentioned called Lady Marion, who was her mothers handmaiden, and her sacrifice Celaena feels like she used it to become a monster which is why she can't and won't go home. But more importantly Lady Marion has a daughter who is the heir to her fathers lands as he was a Lord, she's supposed to still be alive, and clearly is going to be important in one of the upcoming books. That's going to be something to look forward to! She'll hopefully be another court member, if they can find her, but from her age, i'm hoping she'll be a friend for Celaena.
We see Aelin/Celaena's future court forming, there's Emrys and Luca, Malakai, Rowan, Aedion and I'm assuming Dorian and Chaol. I'll be interested to see if Manon ends up joining them in the end. She's not like the others of her kind and I'm curious.
Towards the end of the book things are subtly set in place for the next book, the Amulet of Orynth that Celaena needs to retrieve, which means we'll learn more about Arobynn and her time at the Keep i'm hoping and assuming! Then there's the whole rescuing Aedion thing, who's essentially bait for her, and don't get me started on Dorian. Just don't. I mean one minute he's all "Celaena and I will change the world" then it's all here Dad let me hit you with my magic, oh you want to put that dodgy collar on me that all the Varg demon things have been wearing?" and then it's all "lol books over have a nice year long wait bitches." I shit you not. That's how things are left. Is Dorian possessed by a Varg now? Is he just under his fathers control? I don't know but it needs to be sorted like.....as soon as the next book starts! I'm just very excited for Team Dorian and Celaena to take on the King.
Don't get me wrong, the ending is all so cliffhangery with our heroes in trouble and whatnot, although Chaol has appeared to team up with Ren....that'll be interesting seeing them gather the remaining Lords now the call has essentially gone out, the end few chapters are made of no, and to be honest I thought after that battle it was all good, evidently I was wrong and this ending sprung out of nowhere. Anyways, the last few sentences where so spinetingle-ingly powerful it makes me excited for the next one!
Heir Of Fire is a fantastic addition to an incredible series that is one of my utmost favourites. It's full of humour, emotion both good and bad, romance, action, rich history and lore, magic, mystery and so much more all blended together to create a perfectly unique slice of an overarching storyline that gets more and more epic in scale. You race through the story needing to know what happens next, and then BHAM, a powerful ending that leaves you with an agonizing wait to see what happens to characters so well loved that they're more like friends. You're always sad to leave the world and eager to get back to it and I can't wait for the next installment to see how the characters grow and change, and to see where the story takes us next.
Buy it, read it, love it. You won't regret it. This series is set to become a classic up there with LOTR and GOT in my opinion. I shall patiently await the movie adaption *hinthint*