Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Published: September 2nd by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pages: 567

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?
“She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.”
The 'Throne of Glass' series seemed like a series I would love from the start. Consisting of six books, I would seem like an amazing adventure with characters I'll grow to love and put my entire live in a series like this one. After the disappointing sequel in the 'Throne of Glass' series, all I could do was to cross my fingers and hope for a better follow-up. Nonetheless, 'Heir of Fire' brought my hope for this series to even lower levels I didn't know existed. It did not restore any of the problems I had with 'Crown of Midnight'. It held so much potential I can't even believe in which direction it actually headed instead of which way I wanted it to go.

Because the book is actually divided into two parts, 'Heir of Ash' and 'Heir of Fire', I'm also going to split my review into two parts, simply because the time span between the first and the second part was too long to recall issues from what seemed like an age ago.

Part 1: 'Heir of Ash'

After the terrific ending of 'Crown of Midnight', it opened up an endless list of amazing directions this book could head. There are more and more sparks of rebellion, and the fabulous plot twists already had me guessing what would happen. I thought the main focus of 'Heir of Fire' would be Celaena and her mission to kill the royal family of Wendlyn. There was nothing that even pointed in that direction. She had went there as the King's Champion on a mission and during her long stay, she didn't even try to do so. Unlike previous missions, she didn't cover it up or did at least something to make the king believe she managed to do it. She didn't go to the family to at least warn them. I feel like I can already guess the king's reaction when he finds out. I'm still surprised to mark this book as 'great premise, bad execution', but it was completely like that. Maas just dropped what could have been an amazing storyline, and I am so disappointed she did.

Aside from a few characters, I didn't care for any of them in this book. While there was a lot of Chaol in 'Crown of Midnight', we barely get to see him in 'Heir of Fire'. Of course there was a lot of focus on Celaena because she's the main character. Sometimes it did feel like it was centered around her and her only. We do get to see a lot of character development from Celaena, and in a way I did appreciate it. It wasn't until the second part that I actually started noticing it because my love for this character in particular had shrunk to a minimum.

If I did had to pick my favourites from the novel, Dorian, Sorcha and Rowan definitely made my top three, if those weren't just the only three characters I liked. Rowan was so interesting to read about. He's a pained character with a past so dramatic, it's impossible not to feel compassionate for him. It wasn't the compassion however that made me like this guy so much. I can't seem to put my finger on it. There was something about him which made an impression, and one that stayed with me throughout the book. I feel like there's much in store for him, and I can't wait to see how important he'll become, if I decide to continue. Sorcha, I loved. I loved the sudden attention towards a normal girl, who's nothing special really, but that's what made me like her so much. She's not a famous assassin, or a feared witch but a normal girl with her normal problems, interests and crush. Her dynamic with Dorian was to swoon for. How they connected and how their friendship made Dorian such a stronger character really did it for me.

Speaking of a feared witch, I still wonder what the deal was with Manon Blackbeak and her Thirteen. I love witches, thought to let you know. There's no doubt that I'm also in love with Manon's cruel world of witches with their iron teeth and claws. What I don't understand, is its importance or role in this book. In my opinion, it looks like it was an idea for a Sarah J. Maas standalone, yet for some reason she randomly added it to 'Heir of Fire' to fill up the pages. I didn't like Manon very much as a character. Despite her badassery personality and her lovely relationship with Abraxos, I felt too disconnected to care.

I wouldn't say the book started off beautifully, because how matter how hard I tried to like it in the beginning, I got bored pretty quickly. The pace was so slow. Honestly, it felt like the most slow-paced book I've ever read, which then also explains how long it took me to read it: six weeks. I struggled with it so much at one point I actually felt like putting it down and not continue. If I really didn't have a heart, I would have likely marked it as DNF, no matter how much the hates gonna hate. I eventually took a break from reading, otherwise I knew I would have hated the second part. Therefore, I was pretty amazed when I found out I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would.

Part 2: 'Heir of Fire'

I don't have much of real importance to say about the second half, apart from the things that suddenly got so much better. Most of the characters stayed the same and the plot stayed as boring as it was, until we got near the end. There's this scene which it involves an entire flashback of Celeana's past before she got found by the riverbanks. It blew my mind. The writing in this scene is phenomenal, lyrical and beautiful. Celaena's character development reaches its highlight and impressed me in so many ways. There probably would have been tears in my eyes, if I didn't dislike such a big part of the book. In short words said, this scene made the second half for me. I feel like I could re-read it all over again, and I probably will search for it in the near future.

In other words, 'Heir of Fire' is my disappointment of the year. Though there still were some positive aspects, they didn't make me forget about the endless list of things I didn't appreciate. I'm still not sure if I'm even interested in picking up any upcoming follow-ups, I probably will out of all the hype that surrounded this series over the years, but my faith for the so-called "spectacular" series has reached a rock-bottom.

Aurélie Cremers is an eighteen-year-old living in Belgium. As an active member on Goodreads, Edelweiss and Amazon, she's always spreading her reviews to express her opinion and influences her followers to read the books she fairly enjoyed. When she's not writing, you can find her at her local bookstore or in a classroom. With her blog, "Exploring Pages", Aurélie hopes to gain a larger public in the near future and to continue that what she'll always love doing: writing.

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