"Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”
Had the whole book been like the last 150 pages it would have been a 5-star-book. But considering the first 400 pages it almost deserves an even lower rating. What had Sarah J. Maas done? I love that series and I will pick up the next book but Heir of Fire is the weakest of the first three books.
Like the A Crown of Midnight review this will not go too much into the story since I do not want to spoil anyone. The storyline in Heir of Fire was all over the place. Our three main characters are at different locations and I think that was my first problem with this book. Without the dynamic between the characters every single one of them seems very flat. It would have helped if the storyline would have been interesting but that was not the case. In the first 400 pages there was not even a real storyline. Maas was talking and talking without saying anything. There was no story development. For 400 pages I did not even know if there even was a point to this book. Why do I have to read over and over again how Celaena tries something and fails doing it. Again and again and again. It was like “She walks into the forest, picks up a rock, and goes home again” – for 400 pages!!!! Almost nothing happened. Dorian’s and Chaol’s storylines were not any better. There was so much potential in their storylines but besides the fact that there appearances in the book were limited Maas enjoyed describing pointless things too much. There could have been so much action, intrigue, and politics at the court but instead we got to read how they go somewhere, wait, and then go somewhere else.
In Heir of Fire we get introduced to a few more characters. One of them is Manon Blackbeak, a witch. Manon gets her own storyline and in the beginning I was not too excited about that. I did not care about the witch. I wanted to know what the main characters were doing. But after the first 100 – 200 pages, when it got obvious that the other storylines were dragging, Manon’s storyline picked up. Suddenly I cared more about her and what was going around her than any other character. Manon is a cruel and heartless person but in the course of the book her character development is amazing. Her changes are thought through and reasonable. Her relationship to Abraxos is interesting and funny at times. Manon’s storyline was what kept me reading the first 400 pages.
When we are talking about character development, what has Maas done to Celaena?! In the first two books Celaena was this strong and fierce character. She had endured so much but she did not break in the process. She was a fighter. In Heir of Fire Celaena is a self-pitying, constantly bawling and complaining mess. What has happened?! Why is she suddenly falling apart about things she could handle for the last 10 years? And why is she always crying and giving up? I cannot count how many times Calaena was wailing about the unfairness of the world and how useless and a coward she is, then she would go running around like a madman and screaming around how she hated the world before would be back to crying and self-pitying herself. I did not understand this change in character at all. And I disliked it so much. That was not the Celaena I admired in the first two books. Another thing I did not understand was why her short friendship with Nehemia left such an emotional impact on here while the tortures of her lover Sam are hardly even mentioned. She had not even known Nehemia for 6 month and suddenly the whole world resolved around her? Did I miss a big memo or something? What is going on in Celaena’s head (besides self-pity)?
In conclusion, the first 400 pages of this book were a mess. I got the feeling that even Maas did not know what the point of the story was. This book would have improved a lot if it had been shortened by at least 100 pages. The storyline was all over the place with no meaning behind it and the character developments were unreasonable and fell completely flat at times. Beloved characters became pale shadows of themselves. What made the book enjoyable in the end where Manon’s storyline and the last 150 pages. It was a reminder of the greatness that this book series actually is. It was action-packed, driven, and heart-wrenching. I could not put the book down in the end even though it was way past midnight. I know books build up towards the end but a book that is pointless and boring for more than 2/3 of the story and great only for less than 1/3 is just not an amazing book. I will pick up the next book in the series and I am looking forward to it but I hope it will be more like the first 2 books or the last 150 pages of Heir of Fire.