Quick short breaths. Heartbeat racing. Mental preparation for what might end up being the best, or the worst, thing to ever happen to me. Opening my eyes and taking a big calming breath, finally (after many seconds of hesitation) I turned the first page of Sarah J Maas’ new book, Heir of Fire…
In the first book of Maas’ bestselling series Throne of Glass, Maas mostly introduced the main character Celaena and does the required amount of world building whilst also creating the onset for a sequel. Then, in said sequel, Crown of Midnight, Maas develops on romances and lets the reader have a teasing glimpse at the horrors and secrets of Celaena’s past, an intriguing thing that is often referred to though never quite revealed.
Ending with a truly unexpected cliff-hanger that reminds the reader that they know nothing about the fair, though brutal assassin – despite spending 12,323 pages with her. You can’t even imagine my excitement and anticipation when I was handed the third book, Heir of Fire.
Even though Maas undoubtedly remains one of my favourite authors, I had almost given up on her expanding on the minimal world building she did in the first and second books. I mostly expected another version of the romanticized world where everything is black and white, bad or good.
Boy was I in for a shock.
Changed continent, multiple viewpoints, new entities, countless new characters… Heir of Fire was a whole different book to its predecessors. Celaena is training with the fae, learning their ways so she can get the information needed from the Immortal Queen Maeve, and Rowan, her assigned trainer (and torturer) seems to be an unnecessary evil. However, with the help of Rowan, Celaena unlocks the mystical, all-powerful fae side of herself so she can truly become the Heir of Fire.
Meanwhile, Chaol (the Crown Prince) and Dorian (the Captain of the Guard) are amidst their own struggle to hide their own dangerous secrets and maintain their friendship. With traitors in their midst and old magic stirring, someone is bound to end up on the Tyrannical King’s chopping block. For the first time, we really fear for the character’s lives as Maas turns all George R R Martin on us and seems to be equally willing to put her characters through terrible suffering and ultimately, death.
That doesn’t even seem to be the half of it. With the old magic, new, unheard of, creatures are roaming the lands again and, to top it all off, the age old witches, brutal, unforgiving beings with a powerful weapon placed in their hand by the King of Adarlan.
Somehow, Maas manages to squeeze in flashbacks as the true message of the book begins to unveil itself. Maas suggests that no matter what you go through, how hard things are, just trying to push things back and hiding them isn’t going to help because in the end that burden’s going to become too much to bare. Bit by bit, people, places and things from Celaena’s past re-emerge showing us that the past is just as extensive, and dangerous, as the future. Piece by piece, Celaena battles that tremendous fear of the past and emerges victorious.
With all these unexpectedly amazing new additions, it was almost like my head was exploding…but in a good way. With a few masterfully created battles taking place and a whole legion of kick-ass witches thrown into the mix I just can’t wait to see what Maas comes up with in the next book. After reading Heir of Fire, my suspicion that everything Maas touches turns to gold has been confirmed to be true.