Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas Book Review

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas Book Review

An End and a New Beginning

It has been a long journey to the final book in the series, and while I cannot say that it was perfect, I can definitely say that it was spectacular.

This review will be a little different from my usual format. Instead of going through each aspect of the book and giving our opinion, we’re just going to dive right into the review. If you have not read this series and intend to, please stop reading here.

I. The Plot

A queen captured, a king on a suicide mission, a mate desperate for a sign, and a witch on her knees. These four things best describe the main story plots we’ve all been waiting for. Aelin had been captured and had been kept in an iron coffin undergoing torture for who knows how long, Dorian infiltrating the Valg king’s lair seeking answers.

Rowan desperately looked for Aelin, unable to tug into their connection to even find out if she was still alive or not, and Manon, seeking the help of her former enemies, looked for an army of witches to bring to war.

There was no lack of scenes throughout this book that gave me goosebumps. I will say that this book has filled me with a mix of dread, despair, frustration, happiness, a spirit of revenge, and absolute wanting for war. 

The scenes were written vividly and made me feel like I was part of the war and everything else happening.  I was filled with a sense of urgency throughout each chapter, and a sense of frustration at the slow pace things were going at times. 

II. The Cons

There are a few cons I’ve listed: I felt it fell short of expectations and felt more like fan service sometimes. That isn’t to say the book wasn’t good; like I said, it wasn’t perfect, but it was still a veritable end to the series.

To begin with, I felt like Aelin’s stand was quite mellow, sort of sad to see despite the build-up toward it; it would have been better to have her, at least, be able to burn her fire through the enemy lines, a grand display of her passion and fire.

It would have built up better if she could fatally wound Maeve or even kill her before sealing the gate. To be honest, this would have been a better end to the war—if she had sealed the gate AFTER Yrene, Dorian, Lysandra, and Elide had killed Erawan. This made sealing the gates utterly stupid and lost its urgency.

Second, The portals—to reveal the lost fae and wolf tribe, were incredibly out of place and got lost in the events that happened. It felt more like a filler, which was put there to establish further that Aelin had done everything and thought of anything to win the war. 

Third, the THIRTEEN! Their death was utterly out of place and was lacking in overall effect. Although it was not lacking in valiance, the sacrifice was perfect and what it entailed was that they yielded despite being some of the strongest witches of their age since yielding was usually reserved for the younger and weaker—more eager to yield and be useful than fight to the death, the Thirteen’s deaths fell a little flat.

I had expected them to wipe out more than just a witch tower and a small host with all of them combined. They are STRONG. They should have been able to blast through at least a quarter of Erawan’s forces. 

Lastly, the fact that Maeve had been so gullible was also quite jarring. It was something that glared at me throughout the books. But it could be chalked up to her arrogance. Still, I expected her to be more cunning with everything they built her up to be. I mean, she did manage to trick everyone into forgetting she was a Valg Queen! She needed more than this character arc.

III. The Pros

With the cons out of the way, I’ll move on to the main pros of the book. There were a lot of good things about this book, but I believe these were the most important to mention. 

For starters, the death of the Thirteen absolutely wrecked me. It was so sad to read that Manon, in the end, realized that the death of the Thirteen broke the curse. Even now, it gives me chills just thinking about it. Their death was not in vain and will be celebrated by generations to come just as they should be. 

Second, although there was a bit of frustration for me with Rowan and the others looking for Aelin in all the wrong places, the scene where she practically destroyed the iron coffin, convincing herself not to yield, was spectacular. I had to contain myself because I was about to throw my phone at the wall due to utter excitement.

Third, although I did point out above that we should’ve seen more of Aelin’s fire, her display in Anielle with the wave was mesmerizing. It was absolutely heartbreaking to realize that the fire she burned that day was meant to destroy Maeve.

Fourth, the ending was beautifully written and paced out. It didn’t feel dragged out or too rushed. It was perfectly timed to keep you wanting and satisfied at the same time. The writing also left enough to the imagination without leaving too many questions unanswered. It gave me enough to leave me satisfied with how it ended. Which; for me, is rare in books. 

IV. Conclusion

Overall, I felt this book was the perfect end to the series and perfectly translated the frustrations and wrong decisions of war. Nothing ever went to plan exactly as they hoped, making the events more real for me. 

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐




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