Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 4 stars
I am still aiming to work through this series by the end of this year and so although it is not that long since I finished Crown of Midnight I delved immediately straight back in and read Heir of Fire. This may be driven in part by the fact that Tower of Dawn was sitting in my library the other day and I picked it up and so now I need to get through the rest of the series so I can read that before someone else requests it and I need to give it back. No pressure then!
The first thing I noticed about Heir of Fire is that from the outset we are very clearly not in Adarlan anymore, no Celeana has flown over the proverbial rainbow and is now in Wendelyn where she has been tasked with killing the King and his heir so that the evil King of Adarlan can continue his domination of the world. When we find her in Wendelyn though it is clear things are not going according to plan because firstly the Prince seems to be a thoroughly good guy and she really doesn't want to kill him or his father and secondly because she is trying to be incognito and is trying to survive by gambling and is now generally drinking herself into a daily stupor.
From the moment the mysterious Rowan enters the picture though it is clear that this book is going to explore a great deal about Celeana's Fae ancestry, her powers that she must learn to use and what happened to her parents and how she did become the deadly assassin that allowed her to be King's Champion. Rowan is a great new character. Related by blood to Celeana through her Fae mothers side he is sworn to serve her aunt Maeve and is charged with helping Celeana to learn to harness her gifts and to prove she is worthy of her aunt sharing with her the way to destroy the mysterious Wyrdkeys and therefore destroy the central source of the King of Adarlan's powers.
Whilst we have lots of flashback episodes to life in Adarlan and we keep learning about what Chaol and Dorian are up to whilst Celeana is away much of this book takes place in the home of the demi-Fae, Mistborn. There is a whole new cast of wonderful characters to meet and who will help Celeana to learn about her history and to go on that voyage of self-discovery that she needs to in order to learn to use her Fae gifts. In much the way that Throne of Glass was a worldbuilding introduction to the series, I get the feeling that this book is again about building the expansion of the world and placing our players onto the chess board for what is to come in the books ahead.
Therefore much of the book is focused upon Mistborn with Celeana, Adarlan with Chaol and Dorian and finally the view from the Blackwitch, Manon, who tells of how they have been recruited to lead the King of Adarlan's aerial forces and the journey they go on to find their mounts and settle the hierarchy of which clan of witches will lead the charge. Manon is another great addition to the story and she is clearly loyal to her Blackwitch clan but she is independent and good at seeing the wider picture and I am confident she could be a strong player as the story moves forward.
There are so many unanswered questions at the end of this book. We have Rowan and Celeana's relationship, they clearly have a strong bond as Fae but we have had the mating bond mentioned in this story and it could hint that this bond is there but just yet to snap into place. I know many people who really champion this romance and I can understand why but there is still a little bit of me waiting to see how things progress in the next book. The way we left Chaol and Dorian is also really exciting as they are both at a point where there stories are ready to take an entierly new turn in the next book.
When I look back at Book 1 it's clear that we started out with only a glimpse of the eventual story Maas wants to tell. Each and every book expands her world and gives it more texture and more layers that we can delve into. In much the way as the Court of Thorns & Roses series did we are finding new characters to fall in love with and visitng new places and this makes it an ongoing exciting series to read as you never feel you've quite glimpsed the edges of Maas huge imagination, there is always more to see and that's why I find her such an exciting author to read.
Only a 4 out of 5 stars for this one purely because the world building did at times mean plot development could slow for a chapter or so but this was compensated for in part by the historic information we gained about the world before Throne of Glass and Celeana's parents world.