”There are choices in my past,” he said tightly, “that I have come to regret. But I can only move on – and attempt to fix them. Fight to make sure they do not occur again.”
Where do I even start with this review?
It was different. Different than all the books that came before because the pacing wasn’t as fast as in the former books and Sarah actually took her time to support the development of her characters and the plot. I know some people might think that an entire book about Chaol would be boring or that such a slow pacing would be detrimental for the overall storyline of the series but for me it wasn’t! Quite the contrary!
I think this book was necessary and needed and if you didn’t read “Tower of Dawn” because you don’t like Chaol and think you can ignore his story, it’s your choice, but I think you’re missing out on a lot of fun and important information that is vital to understand the events in “Kingdom of Ash”. 😉
Yes, this is a book about healing and recovering from injuries, it’s a book about guilt and redemption, it’s a story about a broken man who fights his way back into life, it’s about acknowledging the darkness that lives within all of us and about embracing it in order to learn how to move on. It’s about acceptance! Acceptance of the past, the present, the future, about recognizing your fears and faults, about making amends, but most of all it’s a story about a man who fights his inner demons and learns to love himself.
It’s one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read so far and even though the slow burns and pacing killed me I can still say that it fit the atmosphere of the book perfectly. This was a harmonious masterpiece and I can only speak for myself but from me Sarah gets all the stars and even more!!! <333
I loved this and thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope many other people will read and love it too! =))
You are now entering my “Spoilery Spoiler Section” and if you want to be spoiled take a seat, grab something to eat and drink and enjoy another one of my endless ToG essays. *lol* If you haven’t read this book yet and plan to dive into it soon you better leg it though. XD Consider yourself warned! ;-P
”Lord Chaol Westfall, Hand of the King.
He hated it. More than the sound of wheels. More than the body he now could not feel beneath his hips, the body whose stillness still surprised him, even after all these weeks later.
He was Lord of Nothing, Lord of Oath-Breakers. Lord of Liars.”
Oh Chaol!!! How much I suffered with him throughout the course of this entire book!!! He was so broken and loathed himself so much. To read his POV was more than just painful and to see how all his actions gnawed on him made me infinitely sad. He was practically flagellating himself and his self-hatred knew no boundaries. >_< This poor, poor man!!! Trapped in a broken body and left with a shattered soul. There were so many things he never worked through and if you ask me, it was about time he confronted his inner demons. (Quite literally I may add) And boy how he did it! I AM SO DAMN PROUD OF MY BOY!!! I CAN’T EVEN PUT IT INTO WORDS!!! Chaol’s journey was worth every second of my time! I finally saw the boy I liked so much in those first two books and it was so good to have him back again! To see his journey, to see how he grew in this book, how he accepted his mistakes and learned from them, how he became a stronger person! Gosh, this was everything I ever wanted and more! ❤ Hands down one of the best character arcs I ever had the pleasure to read about! =)) Thank you Queen Maas!!! *bows*
”A man used to being obeyed, yes, but a man also inclined to care for others. Look after them. Driven to do it by a compulsion he couldn’t leash, couldn’t train out of him. Couldn’t have broken out of him.”
”He’d been sinking and drowning since. Long before his spine.
He wasn’t certain if he’d even tried to swim. Not since that sword had gone into the river. Not since he’d left Dorian in that room with his father and told his friend – his brother – that he loved him, and knew it was good-bye. He’d … left. In every sense of the word.”
”A body on a bed. A dagger poised above his heart. A head rolling on stone. A collar around a neck. A sword sinking to the bottom of the Avery.”
”Life. He had life to savor, to fight for.
And the breaking that had started and ended here … Yes, it belonged to him. He was allowed to break, so that this forging might begin.
So that he might begin again.”
”The day I reached these shores, I cast aside that girl. And I will be damned if I let her reemerge. Or let someone tell me what to do with my life, my choices again.”
Haha! Boy, was I angry at Yrene!!! That horrible behaviour!! *lol* Seriously, the way she treated Chaol at the beginning of the book was so appalling! I mean I understand why she did it and why she hated him so much, but she didn’t even know him and never even gave him the benefit of the doubt. So I was basically bristling with indignation when she treated him that bad. XD Once she started to heal him she realized how wrong she was though and to see how she started to care for Chaol, how she realized that he was a good man. Well, let’s just say it was worth all the trouble they had at the beginning. ;-P Plus I loved that Yrene was so stubborn and headstrong and that she never backed down! That woman had guts! *lol* Especially when she threw Hasar into the water because she insulted Chaol. It takes quite some courage to go to such lengths and if there is one thing Yrene has in abundance then it’s certainly bravery. XD
”So she’d figured it was better to remain, to be passed over, not for mere pay, but for the fact that there were so few other guards like her, helping those who needed it most. It was for them she stayed on, kept her head down while lesser men were appointed.”
And here I go with another woman that received my anger at the beginning of the book. *lol* Once again I understand why Nesryn acted the way she did and decided to leave with Sartaq, but damn did it bother me that she didn’t even tell Chaol in person. Yes, they had to leave quickly and were pressed for time, but still. She basically left him to deal with this huge pile of crap and that poor boy was already unable to cope with anything that happened. She should have known better than that and shouldn’t have left him to his own devices. Promises or not this was a shitty move and she knew it. 😉 Despite all that I still like her though. I mean Nesryn is a woman who’s self-confident and knows her weaknesses and strengths. She’s comfortable in her own skin and goes her own way. I have to admire that even though it made me angry at the beginning. *lol*
”There is beauty in my father’s lands,” the prince went on while Kadara ripped into that monstrous carcass, “but there is much lurking beneath the surface, too.”
I LOVE SARTAQ!!! Of all the new characters that were introduced in this book this man definitely was the best!!! GAH! I don’t even know where to start! I loved everything about him! I mean he’s the khagan’s son and he’s a ruk rider and he’s charming, funny, sweet, eloquent, down-to-earth and never hesitates to voice his opinion. He is so honest, honourable, compassionate, caring, courageous and attentive it’s impossible not to love him. <333 Of all the khagan’s children I liked him the most and this right from the very first page he was introduced. XD I really hope we’ll see more of him in “Kingdom of Ash” and I can’t wait to see how all the other characters are going to react to him! =))
”I am sorry – for your loss. As long ago as it was. I … As a warrior, I grew up walking hand-in-hand with Death. And yet this one … It has been harder to endure than others. And my mother’s grief perhaps even harder to face than my own.”
”Hasar was many things, but she was loyal. To her core. To the few, few people whom she favoured. It had always warmed something in Yrene. To have someone who actually meant what they said. Hasar would behead the killer if they were unfortunate to encounter her. She would ask no questions, either.”
I still don’t know if I should like her or if I should dislike her. *lol* On the one hand I admired her brutal honesty and ruthlessness but on the other hand I didn’t like her attitude towards Chaol and Nesryn. Well, truth be told, even towards Yrene. I mean Yrene is her best friend, yet she didn’t even hesitate to use her in order to get some information from Chaol. She didn’t care if her best friend felt threatened by her and she didn’t give a damn about Yrene’s feelings when she basically forced her on Chaol. Right after the motto: The end justifies the means. She seems to be an intriguing character but I didn’t see all too much of her so I’m still undecided. Mhmm… maybe KoA will help me to get to know her better? =)
Yrene & Chaol:
”So you may look at me with resentment Yrene Towers, and I will not blame you for it. But believe me when I say that there is no one in Erilea who loathes me more than I do myself.”
To say those two had a bad start would be putting it more than just mildly! *LOL* They were at each other’s throat right from the moment Yrene walked into Chaol’s room, but they both had to go a long way and it was so nice to see them grow. Not just character-wise but also in the sense of growing together. I think that describes it really well. Over time their initial distrust turned into hesitant acceptance, a solid friendship and then into something more. And I LIVE for relationships like that! <333 Those two were so amazing together and there were so many moments that caused me to gasp. For instance the intense scene at the dinner party of the khagan’s children! I swear the air was burning between them! And the moment when Yrene coaxed him into walking towards her? Gosh, such a beautiful chapter and so typical for Chaol. He only started to walk because he wanted to apologize to her. *shakes head* Sweet boy! I have to admit that the ending kind of threw me though. I mean he went all this way, Yrene healed him fully and then he gave his life for her and once again was almost killed in the process. It’s just not fair that he had to suffer again, that he’ll suffer for the rest of his life now that Yrene made that deal with the goddess, but it still … idk it fits?! Their lives are connected now, not just by their love but also by the bond that was forged when Yrene saved him. And considering how deep their love is, this is kind of perfect and suitable? I mean, they probably couldn’t imagine a life without each other anyway so I guess it’s good they are tethered to each other? *lol* I’m making no sense, but I hope everyone who read this book knows what I mean! XD And I really, really, really hope they’ll both survive KoA! >_<
”Everything I thought, everything I had planned and wanted … It’s gone. All I have left is my king, and this ridiculous, slim scrap of hope that we survive this war and I can find a way to make something of it.”
“Of everything that crumbled in my hands. Everything.”
”I don’t share a bed with patients. And you’re with Captain Faliq,” she added quickly. “And you’re –“
“Not in fit form to pleasure a woman?”
He was shocked he said it. But again more than a tad smug to see her eyes flare.
“No,” Yrene said, somehow going redder. “Certainly not that. But you’re… you.”
“I’m trying not to be insulted.”
Yet Yrene wrapped her arms around herself and said, “I feel safer here.”
Chaol tried not to blink at her. At the words.
With him. She felt safer here with him.
”He didn’t understand – how she could be so delicate, so small, when she had overturned his life entirely. Worked miracles with those hands and that soul, this woman who had crossed mountains and seas.”
Nesryn & Sartaq:
”After last night’s party, I had thought you would be … preoccupied.”
With Chaol. Her brows rose. “All day?”
The prince gave her a roguish smile, finishing off his long braid and picking up his spear once more. “I certainly would take all day.”
BLESS SARTAQ and his unapologetic flirting!!! *lol* I loved him so much and it was so funny to see self-confident Nesryn blush! Those two killed me! Throughout the entire book I may add! GAH! I swear I rarely came across such a slow burn (the only other example that instantly comes to mind is “The Raven Cycle”) and up until almost the last page I was like: “KISS GODDAMIT!! KISS!!! WHY WON’T YOU FINALLY KISS??!!! ADKASDLFSJAJKLMNÖ!” I swear, I was constantly complaining to Gem about them not even holding hands (Thank you for enduring my rants btw! *lol*) and I couldn’t believe that Sarah actually went for such a slow burn! XD I mean when I think about EoS… well you get the idea. Haha! Anyway, those two were so cute together, especially Sartaq, that I just wanted this ship to sail. Badly! And OMG was it a relief when they FINALLY kissed in the end! I hope they’ll have a few tender moments in KoA as well and that this isn’t all we get because ARGH I might actually die if a chaste kiss is everything they are going for. Look at me complaining about all those sexy scenes in EoS and now begging for some with Sartaq and Nesryn. *lmao* Sarah, you clearly messed me up big time… *shakes head*
”It took her another minute to stop trembling. Sartaq patiently waited, stroking her hair, fingers rippling over the ridges of Borte’s braid. She let him, leaned into the touch while she studied the gap they’d now have to jump, the stairs still beyond.”
”But even as the night moved on, as Nesryn sang in that beautiful mountain-hall, she felt Sartaq’s stare. Different from any he’d given before. And though she told herself she should, Nesryn did not look away.”
Sartaq smiled at her – gently. Sweetly. In a way she had not yet seen.
“I loved you before I even set eyes on you,” he said.
“Please,” Nesryn wept.
Sartaq’s hand tightened on hers. “I wish we’d had time.”
Nesryn left her body. Could only manage to breathe.
And when she tried to bow, Sartaq gripped her shoulders tightly. Stopped her before her head could even lower. “Never from you,” he said quietly.
Dorian & Chaol:
”Even as boys, I knew he was not his father’s son. I knew a better future lay with him, if I could make sure Dorian lived long enough. If he not only lived, but also survived – emotionally. If he had an ally, a true friend, in that court of vipers. Neither of us was old enough, strong enough to challenge his father. We saw what happened to those who whispered of rebellion. I knew that if I, if he set one foot out of line, his father would kill him, heir or no. So I craved the stability, the safety of the status quo.”
Those moments when Chaol thought about Dorian were the death of me. So much pain on both sides and Dorian never even blamed Chaol for leaving him in the castle. I can’t wait until those two are reunited again and I’m sure I’ll cry like a baby when they face each other after everything that happened. I just want them to hug and to be happy! <333 This friendship survived so much, I hope it will survive that final war too! They deserve it! *sobs* T_T
”I don’t know. He is free – he is alive. But is he fine? He suffered. Greatly. In ways I can’t begin to…” His throat tightened to the point of pain. “It should have been me. I had always planned for it to be me instead.”
Aelin & Chaol:
For wherever you need to go – and then some. The world needs more healers.
There, in her handwriting…
Chaol looked up at last, blinking away tears as he scanned his wife’s face. Every beautiful line, those golden eyes.
A gift from a queen who had seen another woman in hell and thought to reach back a hand. With no thought of it ever being returned. A moment of kindness, a tug on a thread…
THIS MOMENT!!! I cried so freaking much when Chaol discovered that Aelin was the woman who helped Yrene all those years ago. This scene was so moving I’m having tears in my eyes just thinking about it. Precious Chaol crying. T_T Ahh, I swear there are so many different feels when I think about this revelation and they make me a crying mess, so I better stop talking about them now. XD
All told, I enjoyed this book even more than I expected and to say I loved every single second of it would probably be the understatement of the century. There was never a dull or boring moment and after reading five books (6 if you count “The Assassin’s Blade”) I was actually surprised that I’m still able to fall for newly introduced characters. Thank you, Sarah! ❤
And of course special thanks also go to my precious Gem! I wouldn’t have survived this book (and the slow burns) without you and I’m so glad we’re already reading the last book together! =) I can’t believe we actually buddy read this entire series!!! *lol* What’s going to come next?! We need another long series like that! XD