tl;dr - | ✭✭✭✭½ | OH MY GOODNESS! Ms. Maas, this series is brilliant. It is wonderful, and I love every moment I am immersed in these books! I really enjoyed this book, and it has made me long for the next book even more than I already was!
Description Celaena has been sent off Wendlyn thanks to Chaol and the horrendous King, and she knows the answers she needs to avenge her friend lie somewhere in this land. So when a mysterious soldier comes to collect her, Celaena knows she must go with him to get the answers she needs. Meanwhile, Chaol and Dorian remain in the castle, trying to figure out how to stay alive and figure out what exactly the King is up to. A darkness is overtaking the mountains and the forests, and Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian must figure out how to keep it from destroying everything they know and love.
Oh man oh man oh man.
I was so excited for this book, and while it was most definitely there to set up the rest of the series, I was not disappointed. You can definitely feel it, while reading this book, that this story is made to set up some incredibly important plot points and set up some very important developments for the rest of the series. But it was still rather enjoyable (overall) to read. You've got three different point of views essentially in this book - you have Celaena off across the sea learning about herself and her heritage. You've got Chaol in the castle, getting ready to fulfill his word to his father and head home while also trying to figure out how to protect Dorian and figure out what Aedion is up to. And then you have poor, sweet Dorian, who is trying to figure out how to master his magic and keep it hidden so his father won't kill him. We also meet a new character, Manon Blackbeak. I'll get to her in her own section.
So, Celaena's story. I felt like her's was kind of the slowest story, but it was also one of the most important. She goes through so much growth in this book, its amazing. As I mentioned, a mysterious, gruff soldier comes to collect Celaena. His name is Rowan, and he is quite the peach. Yes, that was partly sarcasm and partly serious, because I really came to adore his character. He's so gruff, quiet, and infuriatingly calm. But as we get to know him, we also see that he is scarred, broken, and caring. And he's wonderful. Their play was so great, so much fun banter. I can't lie, I had a moment of panic - oh dear god please don't let him become ANOTHER love interest. I really did worry about that. Because at moments, it seemed like it was starting to go that way, but in a restrained way. And I honestly didn't know what Maas would do. But, not to worry, she didn't let me down. Rowan and Celaena become my biggest brotp of the series, tied with the brotp between Dorian and Chaol.
So now lets talk about... Chaol.
I LOVE CHAOL SO MUCH. I just needed to get that out. CHAOLENA FOREVER. So, Chaol is trying to extend his stay in the castle, as he is not quite ready to head to his home and fulfill his deal with his father. He finds the perfect excuse when Aedion Ashryver is summoned to court by the King. He is one of the King's most brutal commanders and someone Chaol deeply distrusts. Chaol tells his father he needs time to come up with a suitable replacement, so his father gives him a month. He uses that time to figure out what Aedion is up to, and make sure that Aedion won't make Dorian's life a living hell once Chaol leaves. His struggle with keeping his word, his honor, and wanting to do what is best for both Dorian and Celaena was great to see. I kind of liked the play between Aedion and Chaol too, it was an interesting dynamic.
Dorian. Sweet, kind Dorian. Poor Dorian is feeling so alone and isolated. Celaena has left, and Chaol is busy getting ready to leave and has distanced himself from Dorian. That was hard, because you see through Chaol how much he cares for Dorian and is trying to protect him, but then you see how much Dorian is suffering and how lonely he is because of that purposeful neglect. So when Dorian finds a friend in a healer girl, I was kind of really happy about it. She was so sweet and accepting of Dorian. It was nice to see him have someone he could trust and be with. And I can't lie, one of the last chapters... My heart was thudding... When the King called everyone together.... oh my gosh. I can't say anything, but when you read it you'll understand.
And now for the deadly Manon. When I was reading this book, I knew that Manon was going to have an important part. But sometimes, I didn't want to read her chapters. I wanted Chaol and Celaena back together, and I wanted more chapters of them together, so when Manon came around I would kind of have that feeling like... I will read this because I have to but I desperately wish it was Chaolena. But I actually came to really enjoy Manon's character. She was tough, deadly, and intriguing. Her measured ferocity, her intuition, she was a very interesting character to read. I am really looking forward to her story throughout the rest of the series, because I don't think she is going to be what everyone expects her to be.
So yes. I am loving this series, so SO much. I cannot wait for the next book! I feel like I need it right now!! But, at least Sarah's new book, A Court of Thorns and Roses comes out in spring or summer of this next year!