Book Review: Kingdom of Ash – Sarah J. Maas

 

Caution: This Review contains SPOILERS! If you don’t want any spoilers, Click HERE

This is Book 7 and the final book of a series, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, please head to my Review page and find Throne of Glass and start there :)

The Spoiler review below is definitely not condensed at all. For a condensed version, please also go to the Spoiler free section.


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Name: Kingdom of Ash
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: October 23, 2018

 Synopsis

Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.

As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.


Book Cover Comments

US Edition

Can I please say that now its gold and blue instead of blue and gold hahahaha its like a somewhat mirror to ToD’s theme color

Kingdom of Ash strikes a stark difference that sets it very off from the rest of the series, in which the background uses generally dark, near-black hues of different colors, whereas this one is fullblown gold.

Whether or not any signs of significance in the stark difference and the color itself, its gorgeous and I look at the cover and weep :)

UK Edition

This is the only underwhelmed UK edition for me, simply because all the other US versions felt too overwhelming for me. But when you have a gold background of clarity, you can’t help but be drawn to its US counterpart.


The Actual Review

Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom.

I’ve put this review off for a week or two simply because I didn’t think I was able to revisit everything (despite typing up all the quotes within the first two nights). Everything had passed by so quickly and so soon, and moments were slipping from my mind, yet still vividly imprinted.

Aelin. She was Aelin Ashryver Whitethorn Galathynius, and she was Queen of Terrasen.

And I definitely can’t believe that Throne of Glass has come to an end. I think right now, I still very overwhelmed by the fact that I turned over the last page.
I started reading Throne of Glass back in 2016, so no, I do not have a long history like many other readers do, probably back in the HoF/QoS era where it blew it even more than it already did. But nonetheless, the moment I saw it on the bookshelf, that UK cover sitting in Kinokuniya KLCC-Malaysia, I feared the girl on the cover- yet she seemed to be full of courage and power, so in one throw I picked up the first three books of the series- (since they were on the shelf. Oh and Assassin’s Blade too). Throne of Glass was really the series that got me so involved into the book community, where I met new friends and did different types of digital art (not drawing. I mildly suck).

To walk this path together, back from the darkness of the iron coffin. To face what waited in Terrasen, ancient promises to the gods be dammed.

And here I am, your average 18 year old biatch who still doesn’t do things on time, completely ruined her blog by changing her site name therefore little to no traffic, and so far I’ve managed to meet authors, and last but not least Sarah J. Maas herself.

Beauty. There was still beauty in this world. Stars could still glow, still burn bright, even buried under the earth.

The story starts off with a parallel prologue of Rowan searching for Aelin, and Aelin enduring the pain since the moment she was hauled into Maeve’s iron coffin by, Maeve of course. Sarah does no less of a job to ruin your mood and damage your heart starting from the first page of the book. She made sure you knew what boat you were getting on yourself, and that we have to turn away from the calm healing we got from ToD and get serious to witness the ending.

I am here, I am with you.

Fenrys and Aelin’s interactions honestly break my heart. With the blinking, this secret code that is everything between them, and with only such a few words that kept both of them holding on to that one string of thread for nearly three months. Aelin went through so much in that iron coffin: tormented and tortured, fed different realities until she couldn’t discern one from the other, and I think the worst of all, losing all her scars. Scars tell a tale about the battles that you’ve been through, about the tough times you’ve endured. I too have scars that tell different tales of injuries over my body, and I don’t think I would like to see them go away; they’re all a physical marking of strength and power- not pain. Yet she couldn’t escape her current fate if she wanted to- either way she was cursed to die, and even that can’t be over soon enough.

Fireheart, why do you cry?

And the rawness inside of Aelin when we were told of her thoughts of how Dorian could take her place to forge the lock instead of Aelin herself, and yet no matter the pain, she still fought back with all her might. Aelin couldn’t be broken, told herself that she couldn’t be broken. And for all of us readers, despite the torture she was put through, know that she still came out of the darkness and lit the world on fire.

Live.

PAGE ONE HUNDERD AND TWO EVERYBODY SAY HELLO TO PRINCE ENDYMION AND PRINCESS SELLENE WHITETHORN LIKE HONESTLY NO I CAN’T EXCUSE ME SARAH YOU CANNOT DO THIS
like i thought seeing Endymion was just going to be a one-time thing in Empire of Storms, but Sarah actually brought back Endymion, AND BROUGHT SELLENE with her like this is not okay all the Sailor Moon feelz this IS NOT OKAY.
(also its Serenity not Sellene nor Serena screw you english dub)

True despair, without light or hope. The sort of despair that wished for death. The sort of despair that began to erode strength, to eat away at any resolve to endure.

We need to talk about Aedion’s POV for a second because up north at the battlegrounds, there was just so much. raw. emotion. going on. As much as the fact that I would spend all day just learning about how Aelin and Rowan is doing, Aedion played such an important part in the book, setting the stage for the final battle as the dread and despair builds up. To a point where Aedion would try to resent Lysandra, in which he has a crush on, and Aelin, his other half. I find that amusing: this internal conflict between Aedion. When all is at stake and your power is nowhere to be found, when rumors and whispers break out of the constant missing of the fire-bringer, what happens? What happens when its as if there is not a spark of hope left in the world? You’d rage. Rage at anyone and put the blame on anyone that has caused you misery in the current situation. His raw emotions played such an important part especially in the second half of the book. Caused damage between him and Lysandra. But it is at these times where you realize that it doesn’t do anything, and all you can do is cherish every moment your are given.

“No. But you have to realize that he swore the blood oath to Aelin for you. For no one else. So he could remain near you.”

Honestly cracked up when that fae Esar said “Because you are wearing Lorcan’s shirt, and Rowan Whitethorn’s cloak” to Elide. So funny. And the moment they found out Aelin was in Doranelle and not the other place I immediately though SUCK IT BOIS ELIDE WINS
Elide and Lorcan going back and forth oh boy. Elide couldn’t forgive Lorcan for what he did, couldn’t forgive herself for loving Lorcan. And despite the cliche of “you don’t know what you lose till you lose it”, she knows that no matter what he did, Lorcan still saved her all those days (not years so days it is) ago, knew that no matter what, she didn’t want to lose Lorcan.

She had come for him. Had found him.

The part where Aelin and Rowan reunite just breaks me apart. Aelin was so broken and battered, even to a point where she believed Rowan wouldn’t come for her. And yet he did: he cried and cried until he reached her. And as time passed, Aelin didn’t fully open up; still processed what had happened in the past three months. Yet Rowan continued to be patient, continued to wait until his Fireheart *sobs* is ready. And this relationship between the both of them, that beauty and that respect *not to mention all the cough cough cough cough cough cough*

“Only the Thirteen,” Manon said. “We will bury them.” and Manon ripped away the ancient soil. “We’ll bury all of them.”

Manon and Dorian oh Gods Jesus. Their part of the game was as epic as Roawelin renuited. Manon searches for her other bloodline, the Crochans in order to find allies to help Aelin in finishing Maeve and Erawan. She definitely developed a lot and grew a lot in this book, deciding what she needs over the ironteeth pride, what she needs to do to prove that she is worthy in the world of the witches in order to follow her. Dorian became a catalyst for Manon to become rawer and rawer by the moment (during the times she spends with Dorian), to get closer to fully gaining a human heart and not to fear it, and that it wasn’t cowardice, but it was strength: to acknowledge those around you, to know that you need the powers of others and that you do not need to always be in solitude. The moment she asked Dorian to stay was so vulnerable and so raw, but I loved every moment of it. And when Manon knew she had to ask the Ironteeth witches as well: to say those very words in hopes that they will come for her sake:

“A better world.”

Dorian made a lot of important choices in this book. He also continued to grow in both power and maturity as he comes to decide who he wants to be and what he wants to be. Seeing his conversation with Maeve while he invaded Morath was prime time. His cunning intelligence, knowing exactly how to handle Maeve and how savage he was at the end of is was GOLD. Dorian walked out of the Glass Castle three books ago and shed that old skin of his. No longer was the Dorian trapped under his father’s thumb and within the cage. He has been through everything you can possibly imagine, and while he was no longer like the Dorian before, he came out stronger than ever. (just like Aelin *sobsobsobsobs*)

Who do you wish to be?

I truly believe that Maeve wanted to settle in Wendlyn for good, to escape from the dark world she was in, and everything she told Dorian was true. She let her curiosity take over her, to run away from her life stuck in that world of Obsidian and true black. Does that make her less of a villain? No. But I loved how Sarah added so much more depth to Maeve as a character.

“What you felt in there- that is why I left their world.” She gazed ahead, a shadow darkening her face. “Every day, that was what I felt.”

Then let’s talk about Chaol and Yrene. They’ve had enough of their spotlight in the previous book but I don’t think this paragraph will get anywhere shorter. YRENE IS PREGNANT THANK YOU and honestly Chaol’s dad is a real good roaster when he noticed Yrene’s pregnancy before Chaol did and called him out for it *ROASTED*   But seeing Chaol now grown, fully mature knowing that what happened to his legs will not take away his power and not a single part of who he is, bringing that back into Erilea and getting ready for everything that might come at him, honestly makes me so happy and why Tower of Dawn is significant af. And Yrene, the other hero of this book: with her gift in healing, the strongest healer there is known to be so far and what she did to Erawan, knowing that she will not succumb to the darkness, and that she will hold the will and hope, so that she will walk into the light with her future with Chaol ahead of her, shining brightly.

“You.”

The moment Chaol, Nesryn, Sartaq (Nesryn and Sartaq I can’t afford to spend a paragraph on you but know that I still love you and Nesryn you being the Antican Empress is honestly amazing Antica is amazing and the Antican army and how Aelin moved them to march alongside Aelin to Terrasen oh god the feels) told Aelin the truth:

“They do not answer to Erawan,” Nesryn said quietly, and Aelin knew. Knew from the look Chaol gave her, the sympathy and fear, knew in her bones before Nesryn even finished.

I was blown.
Just like the time they revealed this piece of revelation to Nesryn and Sartaq and Falik.

“Live.”

I will use no more than three lines to talk about when the Thirteen marched to battle in Orynth, what Asterin and the Thirteen chose to do. They did everything, became everything, and shone brightly.

She began screaming then.
Screaming, endless and wordless, as that thing in her chest, as heart, shattered.

I’m at 2000 words but I’m not even done with this full-on spoiler review this is not good but let’s keep going. We’re almost there.

“What is my name?”

Aelin and Dorian forging the lock. Godstars heaven’s sake that part was so ethereal, yet so I don’t even know how to describe it. The moment Rowan started breaking, I started breaking. I couldn’t imagine a life without Aelin truly in it. And when the two of them traversed to the space between worlds, Dorian’s father appeared once again. The man no longer under the control of Erawan, the man who is the unsung hero of this story. What happened between him and Dorian during those moments broke me so badly. And as time continues on and we find out how big of a bag of dingdongs the Gods actually were, I was honestly so pissed and heartbroken. The Gods, as we know of it, were merely selfish beings who only cared for themselves. And for Aelin to hail hell upon them, for the people who died. For Terassen. For Nehemia, for the King of Adarlan, for the Thirteen, for Kaltain.

A map home, a map inked in the words of universes, would lead this way.

SEOUGHSE;OFIJESO;IFS AELIN PASSED THROUGH PRYTHIAN LIKE YOU CANNOT BELIEVE HOW E.T. OF A MOMENT THIS WAS BETWEEN AELIN AND RHYS LIKE ITS NOT INCLUDED BUT I IMAGINED IT ANYWAY WHERE RHYS REACHED OUT TO AELIN AND AELIN REACHED OUT AS WELL AND ASDFGHJKL IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL AND SO STARLIGHT-LIKE AND OAIEWJFAOEJIFOSNEUBFOSEJFPAIEJF

The winged male, beautiful beyond reason, snapped his head towards her as she arced across his starry sky.
He lifted a hand, as if in greeting.

sorry let me recollect myself

Perhaps it had been a final gift of Mala’s, too. To preserve this piece of her that now formed in her hand- this droplet of water.

Pretty amazed at our SJM fandom. Honestly. They found the exact correct route that bypassed the entire problem with Aelin dying and “nameless is my price”. Kudos and claps for all the theories on Tumblr.

I name you Elentiya, “Spirit That Could Not Be Broken.”

Final battle. Kisses and speechlessness to it. Aelin yielded whatever she could, knew that she wouldn’t be afraid because she has her family around her, fighting alongside with her. And she also knew that her family will not break. And that they would all come out together.

Death had been her curse and her gift and her friend for these long, long years. She was happy to greet it again under the golden morning sun.

To their future.

You do not yield.

THE FLOWER THAT BLOSSOMED IN THE WITCHLANDS. HOLY HELL.

“Because I am not afraid.”

A crown of flame, twin to her own, appeared atop his head.

Coronation, farewells and rebuildings. The days continue to past as not all the wisps of darkness has left everyone’s soul. But they know together and with time, they will be able to come on terms with it, to know that it is alright, and that they have family around them to go through their hardships together. And the final moment of the book, when the kingsflame bloomed across Terassen, I wish I could but apparently I’m not sentimental enough cried.

Home at last; home together.

And honestly this entire thing is not a review. I just broke down the book and went on a crazy rampage. But know that this book tore me apart. A lot.


I usually end my reviews with a final collective conclusion of this book, but just for this spoiler review, I’m going to include a poem I wrote during the scene when Manon and the Thirteen buried the witches, because what Dorian said sparked an idea in my mind.

A new kingdom
built upon the ashes
of those who’d died
to pave the path
Laid before us.

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Joanne Lumiere

Joanne is the narcissistic founder of her book blog, Joanne Lumiere. Born and raised in Hong Kong, this 18 year old brat is currently attending college in Los Angeles, and still doesn't know how to read books with sophistication, and yet she runs a blog.

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