YA Weekend: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of FireHeir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: Book 3 of Throne of Glass

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s (September 2, 2014)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Mogsy’s Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Few subsequent installments in a Young Adult series have lived up to the bar set by their first books, so color me impressed by the way Heir of Fire has managed to do this while at the same time helping me get over the bad taste that Crown of Midnight left in my mouth.

This is going to be a difficult review to write without stomping all over spoiler territory for the previous books, but I’ll do my best not to divulge anything beyond what’s already in the book’s description. So much has happened in the series since the beginning. We last left Celaena on a ship bound for Wendlyn, sent there by her former lover and captain of the King’s Guard Chaol Westfall. Significant events as of late have also marked Wendlyn as her destination for answers to her past, and a way to thwart the King of Adarlan’s nefarious plans.

Not only has Heir of Fire sparked my enthusiasm to follow Celaena on her adventures again, it’s also now my favorite book of this series. I noted as well that this third book was remarkably light on relationship drama and all that bullshit. Coincidence? Probably not. The incessant shoving of an unimaginative, hackneyed romantic side-plot down my throat in Crown of Midnight was what almost made me lose my patience with that last book. It’s a welcome change to be somewhat free of that stuff this time around, and I’m glad Heir of Fire switched gears to focus on more action and rigorous story-development.

Of course, there were a few close calls with Rowan Whitethorn, introduced here as the warrior tasked by the Fae-Queen Maeve to train and guide Celaena to control her magic, but Celaena thankfully manages to remember that the remains of her poor and battered broken heart still technically belongs to someone else. I honestly thought Rowan would be yet another blip in the long line of male-mentors-to-YA-female-protagonists, but rescued from being labeled as yet another possible love interest (boring!), he actually ends up becoming a formidable mentor, ally, and friend to Celaena (much more interesting!) Getting to that point was also quite the journey, their interactions punctuated by ups and downs, but then some of the strongest and most loyal partnerships are forged in this manner.

Back in Adarlan we also have a couple storylines threaded with mystery and intrigue, as Chaol does some sleuthing and uncovers several important revelations about Aedion, the newly arrived general at the royal court. Meanwhile, Prince Dorian struggles with his own secret, one that could cost him his life if his father the king ever found out about it. He strikes up a friendship and later a romance with a palace healer who tries to help him. It would cheapen the experience to give way any more detail than that, but suffice to say, both Chaol and Dorian’s storylines ended up converging in a shocking, gut wrenching climax that seriously knocked me for a loop. Looks like things in this series has started moving away from the predictable throwaway elements, and is instead focusing on working in bolder and weightier developments that might actually cause major ripples further down the road.

It also wouldn’t be right to talk about this book without mentioning the Manon Blackbeak, another character who makes her first appearance in Heir of Fire. The King of Adarlan’s latest plans for domination involve Manon and her people, the wyvern-riding witches. Vicious, bloodthirsty and completely determined to prove herself as the most capable Wing Leader, Manon became an instant favorite, despite her role thus far as an accessory to a tyrant. I loved the side story in here of how she ended up with her wyvern – kind of like How to Train Your Dragon, except considerably less heartwarming and with 500% more brutality. But the bond between rider and mount is well-written and convincing, and the circumstances behind how Manon actually ended up with her wyvern made for an amazing sequence, and it’s one of my favorite scenes in the book.

This one’s much longer book than its two predecessors, but almost everything in the story was important, with hardly any dithering around. It’s a step up from both Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, dealing with heavier and more developed themes. We also go deeper into each character, with the new players like Rowan, Aedion and Manon getting the introductions they deserve, and even familiar characters like Celaena, Chaol and Dorian getting much love and attention from the author when it comes to building up their stories and personalities. So whaddya know, looks like a series can indeed mature with time and subsequent novels, and Heir of Fire is exemplary.

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15 Comments on “YA Weekend: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas”

  1. Sold! So glad to hear that #3 ‘fixes’ the series. I loved Throne so much and wanted to find out more, but Crown did not entice me to do so at all. I will definitely get back on board for this one.

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    • Crown wasted way too much time with the romantic cliches, cut away all that and ultimately there was very little story. It’s the opposite with this one, such a big book compared to the previous two, but most of it was solid 😀

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  2. Very intriguing, I kept hearing that book two would make me love the series more than book one, I skipped the review to avoid spoilers, but is there a safe way to explain what you didn’t love in book two that made it worse the book one?

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    • Sure! Crown had a strong feel of “second book” syndrome in a YA series, though if you enjoy YA romances, it might appeal to you more. I just thought the relationship drama was too drawn out and very predictable, and too much of the book was focused on it. It didn’t get good until the second half!

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  3. Thanks for not spoiling. So glad that the rest of the series is holding up to par with the goodness! I really need to get on reading this, I’ve heard nothing but great things.

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  4. You did it! You finally finished the book!

    Mogsy, I am really sorry that I just skimmed through your review. You already know that I am still trying my best to read this book as soon as possible. Lalalala. *shame on me though* 4.5 stars is making me drool. Promise, I will get to reading this one this week.

    Oh please, I hope Celaena and Dorian are safe. And I wish that there’s still hope for my ship. 🙂

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  5. It’s pretty crazy how some either loved or found this one meh. I only read book 1 but do own book 2. It’s just that I recently learned that reading the prequels is a good idea so ordered them in order to continue with the series. Fantastic review 😀

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  6. I’m sooooo excited about the insane buzz for this book! I know that book 2 was polarizing for a lot of people so I got a bit worried. But I’ve ordered Crown of Midnight and now Heir of Fire so I can power through those and catch up with y’all. Because hello?! Witches? Who ride WYVERNS?? Hell yes. I’ve seen lots of fan art of Manon and she looks like a total bad ass. Can’t wait to be introduced to her.

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  7. Pingback: YA Weekend Audio: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas | The BiblioSanctum

  8. Pingback: YA Weekend Audio: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas | The BiblioSanctum

  9. Pingback: YA Weekend Audio: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas | The BiblioSanctum

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