It’s all over and I’m sad.
I waited to read this book until I couldn’t take the waiting anymore, and then once I started it, I made it last as long as I could because I really didn’t want to say goodbye to this series.
The first thing that really comes to mind when I think about this book is the scope of it. It’s vast. I can’t believe how much happens and where the story takes us—it’s nearly 1,000 pages but I still can’t fathom all that went down within one book. We’re with traveling armies from the south, we’re with the cadre searching the continent, we’re with the witches in the mountains. We’re all over the place and with so many characters. It was exactly the epic finale to Aelin’s story that I was expecting. Actually, the whole thing exceeded my expectations. This series has demonstrated SJM’s unmatched ability to weave incredibly intricate plots and this book only made me admire her more. Like all ToG readers, I’ve come to expect the unexpected from Aelin but she never fails to shock me. It’s overwhelming because it seems nothing in this series was coincidental—certainly nothing done or said by Aelin. There are so many twists and bombshells in this book that made me want to scream. It’s difficult to write a review without spoilers because all I want to do is write how I felt about every insane plot twist, but just know that I was emotionally drained the entire book because of the whirlwind of emotions I went through. I laughed, I gasped, I got chills, I was angry, my hands were sweating from nerves—you get the point. There was a lot going on, for the characters and me.
There was a ridiculous amount of action in this book. I absolutely love how many points of view we get in this series because it allows us to jump around to different areas of battles and keeps everything quick and chaotic. Also, we jump around not just within battles but to completely different parts of the world where other characters were handling important tasks. This only adds to the wild intensity of the whole book because it propelled me forward. I never wanted to put it down, I always wanted more. More of the character I was currently reading and more of everyone that I knew was doing something huge and vital while I wasn’t with them. It was stressful. As usual, SJM’s writing was wonderful, dramatic and impactful. Battles were fast and chaotic but managed to have emotional moments worked in as well. There is no shortage of emotional scenes throughout the book. All of it—emotional, quieter scenes and intense scenes—built to a powerful, unexpected ending. None of it happened the way I thought it would and I was left destroyed, pretty much a husk of my former emotionally stable self. But it was worth it.
I love these characters so, so much. I was incredibly nervous before I even started the book because I knew people I cared about could die and that fear never left me over the course of the novel. Nobody felt safe, I was never sure a character would make it. I love everyone’s story and journey in this book. We see a completely different side of Aelin, too. We pick up with her where we left off in Empire of Storms and it allows us to see a different, more vulnerable, less self-assured version of her. Also, characters I loved became so much more important than I could’ve ever thought possible. I already thought the antagonists were great, but Maeve became an even more interesting, vital villain in this book. Not just because of what we learn in ToD, but because of how much of her background we read about. She’s evil and terrible and the worst ever, but I loved hearing about her past and her reasons for being horrid. She was so manipulative and powerful and just the perfect villain. I like her more than Erawan, I think she’s a more interesting character. I just loved everything so much even when I was upset over something because I love watching the characters react and feeling everything with them.
I think I spent this whole book in a state of utter shock. I could barely get my mind around one thing before something else huge happened. Everything just kept getting worse and worse. It was crazy but I loved every second of it. It was a very emotional read and I’m really sad to leave these characters and this world behind. I just love them so much and feel so invested in their lives—it’s kind of awful knowing I’ll never read a ToG book for the first time again. But I plan on rereading this series a lot. I’m very satisfied with Kingdom of Ash. It was a thrilling story and an epic conclusion to Aelin’s story.
Thanks for reading,