Book: Kingdom of Ash
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, #7
Genre: High Fantasy
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
“Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom …”
It’s coming down to the end. Aelin has played all her cards and now it’s up to her allies, friends, and family to prepare and defend her home and the world from an enemy promised to doom everything in his path. But their focus is drawn thin when battles take form in separate areas and when another enemy gets involved. Racing to meet in the middle, Aelin’s court and allies march through obstacles to their final battle. Their one goal: a better world.
“Let’s make this a fight worthy of a song.”
Kingdom of Ash, the final instalment in the Throne of Glass series, exceeded my expectations. I was on the edge of my seat due to the high stakes. It was easy to jump back into this world and be engrossed in the story because of my love for the characters, because the long anticipated wait for this final was beautifully set-up by the previous books, and because this was the best written and paced book in the entire series. It was a stellar conclusion that left me mourning the story I invested many years in.
You would think that a one thousand page book would contain at least a few slow scenes, but I was surprised to find that despite all the war talk and battles that took place, I was never bored. It was clear that everything, every last word, was needed, was intentional to fully complete this epic seven-book series. I was onboard with everything Maas had included.
I entered this series fiercely loving Chaol and left it fiercely loving Dorian.
This book. This book.
It was everything. And let me tell you, I was worried that Maas had added too many characters on her plate; the original melding with those from Tower of Dawn. Potentially causing the pacing to not work if so many characters had point-of-views, that there would be too many small story-lines going on with all the separated groups, and that I would not enjoy any of the characters because of all the jumping around. But I had no trouble with any of these aspects in the book because no one was added as a filler, everyone had a purpose for the bigger picture Maas wanted to paint, and most importantly, I love all the characters. There wasn’t really a character I didn’t enjoy or wasn’t interested in reading about.
The most significant event that we start off with is Aelin’s captivity. Her experience preceding her escape was rough. She was forced to endure one of the hardest trials that I have ever read a character go through. It was hard to read those chapters. But on the other side of it I feel like it brought back the character previous to the one I couldn’t connect with in Empire of Storms. I talked about it in my review for that book, but Aelin, to me, became this unreachable robot. A plot device, not a character who possessed relatable human qualities. I guess what I’m trying to say is that from the point of her recovery, it made me see a more raw and human side of her. She was no longer this disconnected character that was only being used to drive the plot forward. She wasn’t just spending her time swaggering and scheming. I just think she was really powerful in this book, and not just in the physical sense. Her development was beautiful, and there were a couple of scenes from her that really stood out.
“Fireheart, why do you cry? And from far away, deep within her, Aelin whispered toward that ray of memory, Because I am lost. And I do not know the way.”
And Rowan? I honestly don’t have much to say about him. He is my least favourite in the series and he didn’t make a significant impact in this book, at least from my perspective. I disliked Rowan in Empire of Storms. Did that change for the better in this book? A little. But not by much. There were so many other main characters to be invested in that I wasn’t bothered by his inevitable presence.
Let’s talk about the chapters I looked forward to the most. With Manon and Dorian and The Thirteen. Because, yes, I’m Manon and Dorian trash, and all I want in life is for them to admit their feelings, get married, and be happy. But it hurts when your favourite pairing is so stubborn. They had some great moments though. I really hope they did end up getting married because what a badass power-couple they would be. And Manon deserves nice things because she lost so much.
Speaking of loss… I don’t think I’ve ever been punched in the gut, at least not until The Thirteen made their sacrifice. Yes, I sobbed, on the train surrounded by strangers, may I add. I mean it when I say it ruined my week. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. But I was also immensely moved by this scene. Moved by the way it represented the power of friendship, family, and sacrifice. What one is willing to do for those they love, for a brighter future, for something they believe in. I just wanted to give my friends and family all hugs after that. It really made me think and feel like no scene ever has.
“Live, Manon. Live.”
Speaking of deaths and sacrifice… Gavriel’s death hit me pretty hard too. But putting aside my sadness for these two major death scenes, I appreciate that they died for a good reason. Maas could have easily killed off a few of her mains for the sake of killing them. Instead, I can tell she put a lot of thought into these character deaths. Again, every little detail was intentional, everything that happened was for an important purpose.
“Yet the songs would mention this—that the Lion fell before the western gate of Orynth, defending the city and his son.”
Anytime we reach a final in a long series, it’s exciting because of the long years leading up to the big moments. In Kingdom of Ash especially, reunions and first meetings between characters were finally happening . The entire series lead up to all of these relationships and interactions and to be able to finally read about them was everything. For example, Elide and Lorcan and Aedion and Lysandra becoming a couple, the Dorian and Yrene meeting, and the Aelin and Yrene and Chaol and Dorian reunion. Just all the characters coming together and combining their strengths to fight for a better world was a powerful and emotional sight to witness.
“Aelin looked at Chaol and Dorian and sobbed. Opened her arms to them, and wept as they held each other. “I love you both,” she whispered. “And no matter what may happen, no matter how far we may be, that will never change.”
I’m not even exaggerating when I say it was hard to sit still while reading this book. But from all the excitement and nervousness I had obtained, it was understandable. There was so much at stake, there was tons of bloodshed, and the battles lasted for pages upon pages. I found it to be really unsettling. It caused me a lot of anxiousness. But I also find aspects of politics and war in fantasy books to be really interesting, which is why Kingdom of Ash is highly rated by me.
This final was epic. It was powerful and it affected me in ways I wasn’t expecting. The mourning period I endured when I finished this book was tough. As you can already tell, Kingdom of Ash was an emotional ride for me and it wrapped this long series up in a satisfying and heart-wrenching way. I expect nothing less from Queen Maas.
“Passed over one of those mountains, where a winged male stood beside a heavily pregnant female, gazing at those very stars. Fae.”
I can’t forget. That little Feysand cameo was everything. Adding an extra layer to my already intense emotions. It was such a tease though. I want to know more about this new exciting chapter of theirs.
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