My Throne of Glass Story & Kingdom of Ash Thoughts

If this post is published, it means that I have conquered the beast that is Sarah J. Maas’s Kingdom of Ash. RIP my bookish soul.

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The final book in the Throne of Glass series, Kingdom of Ash’s 980 page story took over my reading life for five days. Yes, I’m still laughing at the fact that I thought I could hold off reading my most anticipated release of 2018 until Thanksgiving break. Since I myself was avoiding KoA spoilers for as long as possible, here are some of my non-spoiler thoughts:

  • Once again, if I can’t have Chaol Westfall, I’m happy that Irene Towers can
  • Aelin’s torture scenes were every emotional hard to read. Who else cannot stand Maeve??
  • The punch Manon took during THAT scene felt like I was being punched too. SJM went THERE
  • I didn’t cry, but I almost did when someone’s death is being honored near the end  and during a certain goodbye
  • I still cannot get over the Charlie Bowater-illustrated jacket for the Barnes and Noble exclusive edition

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IT’S TIME FOR KINGDOM OF ASH: Throne of Glass Cast Book Recommendations

Kingdom of Ash is coming TOMORROW, and I am not prepared. The final book in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, KoA is surely going to break my bookish soul. In anticipation of KoA, I’m going to be kickstarting a new series on Fangirl Fury, ToG style. Today I’ll be sharing book recommendations based off ToG characters. I would love to continue sharing recommendations based on characters in my favorite books and TV shows.

I’ve chosen 8 ToG characters to share recs for because we’d be here for a longggggg time if I even did recs based off all the main characters, let alone every character in the series. Long live this 992 page finale.

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Tower of Feels: Tower of Dawn Review

Since Tower of Dawn is the sixth (technically seventh if you count The Assassin’s Blade) installment in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, I will not be providing a summary today. I love my non-spoiler folk, especially since I just read ToD in April and I myself spent 8 months avoiding spoilers, but when it comes to the love of my life, Chaol Westfall, your girl needs to talk some spoilers about her man.

In lieu of a summary, I’ve answered what I’m sure are your burning questions (Aelin’s nickname isn’t Fireheart for nothing) on how to go about reading Tower of Dawn: 

Do I need to read The Assassin’s Blade to read Tower of Dawn? No, not necessarily, but I recommend that you read The Assassin’s Blade because by Tower of Dawn, all 5 stories have significantly come into play. If you are trying to plan out your Throne of Glass series read or reread, I recommend that you read The Assassin’s Blade in between Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows.

Do I need to read Tower of Dawn to read Kingdom of Ash? Obviously, Kingdom of Ash has not yet come out, but I 100% believe that Tower of Dawn is necessary for character development and plot development. There are a LOT of new details that honestly can be considered to be plot twists about the magic system and dark forces our characters are facing.

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 My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Warning: Spoilers for the Throne of Glass series and Tower of Dawn below

Many of you know that Chaol is my #1 fictional boyfriend. I’ve loved him since Throne of Glass , I used to consider Crown of Midnight to be my favorite ToG book because of all of its Chaolness (despite the whole Nehemia thing and Celaena basically wanting to rip him to shreds), and I should probably make my first bookish candle one  inspired by him. So even I’m still trying to figure out how I did not read Tower of Dawn immediately after its September 2017 release. I’m trying to chalk it up to the fact that I had really wanted to reread the first five ToG books beforehand (which I’ve ended up doing this year) and fall semester stress.

I’m sure it’s again no surprise to you guys that I loved Tower of Dawn. It’s easily made its way into my top 3 ToG books and most definitely a favorite read of 2018. There’s just so much world building in this installment, as Chaol and Nesryn journey to Antica and the Southern Continent. I’m not sure if we’ll get anything else from the ToG world after Kingdom of Ash, but my spin-off predictions now includes with one of our new ships and a new favorite OTP of mine starting a new life together as rulers of the Southern Continent…

I still need to look into some ToD fanart, but does anyone know what a ruk acutally looks like? I feel like I finally understand what a wyvern is supposed to look like, but now I have to figure out this giant, but awesome bird??? Are we going to get an Abraxos and Kadara ship now???

As you may tell, I’m quite excited to discuss some new ships (really Haley, a wyvern and a ruk??), but I do want to talk about character development beforehand. We get three perspectives in ToD, Chaol, Yrene, and Nesryn. Chaol experiences the most development, from coming to terms with his disability to overcoming his anger over the past. There’s that one chapter, Chapter 55 to be exact, that was just so heartbreaking, as Chaol faces his past in Anielle and his actions from Crown of Midnight, including his bitterness over his relationship with Celaena/Aelin.

But fear not, because Yrene was there to save the day! I am SO happy with Yrene and Chaol as a couple, and I’m so excited to see more Yrene in Kingdom of Ash. She’s easily become one of my favorite characters, and I’m really excited to explore her and the healers’ magic, not to mention her BOND with Chaol. Below are some of my favorite quotes from Chaol AND LADY WESTFALL (!!!):

“Yrene could have sworn it was far more than the dawn that shone in the captain’s brown eyes as they rode into the city” (177).

“And that this moment, flying together over the sands, devouring the desert wind, her hair a golden-brown banner behind her…

Chaol felt, perhaps for the first time, as if he was awake.

And he was grateful, right down to his very bones, for it” (489).

If I can’t have him, I’m more than happy that Yrene can.

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And speaking of OTPs, I am HERE for Sartaq and Nesryn. If Tower of Dawn remained as its intended novella, I think there would’ve been a chance that Nesryn and Chaol set sail as a ship, but I think Chaol needed Yrene for his own development. I also think Nesryn and Sartaq’s personalities fit really well together, and while Kingdom of Ash is not going to be a light-hearted read, I could use some more of Derala’s teasing:

“Sartaq gave her a knowing, cocky grin. As if he’d fully decided what would come after and nothing she could say would ever convince him otherwise.

And from the courtyard just a wall away, her sister shouted, loud enough for the entire neighborhood to hear, ‘I told you, Father!’ ” (648).

And while Chaol and Yrene definitely make some discoveries of their own, I was shocked by Nesryn and Sartaq’s finding out that Maeve is QUEEN OF THE VALG?? And those giant spiders definitely didn’t help adjusting to that fact Rereading Throne of Glass this year allowed me to pay closer attention to plot details and set-up for later installments, but I would love to know how much and how long ago SJM had everything planned out. How many notebooks did she use??? I really want to go back to Heir of Fire, for example, and look for owl references when Aelin meets Maeve.

If you’re planning to reread Empire of Storms AND Tower of Dawn before Kingdom of Ash, I recommend checking out Jenna of jennaclarek’s awesome Eos meets ToD reading guide. I know a lot of EoS readers were upset that we didn’t get Chaol and Nesryn in that installment (little did we know what Sarah had up her sleeve), so I think this is a really awesome way to experience our full cast before the final book.

If you want more ToG content, check out my guest post with my rankings of each book over on Literary Sea!

Have you read Tower of Dawn? What’s you favorite ToG ship? Share in the comments!

Empire of My Tears: Empire of Storms Reread Discussion

I, Haley of Fangirl Fury, have conquered the beast that is Sarah J. Maas’s Empire of Storms for the second time. Meaning that I have also conquered my #1 rereading goal of 2018 by rereading SJM’s Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Queen of Shadows, and EoS. Can we all just take a minute to appreciate that I’ve already reread 5 books in 2018– not to mention the 30+ books I’ve read this year overall??

If you’ve been here for a while, you know that I am not a big rereader. Like many, I am distracted by all the shiny, new releases and have a big backlist TBR. That being said, I used to feel like I wasted time by rereading books. However, I’m quite happy with my decision to reread the first 5 ToG installments because they reminded me how much I love this series and SJM’s writing (even if it meant putting off writing a paper or two, like I’m doing as I write this review).

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Because EoS is the one of the latter books in ToG, there will be spoilers from here on out for ToG and even A Court of Mist and Fury. You’ve been warned by Leslie.

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So Empire of Storms caused a big stir when it first came out in September 2016 among ToG fans. People were quite upset with SJM for not including Chaol in this installment (little did we know that he’d be getting his own book a year later), and many felt that the book didn’t fit in with the earlier installments. I think was laregly caused by that EoS is more slow-moving and world-building heavy than the past books, since Aelin and company are basically preparing for the war to come in Kingdom of Ash.

I love Empire of Storms mainly for its world-building and character/relationship development. Not that I’d recommend skipping any of the books, but EoS is especially important in understanding Aelin’s family history and relationship with the Gods and what she must do to bring Erawan down, aka sacrifice her life.

All I’ve been thinking about since my reread is if SJM WILL REALL DO THIS TO US??!? In a way, I think I’d appreciate if SJM did sacrifice Aelin for the sake of authors not saving all of their characters/ everyone not having a happily after/ a “realistic” ending.

HOW HORRIBLE AM I??BUT ALSO DON’T LET ANYTHING HAPPEN TO ANYONE PLEASE, PLEASE.

That last chapter, with Maeve disappearing with Aelin in the iron box and Rowan calling for HIS WIFE, was enough for me to rename this book Empire of Tears. AND I SEE YOU SJM, throwing that marriage shocker at us twice in 2016, the other in a teeny book called A Court of Mist and Fury. I admit that I used to hardcore ship Chaol and Celaena, but I am here for Rowaelin, and Lysandra and Aedion, and even Elide and Lorcan. Yes, even I felt sympathy for Lorcan at the end of EoS, EVEN THOUGH HE PRETTY MUCH ROYALLY SCREWED UP EVERYTHING. I think he’ll have to do something major in Kingdom of Ash to get Elide to forgive him or at least convince her that sending out his power to Maeve was for her sake. I know some people complain that SJM just pairs off her characters, but I really don’t mind because I think her pairings work really well. The only ship that I’m not too sure about, but still appreciated their flirting and uh, moments, is Dorian and Manon. I love them each as characters (let’s be real, Abraxos and Manon are the best ship in this series) and their relationship is fun, but I can’t see the King of Ardarlan and Queen of the Crochans and Wing Leader of the Blackbleaks having the happiest ever after.

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As much as I could keep rambling on about my love for Abraxos and Manon (I screamed when the Thirteen come to fight), and my fear for basically everyone in Kingdom of Ash, I’ll be leaving you with some of my favorite EoS quotes:

 “This thing between them, the force of it, could devour the world. And if they picked it, picked them, it might very well cause the end of it” (94)

“Aelin shrugged. ‘Rowan’s always looking for an excuse to show off. Dramatic rescues give him purpose and fulfillment in his dull, immortal life.’ ” (251)

After writing this discussion, I plan on moving on to Tower of Dawn shortly after, where I can finally reunite with my love, Chaol (UPDATE THAT I HAVE FINISHED TOD AND I SHALL NOW REFER TO IS AS TOWER OF FEELS). 2018 is going to be the year of Sarah J. Maas. I’ll reading A Court of Frost and Starlight sometime this week, and then there’s Catwoman: Soulstealer in August, and then that little finale called Kingdom of Ash coming out on October 23. And I also believe 2018 is the year that we’ll be getting the Throne of Glass guide/encyclopedia. I am so excited to be getting 4 new SJM books this year, but I’m also slightly afraid she won’t come out with anything else for a while!?!

Have you read Empire of Storms or any Throne of Glass books? What are your thoughts on those last two chapters?? Share in the comments!

QUEEN OF MY HEART: Queen of Shadows Reread Discussion

I’ve come to the conclusion that this whole rereading books thing is pretty amazing because I’ve absolutely fallen in love again with Sarah J. Maas’s Queen of Shadows. I am almost complete with my #1 reading goal of 2018, aka finally rereading the massive beasts that compose the Throne of Glass series. If fitness is among your 2018 goals, lifting Heir of Fire and Empire of Storms together makes for the perfect arm workout.

Queen of Shadows is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, and it’s actually the first ToG book I read at the time of publication in September 2015 (I read the previous books that June). QoS also holds a special place in my heart because I attended one of SJM’s signing events for its launch and it was my first time meeting her.

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The Fae Have Landed: Heir of Fire Reread Discussion

The Fae are here to stay in Sarah J. Maas’s Heir of Fire, and I am here for it.

My reread of the Throne of Glass series continued in February with Heir of Fire, and I am having a great time being back in this series. Just as a refresher, one of my reading goals for 2018 is to reread ToG in anticipation for the final book to come out on October 30, 2018. I know some readers aren’t happy that the book isn’t coming out until Halloween-time, since ToG usually releases in September, but I don’t mind as much. Yes, I do find time to read during the school year, but I want to be able to set time aside to solely focus on the ending of my favorite fantasy series either during Thanksgiving or winter break.

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Since Heir of Fire is the third book in the series, this discussion will be featuring spoilers. Before my non-spoiler readers leave, just know that my 5 Star rating for this installment remains. One of the reasons why I’m rereading the series is because I’ve forgotten a lot of the plot details surrounding the magic system and Fae. After my reread, I am really impressed with how SJM was able to interweave new information about magic in Wendlyn and Adarlan with new characters and multi-POVs. Heir of Fire also has a special place in my heart because SJM signed my copy at my first signing of hers in 2015. I remember talking to her about Queen of Shadow’s release and writing & editing, with my college application deadlines coming up.

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And listen, I am all for the envrionment, but ToG-wise, after the publication of Heir of Fire, SJM’s books got a lot thinner because of Bloomsbury’s paper-saving ways. The hardcover of HoF is over 550 pages long AND I LOVED HOW IT FELT LIKE A 550+ PAGE BOOK IN MY HANDS.

When thinking about each book in ToG, I’ve started to break them down by how much Fae have come into play, hence the title of my discussion. I reread Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight back in January, and you can find my discussion points in Before the Fae.

For my non-spoiler folks, this is where I leave you, courtesy of Ron & April.

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I don’t really remember my exact feelings of HoF from my first time around, other than my immediate need for QoS after that ending with the King of Adarlan. However, I do remember my feelings over Sorscha’s death and the fact that Dorian gets turned into one of his father’s demons. I LOVED Sorscha and Dorian’s relationship, and I am so sad that we obviously won’t see her in the series any longer. It would have been really interesting to see her survive and escape to the South, especially since she was low-key part of the resistance with Ren and Tower of Dawn takes place in that setting . The only thing I’m grateful for during that scene is the survival of my bf, Chaol. AND I ALSO COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT THE FOLLOWING FEELS BETWEEN HIM AND DORAIN:

“He looked at his friend, perhaps for the last time, and said what he had always known, from the moment they’d met, when he’d understood that the prince was his brother in soul. “I love you.”

Dorian merely nodded, eyes still blazing, and lifted his hands again toward his father. Brother. Friend. King” (550)

Regarding Chaol, I never really had the impression that he was scared of Dorian’s magic or helping the resistance because it went against his loyalty. Above all, I think he was just scared for Celaena and Dorian’s futures and what he might do that could make matters worse (especially after everyone freaks out over him sending Celaena to Doranelle, aka Maeve). I did enjoy seeing him partake in the resistance in Aedion, who has definitely become one of my favorite characters in the series.

While I could read a book all about Chaol all day (and one day soon, I can!!), my favorite character and perspective in HoF goes to Manon Blackbeak. I know some readers aren’t totally sold on having Manon in the series, but I freaking love her. Yes, we do get badass Celaena in this series, but Manon takes cold-heartedness to a whole new level. BUT OF COURSE THAT COLD HEART HEATS UP WITH HER LOVE FOR ABRAXOS. Correction, Abraxos, Manon’s soft yet menacing yet loveable dragon (yes, I know he’s a wyvern) is my favorite character. He brings out a softer side to Manon that she begins to acknowledge, especially with the Crochan witch and her grandmother at the end of the novel. I don’ t exactly remember where Manon is and what’s she doing by the end of Empire of Storms, but I could totally foresee a spin-off about the Wastes.

The biggest plot element I wanted to explore in this reading of HoF is Celaena’s relationship with Rowan. Before jumping into their relationship, I forgot how much goes down at Mistward, between the skinwalkers and all the information revealed about the Wyrdkeys. Like I said, my memory of EoS isn’t too reliable when it comes to the smaller details, but I hope to see Luca and Emrys make a reappearance. Regarding Rowan and Celaena as a couple, while the two don’t get together in this installment, I think SJM layed enough of their relationship out for them to become mates in QoS. Their relationship in HoF progressed at the right rate, and it’s not like they ever get down to some intimate business. I loved how much they opened up to one another, especially since learning more about Celaena’s experience during the downfall of Terrasen was among my favorite scenes in the books. So my conclusion? I like Rowan and Celaena as a couple. However, I do think they need some time to develop romantically in Queen of Shadows before sailing as a ship.

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I plan on rereading Queen of Shadows in March and Empire of Storms in April, so I’ll be able to treat myself at the end of my spring semester in May by FINALLY reading Tower of Dawn– I know Chaol is waiting for our reunion!.

Do you read Throne of Glass? Have you read Heir of Fire? Share in the comments!

Before the Fae: Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight Reread Discussion

I am definitely not a new-year, new me kind of person. But when it comes to being a reader, I guess I kind of am because I started one of my 2018 reading goals ON THE FOURTH DAY OF THE YEAR. On the first snow day of the year, I craved a fantasy read and I knew that it was time to reread Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Until now, I hadn’t picked up Throne of Glass since 2015, and with the final book coming out in October(not to mention the fact that I still haven’t read Tower of Dawn) , I want to give myself plenty of time to reread the series before then.

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Because I still need to reread Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, and Empire of Storms, today I am only going to be discussing Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. I’ve decided not to reread The Assassin’s Blade at the moment because I actually have a pretty decent memory of the short stories in that book. However, if you are currently or planning on reading the Throne of Glass series, I recommend reading The Assassin’s Blade before Queen of Shadows because this is where the characters from the short stories really come into play.

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I’m not going to be going into serious spoilers for Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight until closer to the end. Call me lazy, but I’m also not going to be giving a synopsis for the Throne of Glass series because after reading the first 6 books, Throne of Glass’s (the book) blurb barely covers the world and fantastical elements that make up the series. Also know that I am a huge fan of Sarah J. Maas’s books; I don’t want to use the term that “I am trash” for them because I think Sarah’s books are insanely good and have really gotten me into the fantasy genre overall; it’s not like I’m reading them because they’re easy to fly through (granted it was my first semester of college, but it took me two weeks to read Empire of Storms in 2016) or that I enjoy just one character  (but please, give me all of the Chaol). And as much as I love the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, I admit that I enjoy ToG more than ACOTAR. For me, it comes down to the main protagonist; Celaena over Feyre, please. Honestly, I just love Celaena’s brutalness and sass in her world.

I decided to commit to taking notes for my reread by using the “Rattle the stars” notebook I received from the preorder promotion for Empire of Storms. I actually haven’t written in it before (I might have lost my temper a bit when I found my sister ripped out a page; IT’S A BOOKSHELF DECORATION,OKAY?) so I’m glad it has more of a purpose now. My notes vary anywhere from some of my favorite quotes to my reactions and finally taking down details or page numbers about the main plot.

Speaking of plot, my main reason for rereading this series is because it’s one of my all-time favorite series and I wanted to be reacquainted with some of my characters (hi Chaol)…. Sounds typical, right?

 I sort’ve wish this was my main reason, but in all reality, I’ve forgotten most of the basic plot details of the series, especially when it comes to magic and the Fae. Even when I read Empire of Storms, I found myself having to flip back to Queen of Shadows for reminders. Granted, there isn’t too much about Fae in these first two books, but there’s a lot about the magic system in Erilea, including WYRDMARKS (aka, something that I almost entirely forgot about). I also caught a lot of hints about what is to come for Celaena in the other books with the Fae and Terrasen.

I really enjoyed this section of my reread because I got to revisit what I currently believe is my favorite book in the series, Crown of Midnight (as you can see below, I was able to have Sarah sign my copy at Book Con in 2017!). I 100% admit that this mostly because of how much Chaol we get in this book (which I know is a hot topic that I’ll get into more in the spoilery section), but I also enjoyed seeing Celaena’s role in Adarlan and watching her explore magic.

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With this go-around, I found myself less invested in the Team Dorian vs. Team Chaol debate– I think this taken a lot more seriously in the ToG fandom until Queen of Shadows. Without considering anything else in the later books, I think either would be a great partner for Celaena– and if Celaena doesn’t take Chaol, I will!

I loved being back in Dorian, Chaol and Celaena’s dynamic. Yes, Chaol is my book boyfriend, but I also love Dorian for his caring nature and how different he is from the king. And I absolutely love the sass, sarcasm, and humor between the three. I feel like we miss this in Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms, although they are dealing with more serious issues. And without mentioning a spoilery name, I remember missing Celaena so much in the later two books. She just don’t feel like an act or disguise to me…

As you may tell, I am on the verge of spilling a thing or two so IT’S SPOILER TIME: IF YOU HAVE NOT YET CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, THIS IS WHERE YOU SHOULD LEAVE

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I think Parks & Rec gifs are going to be a new feature of some spoilery reviews

The only spoiler I really want to discuss right now is Chaol and Celaena’s split, and I think this is where we see a divide in the Throne of Glass fandom over Chaol. Before rereading, I had forgotten what had happened surrounding Nehemia’s death, other than Celaena putting a lot of blame on Chaol. There is some sort of resolution between the two, as Celaena realizes that they were both set up, but she repeatedly says that she cannot trust him again. While I think Chaol does have some responsibility in the matter, I think he is not deserving of Celaena’s wrath. What it really comes down between the two is one factor: loyalty.

If Celaena’s been reminded of anything, it’s that 1. fortunately or unfortunately, Chaol is true to his word and must abide by his position as Captain of the Guard and 2. He’s the enemy. Even without factoring the Aelin stuff, Celaena represents Terrasen, while Chaol represents Adarlan, the kingdom that destroyed Celaena’s family and home. It makes me sad for the both of them, just because they care so much for one another and if there weren’t the whole following her destiny/Queen of Terrasen thing, I’d sure they’d be together (and we’d have less books).

So that does it for this recap of my Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight reread! Have you read the Throne of Glass series? If so, what’s your favorite book?

AND HAVE YOU SEEN THE COVER FOR A COURT OF FROST AND STARLIGHT??Share  in the comments!