REVIEW: KINGDOM OF ASH BY SARAH J. MAAS

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Title: Kingdom of Ash
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 980
My Rating: 5 stars

FIVE_CATS


“There are no gods left to watch, I’m afraid.
And there are no gods left to help you now, Aelin Galathynius.”
Aelin smiled, and Goldryn burned brighter. “I am a god.”

 

That book was a gods-damned roller coaster. I laughed and I cried and I had my expectations thrown on their ass. The first half of this review will be spoiler free and then spoilers will be marked at the bottom!

“He had killed his way across the world; he had gone to war and back more times than he cared to remember. And despite it all, despite the rage and despair and ice he’d wrapped around his heart, he’d still found Aelin. Every horizon he’d gazed toward, unable and unwilling to rest during those centuries, every mountain and ocean he’d seen and wondered what lay beyond … It had been her. It had been Aelin, the silent call of the mating bond driving him, even when he could not feel it. They’d walked this dark path together back to the light.
He would not let the road end here.”

 

I really wasn’t sure how SJM was going to do it- I had faith, but there were so many moving parts and so much that could go “wrong” that I was super scared KoA would end up being disappointing. That didn’t happen at all! Although there were some teeny-tiny things that I felt could have been done differently (or even left out), KoA lived up to all the hype I had for it. I definitely thought I was going to have a major book hangover when this was over, but the book was long enough and the story was tied up well enough that my appetite was sated and I’m ready to move onto something else. Even though I’m sad that the series is over, I think it ran its course and will hold up for rereads and in its place as one of my favorite series for a long time to come.

We jump right back in at the meeting point between the events of Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn- where everything left off and where both stories eventually meet up. It’s been two months, and everyone is preparing and strategizing on what needs to happen next. Just as all the books have in this series so far, Kingdom of Ash follows the tradition of having all the characters and their lives intersect and weave together like the Gods personally played a part in shaping each and every thing as it happened. I love the foresight and planning that it took for SJM to orchestrate all of this, and it’s super satisfying when these revelations are made and when things eventually come together. Even when some moments played out exactly as I thought they would, that didn’t stop the tears form coming to my eyes. Pretty sure this book gave me goose bumps more than any book I’ve ever read.

“An unspoken question arose in those green eyes. Aelin?
She ignored the silent inquiry, unable to bear opening that silent channel between them again, and surveyed the powerful lines of his body, the sheer size of him. A gentle wind kissed with ice and lightning brushed against her wall of flame,
an echo of his silent inquiry.
Her magic flared in answer, a ripple of power dancing through her.
As if it had found a mirror of itself in the world, as if it had found the countermelody to its own song.
Not once in those illusions or dreams had it done that. Had her own flame leaped in joy at his nearness, his power.
He was here. It was him, and he’d come for her.”

 

As far as the characters went, I found myself really warming up to Fenrys and I loved the relationship he had with Aelin. Yrene totally stood out and while she did some very important things in this book, I still can’t help but get her mixed up with Elide sometimes. (I’m sorry!! I know they’re different, but I can’t help it!) Dorian also hadn’t been one of my favorites in the past, but he stood out in this one, and I think a little bit of Aelin rubbed off on him- Dorian had plans on plans on plans and it was super satisfying to see him finally start to break free from his past and become his own person again. Manon was always one of my favorites, and while she changed a lot in this book, I love who she became and would totally read a spinoff series all about her. We also got cameos from characters that haven’t appeared in ages and that I had almost forgotten about! It was fun having them show up and getting to see them again!

It was a little hard to line up the timelines, and I’m not sure if this was intentional so that certain grand entrances could happen, or if I’m just bad at paying attention to these things. Sometimes a character would show up, and according to my mind-timeline it shouldn’t have been possible, but if you mapped it all out (like SJM probably did), then I’m sure it all makes sense! There are also so many characters at this point that I found myself wanting more Aelin in my life. While I enjoyed every POV, I would have liked to have a bit more Aelin and seen a little more of what she’s capable of.

Overall, this series will hold a special place in my heart for years to come, and I’m happy with the way everything ended up. I’m super excited to see what SJM has for us next, and am already dying for the release of the first book in her Crescent City series in 2019.

 

SPOILERS!:

I think that just enough people died and that they were just important enough that it didn’t seem like a cop-out when none of the major characters were killed. Books with 100% happy endings aren’t my favorite and having the characters die that did felt like a perfect compromise.

There were two things about the final battle that I didn’t love. One: that it was very short. We have Aedeon and his forces battling the Morath forces for almost the WHOLE book, and then the confrontation with Maeve lasted a very short time relative to the length of the rest of the story. It was still satisfying, but not as satisfying as I expected it to be. Second: the portals and the Fae showing up. This felt… kind of unnecessary? Like, this could have been totally left out and I don’t think I would have missed it. Maybe it was important that they showed support for Aelin, but it didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story and it felt like SJM was just pulling out all the stops at the end.

The scenes with the lock (chapters 93 to 99) were probably my favorite chapters of the whole book. Things were happening in rapid fire and I couldn’t recover from one twist before another was slapping me in the face. I had no idea where this was going to end up, and was completely pleased with the end result of the lock being forged and the gates being closed. (I mean of course I don’t like that Erawin was left in their world, but that was dealt with later! And I definitely thought it was reckless to banish the Gods when they had occasionally helped and guided a lot of the characters, but I guess that was a risk Aelin had to take!)

Speaking of those lock/gate scenes. Does anyone else think that the world Aelin fell through with the winged Fae and the stars falling was the ACOTAR world? SOUNDED LIKE IT TO ME.

“She passed through a world of snowcapped mountains under shining stars.
Passed over one of those mountains, where a winged male stood beside a heavily pregnant female, gazing at those very stars. Fae.
They were Fae, but this was not her world.
She flung out a hand, as if she might signal them, as if they might somehow help her when she was nothing but an invisible speck of power—
The winged male, beautiful beyond reason, snapped his head toward her as she arced across his starry sky.
He lifted a hand, as if in greeting.”

Also, EVANGELINE! “Win me back my kingdom, Evangeline.” And “Lord Lorcan Lochan”. Oh my god. I ate it all up!

END SPOILERS

 

What did you think?! Have you read the series yet? Anything to share?? Tell me in the comments!

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