Review: Heir of Fire – Sarah J. Maas

HOF

5 out of 5 stars
Spoilers ahead.

She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.

First published in September 2014, Heir of Fire is the third novel in Sarah J. Maas’s acclaimed series, Throne of Glass. Following the separate adventures of multiple protagonists both old and new, HoF serves as a fantastic continuation of an already amazing series.

Celaena Sardothien returns, but now has one extra trauma following her as she travels to a new continent under the guise of assassinating one of the King’s rival leaders, to seek the aid of the Fae queen, Maeve. Whilst she is away learning the true extent of her powers, Dorian and Chaol find themselves caught up in a plot within the glass palace of Adarlan as Dorian’s newly discovered magic grows and Chaol learns more about the rebel’s plans to help find and raise the missing princess of Terrasen back to power.

A LOT happened in this book, but I was exceptionally pleased to find that at not a single point did I ever feel bored whilst reading it.

First and foremost, the writing style that Sarah J. Maas has is simply stunning. I envy her ability to bring to life a world so complex in a way that is both poetic and robust. She was able to string together a scene with so much ease and with so much vivid description that it was easy to picture everything in my head. Maas has a way with words, not only in creating amazing characters but also building worlds. Both seemed to jump out of the page as though they were real – like Celeana really had gone through these ordeals and this kingdom really did bring about so much pain.

As I said before, the world-building in this novel is spot on. Not only do we get to return to Adarlan and finally get answers about some of the more questionable structures around the glass palace, but we get introduced to the new continent of Wendlyn and the Demi-Fae village. Even the Fae kingdom is explored. Everything is so vivid and stunning to imagine, and not once did I find any plot holes regarding where things were, what the environment was like and what season it could possibly be.

Though the world building is definitely a highlight of the book, it doesn’t hold a candle to the sheer volume of character development that transpires. As well as returning to old characters, strong new characters are introduced and definitely hold their own amongst the originals.

Naturally, the first person to talk about is Celaena. At the end of Crown of Midnight, it is revealed that Celaena is actually the lost princess of Terrasen, Aelin Ashryver Galathynius.

She was Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, heir of two mighty bloodlines, protector of a once-glorious people, and Queen of Terrasen.

At the beginning of the novel, Celaena is found drinking herself into a stupour on the roof of a building in Wendlyn. I found it to be a very ‘Celaena’ thing to be doing – I liked her character from start to finish. During the first half of the novel, I could feel her pain as she continued to mourn the loss of Nehemia and not once did it ever really feel played out. In a lot of modern media, the strong female character is never allowed to show any kind of self-pity or mourn for too long a period of time less they start to be seen like whiney brats. I’m guilty of judging characters like that way too often in the past. But – and I’m not sure if this shows growth within myself – in this novel I never felt that. The mourning process felt natural, and all the while Celaena kept feeling like the character from the beginning of the series. She had definitely taken a step backwards in her character growth, but that felt like a natural step. The process of grieving was just right, and a great example for other YA novels – it showed that it is okay to take your time grieving the loss of someone close to you, that you can learn in your own time that you won’t ever be the same but things will get better. By the point Celaena has learnt this within the novel, so much information has been learnt about her that you can fully understand the depth of the trauma that she’s been through, that her mourning was more than just for her friend, but for the nation that she left behind. She grows up and makes a stand, keeping her grief has the kindling for her wildfire.

Dorian was just the same as he was before – he was a good character and definitely one that I root for. He’s another teenager who is growing into a strong adult. Learning to control his magic, dealing with a rift in his friendship with Chaol, and discovering more about himself as a person are only a few of the things that he does within this novel. He falls in love with a healer named Sorscha, and that act in and of itself sets him on a new path that I found interesting until it was cut short by a certain event towards the end of the novel. I may have warned spoilers but I won’t be THAT cruel.

I could go on and on about each and every one of the characters – Chaol’s growth in his understanding of the world, Aedion’s will to sacrifice everything to get his cousin back, Rowan’s search for freedom and learning to listen closer to a person’s heart, and Manon being an utter badass. Each and every one of these characters feel special to me in their own ways, and their perspectives never felt as though they were blending together in a way that made them feel identical. Each character had their own issues, their own personalities, ideas, thoughts and feelings; they were unique to themselves and because of the sheer amount of characters being introduced I was astounded to find that.

Heir of Fire is the sequel I was looking for in this series. Crown of Midnight was fantastic, yes, but this stepped up the game in a way that I had been anticipating since picking the book up on its release day. I’m sad that I didn’t pick it up sooner but I was definitely not disappointed by anything Sarah J. Maas had to offer. I look forward to reading Queen of Shadows and eventually Empire of Storms because I feel as though Sarah J. Maas is only just getting started and that she has so much more to offer.

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