Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq have arrived in the shining city of Antica to forge an alliance with the Khagan of the Southern Continent, whose vast armies are Erilea’s last hope. But they have also come to Antica for another purpose: to seek healing at the famed Torre Cesme for the wounds Chaol received in Rifthold.
After enduring unspeakable horrors as a child, Yrene Towers has no desire to help the young lord from Adarlan, let alone heal him. Yet she has sworn an oath to assist those in need—and will honor it. But Lord Westfall carries shadows from his own past, and Yrene soon comes to realize they could engulf them both.
In this sweeping parallel novel to the New York Times bestselling Empire of Storms, Chaol, Nesryn, and Yrene will have to draw on every scrap of their resilience if they wish to save their friends. But while they become entangled in the political webs of the khaganate, deep in the shadows of mighty mountains where warriors soar on legendary ruks, long-awaited answers slumber. Answers that might offer their world a chance at survival—or doom them all . . .
If you had told me I would end up loving a Chaol-centric book at the end of Queen of Shadows, I would not have believed you. However, the new setting and new characters introduced here made this my favourite book so far in the Throne of Glass series.
I loved the establishment of Antica as an idealistic world that Adarlan could emulate if Aelin and Dorian won the war. How surprising that paying people for their work, treating them equally, and holding everyone accountable to the law regardless of status, could create a happy society! It is an interesting contrast to how power is passed from one generation to the next with a khagan’s death. While most of the khagan’s children seemed more than capable of killing their siblings if their right to power is questioned, they still seemed like a solid family unit grieving the loss of one of their own.
Yrene is possibly my favourite female character in the Throne of Glass series (it’s a close call with Lysandra, though). Her healing ability is impressive, as is her drive and character. With everything she’s been through, the fact that she has always planned to return to Fenharrow to help her people is admirable, and as an outsider to the characters we know so well, it was an interesting perspective to read. In addition, the time she spent with Chaol, trying to heal his spine and uncover information that could be useful during the war, provided an excellent slow evolution and development of these characters that I loved reading.
It was also nice to see the world more from Nesryn’s perspective. Even though Adarlan has always been her home, it’s not surprising to see how much more she seems to belong in Antica. The time she spent with Sartaq and the ruks contrasted the witches and wyverns, and
I can’t wait to see how they get along and fight together in Kingdom of Ash
Sartaq is by far my favourite of the khagan’s children and seems to be the most trustworthy.
There is a lot of foreshadowing of what’s to come in Kingdom of Ash. From likely traitorous siblings to the fallout from the bargain Yrene made (my least favourite and the most cringe-worthy part of this book), there is sure to be a lot of backstabbing and close calls forthcoming. Maas isn’t very good at letting her characters die so the lengths she goes to make sure they seem like they’re in danger before a last minute save can be ridiculous. It’s always some strange bargain or gift that ends up being an important ‘twist’ at some point in the series. So, I can’t say I’m looking forward to that in Kingdom of Ash, but I am excited for an epic finale.