“There was nothing left in her, not really. Only ash and an abyss and the unbreakable vow she’d carved into her flesh, to the friend who had seen her for what she truly was.”
I really love this series. It is so well written each book seems to build on the previous. It completely draws you in, overwhelms you and leaves you with an ending that could take months to recover from.
In Heir of Fire the story starts with Celaena alone, abandoned and in a very dark place. She has been sent by the King of Adarlan to Wendlyn “a land of myths and monsters – of legends and nightmares made flesh” to kill the King and Crown Prince leaving the country open to invasion. However she is overcome with grief and guilt after the events of the previous book and can’t do it. Instead she does nothing. She barely eats, drinks too much, starts fights and generally just hates herself.
She is soon found by Rowan Whitethorn, a distant fae cousin and servant of Maeve, who he takes her to meet. She seeks answers from Maeve but is refused them until she becomes worthy. To become worthy she must train with Rowan and learn to control her power. If she succeeds Rowan will take her to Doranelle, home of the fae to get the answers she needs to save her home, and if she fails she will be back to where she started with nothing but self hatred.
It’s very reminiscent of Throne of Glass, the first book in the series, with Rowan taking the place of Captain Chaol Westfall. However this time Celaena seems to have met a far superior opponent. While she walked all over everyone in Adarlan she is no match for the skills and abilities of Rowan and to make it worse he looks at her like something he scraped off his shoe. With her confidence at rock bottom it seems unlikely she will be able to win him over. As it turns out winning Rowan over isn’t the only thing she should be worried about, there are monsters lurking nearby and someone or something is killing demi fae.
Meanwhile back in Adarlan, Chaol and Prince Dorian are missing their friend and trying to work out how to deal with what they have learned about the King. It’s starting to look like they’re going to have to pick a side but will they be on the same one.
It’s safe to say there is a lot going on in this book and if I had one criticism it’s that I found it all a bit confusing at the start. We are in a different land and there are a lot of new characters to try to remember. As well as Rowan and the other characters that Celaena meets in Wendlyn, we are introduced to her cousin Aedion, the rebels and the witches. It’s quite a lot to take in and keep track of.
I did think that Rowan was a great addition to the series. It was so good to have a character who doesn’t worship or fear our heroine. He’s much older than she is and quite closed off and mysterious. He can’t be bothered with her self pitying attitude and Celaena is actually a little bit wary of him and has to check her attitude (to an extent). Their relationship and the way it developed over the course of the story was definitely one of the highlights for me. I absolutely loved their silent arguments.
Celaena herself develops and grows quite a lot over the course of this novel. At the start of the story she is at a pretty low ebb. She’s lost a lot of her vanity, pride and self assurance and ironically seems a lot more human as a result. She doesn’t want to admit who she really is and seems a little bit lost. At times my heart felt like it was breaking for her. She was just so lonely and tragic. There are still a few glimpses of the assassin but in this book she has to decide who she is and who she wants to be. Does she want to claim her birth right and fight for freedom or will she give up and run away?
For me this felt like a very transitional story. It feels a lot slower than the previous story particularly at the start but it does build and build throughout to a fairly heart stopping ending. I kind of missed having Celaena, Dorian and Chaol together and there was definitely not enough of the evil King of Adarlan but I get the feeling that it’s building the tension and setting the scene for the next story Queen of Shadows.
I did enjoy this but I have a feeling Queen of Shadows will be awesome.