Publication: October 23rd 2018 by Bloomsbury YA Pages: 992 Purchase: Amazon | Waterstones | Book Depository Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s #1 New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an epic, unforgettable conclusion. Aelin Galathynius’s journey from slave to king’s assassin to the queen of a once-great kingdom reaches its heart-rending finale as war erupts across her world. . . Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day… With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world. And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever. As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.
“Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom …”
Finales, for me, have always been a difficult thing. More often than not, I find them to be disappointing. This – of course – isn’t particularly ideal when you’re a big fan of series. Even more so when you’re a fan of big series — the kind that span over years; the kind where you spend month after month eagerly anticipating the next part of the story.
Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series was just that. At eight books long, and with the latter half of those books reaching 500-pages-plus, this was never the kind of series I was ever going to be able to dip in and out of. It was a commitment — and, thankfully, one I was more than happy to make. These books were exciting. The kind of exciting I hadn’t found in a fantasy series in a good while. I found myself counting down the days until the next book was released — something I probably hadn’t done with such enthusiasm since reading the Twilight books in my teens.
So, as you can imagine, I had a lot of expectations for the conclusion to this series that has been so close to my heart for a good few years now. But did it live up to those expectations?
If I had a simple answer to that question, it would be: no. But things in life are rarely simple, and my feelings on Kingdom of Ash are certainly not.
I wanted to love this book. I wanted to love it so, so badly. Even 600 pages in, when I realised I was having to force my way through the pages, I still tried to convince myself that I ‘just wasn’t in the mood for reading’. However, after dragging my way through the hundredth sex scene between characters who were supposed to be fighting for their lives in a war with demons, I allowed myself to be disappointed.
Kingdom of Ash had the opportunity to be a book filled with tension and excitement and everything that makes a finale great. Sarah J. Maas had the chance to truly shock her readers, to incite emotions in them using the characters that she had made those readers fall in love with over the last six years. Instead, Maas produced a slow and long-winded novel that barely managed to be anything other than entirely predictable. Aside from an eye-roll inducing cameo from characters from her other series, and a single scene that made me shed a tear, this finale had nothing that truly surprised me. Instead, it was pages and pages of unnecessary fluff, which was an absolute chore to read when the plot itself was far from creative.
Of course, it wasn’t all terrible. I enjoyed reading more about characters like Yrene Towers, who only majorly featured in the series in the second to last book, and I loved seeing characters like Manon Blackbeak develop in ways I never could have imagined earlier on in the series. And it’s always bittersweet seeing each character’s story finally being tied up — especially in a series of this length. It’s just that I expected to have my heart broken several times over. I expected to struggle to read certain chapters through my own tears. And I didn’t get any of that.
I said it about the novella she released as part of her other series, and I’ll say it again: I feel like Sarah J. Maas is now writing for what she thinks her fans want, rather than telling these stories how they should be told. This is probably great for a lot of her readers. I imagine so many of them read this book and found everything they wanted within its pages — and I’m so glad for them, if that was the case. Unfortunately, however, I feel at least a few readers will feel similarly to myself, and find little — if anything — of what they wanted to find within this finale.
Overall, I left Kingdom of Ash feeling very disappointed. I dove into this ready for an exciting climax to a series that has given me years of enjoyment — but, instead, it merely fizzled out, leaving me wanting for more. Or, at least, something vastly different.
“Death had been her curse and her gift and her friend for these long, long years. She was happy to greet it again under the golden morning sun.”