“But just remember that this fear of yours? It means you have something worth fighting for – something you care so greatly for that losing it is the worst thing you can imagine.”
Guys. I cannot even form words. This was amazing. There was SO much to digest! I needed a while. After some thought, I do think I’d give it 4.5 stars for some minor plot devices and choices, but omg it was a brilliant book. I still don’t even know if I can coherently discuss my thoughts about it. I am sure it will be pretty all over the place, but what can you do 🤷♀️. When something is this magnificent you just start talking about it okay?!? Spoilers below, so beware!
This is the last book in the Throne of Glass series (as of right now, according to SJM, although there are clearly avenues left open for spinoff series or novellas). At nearly 1,000 pages, Kingdom of Ash has a ton to unpack and discuss. I have never been one to shy away from a large book, so I was excited when I heard how long it was going to be. I felt like such a series needed an ending that long, just to cover all of the loose ends. And honestly? I could tell that they limited Maas to just under 1,000 pages. There were parts of the book that I felt could have been even more elaborated upon. Or maybe that’s just me not wanting the series to end. Regardless of whatever I felt was missing, I still thought the book was extremely well-crafted.
Looking simply at the bones of the novel, setting aside all of the story and character elements, this was one SJM’s tightest, most well developed, and well paced books. It had a certain serenity to it, almost a wisdom or maturity in the writing that has only been hinted at in previous novels. It was truly her best work to date. You could see the effort that went into every twist and turn of events, how all of the threads she laid out over the series came together and fit perfectly into one final climax. There was no wasted page time and all of the major events were given the weight they needed to really tell an impactful finale. Her writing was fantastic. She even toned down some of the phrases that even I felt were overused in her work, which I appreciated. I loved seeing the distinctive shifts in tone and voice as she (somehow) managed to incorporate over ten different perspectives. She was in complete control of the narrative throughout and nothing ever wavered or got lost. It was so well done!
I am not quite sure even where to start going over this one, because SO much went on here. Clearly, I was deliberating for a long time before posting this review, but it was daunting to even try and discuss everything that I wanted to. All I can think to say is how much I loved this book and enjoyed this series. I think I am just going to offer you guys a random list of what I loved/din’t love about Kingdom of Ash. That’s the most organized method, right?? 😂
What I Loved
- Aelin’s torture was heartbreaking and well executed. It was clever of Maas to make it so brutal and painful, but somehow not permanent, as well. Her losing her scars was a lot more devastating than I would have guessed. The mental torture was equally as terrible (in a good way). Her vision of her mother was particularly moving. Having Aelin question what was real and not real throughout the book was effective.
- Aelin and Fenrys became one of my absolute favorite relationships in the series, and Fenrys had amazing character development here. The blinking broke me.
- I still love that Maas does not shy away from showing the harsh and bloody, the uncomfortable and mature content.
- Aelin did not just magically recover once she was rescued. That was very important.
- The battle scenes were very reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. I know that Maas is a huge fan and it certainly came through in that aspect of the story especially. They were very well written, and had a great balance of action and narrative.
- The scene where Elide ran Butterfly into battle to find Lorcan was amazing.
- Lysandra is forever the baddest of asses. Her perseverance in battle, and in life, was tragic and so inspiring. She is such a strong character.
- Evangeline melting the heart of Darrow was unexpected and pure, and I really liked that.
- Manon and Dorian’s relationship. I was always on board for them being a twisted and messed up couple that finds solace in each other. They did that here, and the little hints of them slowly healing and becoming more to each other were just fantastic. I love those kinky bitches.
- Manon becoming queen of the witches and gaining their respect and trust and loyalty. Yas queen!! I was SO here for it. Star crown!!!
- Abraxos and his mate 🖤💔.
- The Thirteen. That scene literally had me in tears and I was not at all prepared for it. I had to put the book down for a second; it was too much! I felt so bad for Manon 😭. Asterin will always have a place in my heart.
- The little folk and the crowning scene at the end.
- The epilogue with Fleetfoot and the kingsflame!!!
- Rowan and Aelin banter, just like the old days. Sassy Aelin is the best Aelin.
- Aelin tricking the gods and then the falling through worlds sequence that gave us a brief glimpse of Feysand. I had chills during that scene.
- Dorian’s father being “nameless” and Dorian coming to terms with his hatred.
- Lord Lorcan Lochan 😂.
- Aedion being an inspiration to his men, fighting with unwavering pride, and being such a fearless leader.
- Nox appearing.
- The reunions of the characters throughout the book. When the original trio came together and said goodbye. I was just very emotional, okay???
What I Didn’t Love Quite as Much
- Dorian having shapeshifting powers was not completely unbelievable for me, but it was pretty convenient. I would have liked that power to stay with Lysandra and her uncle only perhaps. I did enjoy how Dorian learned how to do it, though, and how sneaky he was about it.
- Chaol and Yrene are honestly sooooo bland. They were both better in this novel, because we didn’t get too much of their perspectives, but my god they are boring. Chaol still annoys the hell out of me. Yrene is pretty important and awesome in this book, but at the same time….I didn’t care? It seemed almost forced, honestly, how we were supposed to suddenly worship her.
- Gavriel’s death was not handled super well. It was a cop-out death, because Maas clearly didn’t want to kill any of her faves. While I understand this, I think that it would have made the series that much more elevated, realistic, and memorable if she had. You can’t have such high stakes and then kill off one minor character that never even really had a relationship with his son. Trying to make the reader so emotionally invested in Aedion’s pain felt forced. I didn’t buy it. I felt more emotion from the rest of the cadre at Gavriel’s death.
- Erawan’s death was way too quick. For such a powerful being, it seemed too easy for Yrene to just burn him up like that.
- Aedion’s treatment of Lysandra all book was over the top and too much honestly. It made me way less invested in their relationship and I was kind of hoping that they would be left unresolved at the end.
- Everything was just tied up a little too nicely in the end.
- While I have never really minded it, the “everyone has to be in a relationship by the end of the series” thing was pretty noticeable here.
- So I realize that this book was edited down a ton and was still crazy long, but I was wishing there were more smutty scenes, not gonna lie. Like what was that fade-to-black bs with Lorcan and Elide!?
- I wanted more Sartaq and Nesryn, dammit!!
- Again, I feel like the build up for “one of them must sacrifice themselves” was ultimately handled in a cop-out way. Of course, I am happy that neither Aelin nor Dorian had to die, but don’t build it up like that if nothing is really gonna come out of it, ya know??
I could literally go on and on, but I think I’ll end there. Now, I am part of the minority of readers, in that I was pretty meh about Throne of Glass when I read the first two books, but it just got so much better as it went on. It evolved into something amazing and awe-inspiring. I am so thankful to Sarah J Maas for creating such an epic, motivational, and engrossing series. It will forever be one of my absolute favorite sagas and Aelin’s story will always resonate with me.
I adore it and I am sad to see it end. But what a perfect ending it was. Thank you, Sarah. What did you guys think? Was it everything you were hoping for?
Title: Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7)
Author: Sarah J Maas
Genre: Fantasy | Action | Fiction | New Adult | Adventure
Publication Date: October 23, 2018
Page Count: 992 pages