Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom…
Summary – spoilers for the previous books in the series
Aelin has given up everything for her friends and for her beloved country. Locked in an iron coffin, she endured months of torture and her will is slowly starting to break. The chance of anyone saving her is getting smaller and smaller with every single day. Meanwhile, Rowan is determined to get his mate back, no matter the cost. Even though he knows that if he will manage to rescue her she will still have to pay the ultimate price to forge the Lock.
There is nothing I love more than being able to observe the author’s growth throughout the series. Sarah writing has improved greatly over the span of these seven books and Kingdom of Ash is an excellent proof of that. If you previously have been annoyed by too much repetitions (“mate” and “male” is still overused, but come on, you can’t have everything) or ellipses in Sarah’s books, this one might pleasantly surprise you.
Every (well… almost every character. But we will get to that in a second) character in this book went through a lot in this book. They experienced tremendous pain, trauma and loss. And they grew from it. It made them stronger. And I couldn’t be more proud of them.
One of my main worries before I started this book, was that with how many things Sarah had to wrap up in this novel, there wouldn’t be enough time for Aelin to acknowledge and heal from her trauma. And in a way I was right. There wasn’t enough time, because that kind of experience isn’t anything you can heal from – and definitely not in a span of weeks. I think that Sarah managed to portray that perfectly.
I loved reading about all of the characters in this book (of course, I liked reading about some of them more than about the others, but that’s a completely different story). Some of them I have known for many years and they have been present in my life on a daily basis. That’s why this book is very special to me.
This made the issues I have feel very big and important. Firstly, Nesryn and Sartaq were completely unimportant and their chapters were used exclusively to update the reader about what was happening on the battlefield. They had no other function. I really liked them in Tower of Dawn and I was hoping for something more in this book and unfortunately I was let down.
But what was bothering me even more were the deaths in this book. And I am not angry and grief-stricken because my beloved characters were killed off. Actually, it’s the opposite. I think that Sarah took the easy way out and didn’t kill anyone that was really important, that many people were attached to. But the worst part is – these deaths felt pointless. I felt like these characters didn’t have to die at all – the only purpose of their sacrifice was to shock the reader. I was prepared for a lot of death (a lot more than actually happened), but I also was prepared for it to mean much more. I cried anyway though. I cried a lot, actually.
This novel has A LOT of POVs. Because of that, even though this book is almost 1000 pages long there isn’t that much going on. But that doesn’t mean it’s boring. Actually, it’s the exact opposite.
I found the pacing of this book to be really comforting. I constantly felt like the story was moving forward, but it was never too rushed.
I am happy with the ending of this book and I am honestly impressed that Sarah managed to tie all of those loose ends into one coherent story
I also have some things that I didn’t like about this story and I would really like to talk about them.
First of all, I think that not showing us the reunion of Aelin and Nox was cruel. I have been waiting for him to appear for almost the entire series and all I got was two or three scenes with him, and in none of them was he even near Aelin.
Secondly, I am aware of the fact that Sarah overdid it with smut a couple of times. Her sex scenes are sometimes ridiculous or borderline funny (though they can also be very sweet and romantic). She got a lot of hate for how unrealistic her smut is and I feel like she was overwhelmed by it – to the point that she decided to avoid it completely. And I am definitely not okay with that. I have been waiting for that Elorcan moment for two years and I got nothing at all. I feel like I have been robbed.
And lastly, the biggest problem I had with this book is a very unpopular opinion. I think that the Rhysand cameo was completely unnecessary or at least should have been done in a different way. Don’t get me wrong – I love the idea of Erilea and Prynthian (and even our world) being a part of the same universe. I love it! All I am saying that if I wanted to know that Feyre is pregnant (and I didn’t want to know that) I would have waited for the next book in the ACOTAR world to come out and I would have read it (which I am not going to do). I am just very, VERY against Feyre being pregnant so soon after she explicitly stated in ACOMAF that she wanted to wait to have kids. I have said this in my review of ACOFAS and I am going to say this again – I believe that the only reason Feyre suddenly decided that she wants kids was because Sarah was pregnant when she was writing that novel.
I want you all to know that the 5 stars this book got from me is not an objective rating. More than that, I am perfectly aware of the fact that it’s not a 5 star book. But… it is for me. This entire series played a huge role in my life and has been my daily companion for years. I wouldn’t be able to rate it any lower even if I tried.
I loved this book. And I loved this series. I was so worried that the ending of this book wouldn’t do the entire series justice, but it really delivered an amazing conclusion. And even though I am very happy with the way this story was wrapped up I can’t believe it’s over. I am going to miss that. This world, this story, these characters. Everything. I am going to miss that very much.
CONTENT WARNING: torture, violence, pregnancy