Well guys, here we are. The conclusion to the epic, loved world-wide Throne of Glass series. It’s been a journey.
It started with an assassin, it ended with a queen. Eight action-packed, kick-ass feminist books to rattle the stars.
I wasn’t an instant fan of this series, book 1 was pretty terrible (you can read my sarcastic, somewhat cutting review here, it’s kind of weird to look back on!) but these books, despite their faults, have steadily built a unique and complex world with a vast array of kick-ass characters I have become utterly invested in. Each book was better than the last; filling a YA fantasy void in my heart I had long been waiting for.
So, how did the finale stack up? Let’s break it down!
*Please be aware that although this post is spoiler free for Kingdom of Ash, it will have spoilers for the other books in the series if you have not read them yet. You have been warned!*
“Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom …”
In Empire of Storms, we left our characters scattered and Kingdom of Ash picks up right where we left off, the chapters alternating perspectives: We have Aelin, captured in an Iron box by Maeve, prepping herself for mental and physical torture. Aedion and Lysandra fight the hosts of Morath, attempting to hold the line and conceal that their salvation, the Fire Bringer, is off the playing field. Dorian and Manon go on the hunt for the Crochan witches and 3rd Wrydkey. Chaol, Yrene and Nesryn sail back after their adventures in Tower of Dawn, straight into an unplanned battle to defend Chaol’s long-estranged home, while Rowan, Elide, Lorcan and the rest of the Fae warriors search for Aelin to set her free.
Maas slowly pulls and tugs at each storyline, weaving the threads together until the characters start to meet up again (and each time this happened, I did a little sob and then a fist pump because YAY TEAM).
For obvious reasons, I can’t say too much about the plot without going down spoiler alley, however, I can say it was everything I hoped it would be. The fight against Morath was intense, the battle to close the Wrygate was emotionally draining and turned me into a wobbly mess, and our characters kicked some serious ass!
However, I did think some of the plot points and events that turned the tide of battle were a bit too convenient. I also don’t think battles are Maas’s writing strong suit, BUT all the great character moments mostly made up for this!
“Let’s make this a fight worthy of a song.”
This is my one area of contention with this book. I feel like the pacing was off. Point blank, I don’t think this book needed to be 900-ish pages. There are a lot of battle scenes in Kingdom of Ash, but many of them started to feel repetitive as they didn’t really vary in tactics. Sarah J Maas does make a great attempt at putting in mini showdowns throughout that slowly get bigger and increase in intensity until you reach the finale, but despite this, it still felt like the novel took too long to gain momentum, and when I was halfway through it felt like things were still only just getting started! Despite this, I still continued to read at a steady pace until I got to the end, where I raced through about 300 pages in one day!
“She was Aelin Ashryver Whitehorn Galathynius—and she would not be afraid.”
The character development in Kingdom of Ash was EVERYTHING, and let’s face it, these gorgeous beings are why most of us are still reading 8 books down the line! The thing that is so rare about this series in comparison to all others, is I can say that I care about every single characters’ journey and it would be hard for me to pick one over another! These characters have all been through so many hardships; beaten, broken down, abused, and yet they still rise defiant and fighting for a better world. For each other. It’s hard not to be in awe and feel like you are witnessing something special. Reading this book, I was in a CONSTANT STATE OF FEAR for all my Erilea friends. I felt like I was back in the Hunger Games, desperately worried about who was going to make it out alive.
Every single main character in KoA goes through their own stunning character development, but I would be here all day if I tried to talk about it all. So I’m just going to pick 3, the ones that started it all.
Aelin has a really hard time of it in KoA. Based on where we left her, we knew things wouldn’t be pretty, but her journey was so much more heartbreaking than I expected. She is battered and bruised, tormented, stripped back to her very core, and it is agonising seeing everything that defines her taken away and watching her struggle back to the surface again. I can’t deny that I really missed having the more kick-ass, sass-welding bitch queen around, but it was amazing to read about Aelin going through a new trial, and coming out the other side!
Oh wowsaz, this little pup of a prince has grown so much since book 1. The prince who used to be a whiny playboy, finding excuses to skirt his responsibility, is now a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He has stepped up in every way that counts, and in KoA, we get to see him face all his inner demons for the first time and address his complex feelings towards his father. I was so satisfied with how his story resolved!
I have never liked Chaol, but Maas did something I never thought was possible and brought me over to his side with the novel Tower of Dawn, with the help of introducing a new character Yrene, a healer who takes no s***t, including whiny Chaol’s! Despite being physically broken, Chaol comes out emotionally stronger than ever with Yrene at his side. In KoA, we get to see Chaol face his childhood trauma and resolve all the things unsaid with Aelin, FINALLY. Thank, Silba.
“To whatever end,” he whispered.
Silver lined her eyes. “To whatever end.”
Oh dear god, all the ships were sailing in this book, I could barely contain myself. Even the romantic pairings I hadn’t particularly been on board with before crawled their way into my heart and started nesting. Lorcan and Elide, I am looking at you! BE STILL MY BEATING HEART.
There were so many grand declarations of love throughout KoA, and after every heart to heart I was like OHH GOD ONE OF THEM’S GOING TO DIE and started double, triple and quadruple guessing Maas’s evil intentions.
I must admit, the sure volume of smooshy scenes and I-will-follow-you-even-in-death-into-the-afterlife babble was actually pretty laughable if you sat back and analysed it too much, but when you’re immersed in the story, well, it makes you a little weak at the knees.
I am so thankful to Sarah J Maas for creating this series. It has its faults (lack of good character diversity is a BIG ONE) but wow, it has been a ride. What I am grateful for, over everything else – over the shipping, the sass, and the epicness of it all, is that Maas has created a story full of complex female characters I can be proud of. Every one of these women is strong in every sense of the word, whether physically, emotionally or mentally. I am so glad that every young woman who reads these novels will have these characters to look up to. I will take away from these books Aelin’s sass, Yrene’s compassion, Elide emotional strength, Manon’s cunning, and Lysandra’s determination.
When I read about these women, I feel like I am capable of anything, and I hope they inspire a generation of women to rattle the stars whether using their mind or their heart.
Favourite KoA scene: The plains | Favourite Book: Heir of Fire
Favourite Villian: Arobynn Hamel | Favourite power: Fire-bringer
Favorite Male Character: Rowan | Favourite Female Character (excluding Aelin): Yrene
Overall Impression: 4/5
Writing Style 4/5
Character Development 5/5
Would I recommend this book? I would recommend the whole series!
Have you read Kingdom of Ash yet? Are you a survivor of Maas destruction? What does the Throne of Glass series mean to you? Tell me all about your favourite characters and books in the series!
NOTE: Please be mindful re spoilers in the comments for others that might be reading! Please do DM me on any of my social networks if you would like to flail about spoilers! 😀