By Chloe Sladden Turner
The heart-breaking but heart-warming, thrilling and explosive to the Throne of Glass series is finally here (in this book review, at least). The Kingdom of Ash sees my personal favourite character, Aelin, along with Adralan King Dorian and Lord Choal who have been a part of the series from the beginning. Not to mention newer characters, who have come later in the series from Aelin’s Fae husband Prince Rowan, her rival now friend the Lady Lysandra, Lysandra’s young ward Evangeline and Aelin’s cousin Prince Aedion (also Lysandra’s love interest), enemy becoming ally, the Fae Lorclean and Elide (who is also Lorclean’s interest) to magical healer and Lord Choal’s new wife, Lady Yrene Towers. The emperor’s royal family from Antica, including Hassar, Kashin and Sartaq (Guard and Archer Nesryn Faliq’s love interest) and Manon Blackbeak, heir to the Iron teeth and Croachan witch throne and her friends in the elite Thirteen Coven of witches.
This book continues to build up and deliver the magical war, set in Aelin’s royal kingdom Terrsan, that has been looming over the characters, for most of the series. Its themes of love, loss, war, fate, friendship and remain relatable to everyone, especially in the fantasy genre of the book.
Kingdom of Ash begins after the events of the last book, Empire of Storms. Aelin and Rowan had married, out of love and for Aelin to allow Rowan to rule Terrsan’s kingdom if the death sealed debt, to put all three wyrdkeys in the gate to prevent the invasion the demonic Valg creatures (who have the abilities to process and kill), is called in. However, Aelin was kidnapped and sent to be tortured by their enemies, the Fae Queen Maeve causing Rowan to lead Lorclean, Gaviel (Aedion’s long lost Fae father) and Elide on a quest to request his wife, Queen of Terrasen, Aelin Ashryver Whitethorn Galathynius. Aelin’s escape/rescue will see her run to the battlefield, ready to use her powers of fire and to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Aedion, is leading the war on the frontlines, spending endless days in battle, and assisted by shapeshifter Lysandra, despite their relationship being tested (while Lysandra is trying to look after her ward) especially after the troops begin to question Aelin, their queen with the gift of fire, and her absence (not knowing of her kidnap).
Adralan’s King Dorian has joined Manon and her second in the elite Thirteen covens Asterin to find the last of the Croachan witches and attempt to rally them to aid Aelin’s war by claiming her birthright as the last Croachan witch queen. This is made harder by Dorian and Manon’s feelings for each other, that only continue to grow along with Dorian’s magic of cold and ice (something he develops to try and find the third wyrdkeys for the gate that will keep out the Valg).
Also, Lord Choal, Lady Yrene, Nesryn, Sartaq along with Sartaq’s siblings Hassar and Kashin and Ruhkin riders from the mountains and magically gifted healers, who are returning to Terrsan from Antica, to bring more allies for Aelin in this war and attempt to use Yrene’s gift to heal those infected by the Valg, made worse with Yrene hiding something from Choal, who is forced to seek help for the war from his cruel absent father.
The book concludes in a final battle, as every character gathers on Aelin’s homeland Terrasen, in one final attempt to win the war against Maeve and Erwan and the Valg. Their happy endings are in sight if they can only hold on long enough to get them.
Over 900 pages, just short of a thousand pages; Kingdom of Ash is a book, you need to commit to reading if you’re going to follow Aelin and company across many pages, but trust me, and it is defiantly worth the read!
Kingdom of Ash, revolves all the character’s storylines in a very natural but engaging way, leaving you satisfied that all is right, once the book ends. The series was something I found by chance, and have loved every minute of every plot and every character, particularly Aelin, who proves someone can still feel down and broken but also be brave, kind and intelligent who will go to great lengths to prove herself, and become who she wants to be, while caring deeply for her loved ones. Not to mention showing how no matter where you come from or how bad things get, as long as you are true to yourself and work for what you want, everything will eventually work out in the end, just give it time.
Cheers to Sarah J Maas. The Throne of Glass series is truly something to be treasured.