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Book review: ‘Queen of Shadows’ is taut with action, violence in 4th Throne of Glass novel

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QUEEN OF SHADOWS: Throne of Glass, Book 4,” by Sarah J. Maas, Bloomsbury, $18.99, 645 pages (f) (ages 15 and up)

Teen assassin and King’s Champion Celaena Sardothien has returned to Rithold, the capital of Adarlan, from her assignment to Wendlyn in the opening scenes of “Queen of Shadows,” the fourth of six books in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. She’s returned with a plan as she’s also embraced her heritage, both as a Fae and the rightful queen of Terrasen, and is now Aelin Ashryver Galathynius.

She was a child when she left Terrasen in the aftermath of her parents’ death and was taken and trained as an assassin. Before returning there, she has to fight the otherworldly dark princes and commanders that are taking over humans, including crown Prince Doran Havilliard, and unravel their secrets; find a way to free her loyal cousin Aedion Ashryver, who awaits his death sentence in the castle’s dungeon; and settle a score with her previous boss, Arobynn, the king of the assassins.

There are loyalties of past friends and foes to assess and figure out as both Chaol Westfall, the former captain of the king’s guard who now leads a group of rebels helping to free those who are Fae or have other magical abilities, and Lysandra, a courtesan also under Arobynn’s thumb, come back into her life.

Maas weaves a story that’s like getting on a roller coaster, with quick twists and turns in unexpected combinations as Aelin and others slowly reveal their plans and secrets throughout the tightly plotted storyline, and some things may not turn out exactly as planned, especially as a couple of Fae from Wendlyn show up in Rithold. Even with the daily struggle to stay alive, each character’s personality shines through as the narration switches among several characters.

A parallel storyline that started in the third book, “Heir of Fire,” continues with Manon Blackbeak, heir of the Blackbeak Witch-Clan, and other witches who are training in the mountains of Morath to ride wyvern and fight in the skies for the king of Adarlan as they realize there is a darker, sinister side to the men they ride for. Manon and her coven of Thirteen face decisions and circumstances that cause them to show their humanity and compassion — something witches aren’t known to do.

There is frequent swearing throughout the novel, which is also drenched in violence from executions, hand-to-hand combat and larger battles. There are also several instances of sexual innuendo and sexual tension between a few of the characters.

Maas, a New York native and Pennsylvania resident, is also the author of “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” the first book in a trilogy and released earlier this year, and several Throne of Glass prequel novellas.

Email: rappleye@deseretnews.com, Twitter: CTRappleye

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