Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
At long last we have the conclusion to Throne of Glass, a series that has taken us on such a crazy wild and emotional journey over the course of the past 6 books and finally, we have the concluding book which needs to wrap up so many character arcs and delivery a fitting conclusion to Aelin's story.
Throne of Glass has been a series that seems to be falling out of favour a little, I've come across a few people who over the past 2 or 3 books have given up on the series feeling that it has failed to deliver. I think if we as readers are all honest there has been at least one point over the past 6 books where we've questioned if we were ever going to stop having new characters introduced and how on earth all the threads of this world were going to become interlinked. There have been some lows along the way but for me the gripping emotional highs of Sarah J. Maas' writing have always kept me invested in her characters enough that I had to keep going.
Kingdom of Ash is not a book for the faint-hearted, at nearly 1000 pages it is hefty and you have to really invest yourself in this for the long haul. It took me around a week to get through it as you can't rush through, there is so much going on and so many different perspectives to follow that you want to savour them all. Also, because we know as the book progresses that all the threads of the story will come together in what we hope is an epic ending we want to make sure we don't miss any important clues along the way. So it's not a quick read but we get lots of time with all of the characters Maas has built over the series and who her readers have invested their heart and souls into, Manon, Dorian, Elide, Lorcan, Gavriel, Aeidon, Lysandra, Abraxos, Chaol, Yrene, Rowan and of course the magnificent Aelin.
This book is not just an intricate journey it's a highly emotional one too. Being the concluding book in the series and with a huge epic battle on the horizon, we know that not all of our characters are going to be left standing on the final pages. We are sure to lose people along the way as our group battle to save Terrasen from Erawan and Maeve. With this in mind, Maas builds the tension admirably again and again throughout the book. We think everyone is safe, we have a high and a step forward only to have our hopes crushed and danger to glimmer on the horizon. It's a brutal book, there's chapter after chapter of battles against Erawan's dark forces and it's bloody and dark and leaves you with your hopes dashed and praying for miracles.
When the moments come when we say goodbye to characters we've fallen in love with it hits so hard. I don't cry often reading books but Kingdom of Ash had me sobbing, like proper ugly crying. I was heartbroken. It crept up on me not because of the deaths themselves but because of the beautiful way Maas handles the reactions of the remaining characters to their loss. It was beautiful. Emotionally this book left me drained emotionally and yet highly fulfilled.
When I started the book I thought there was no way Maas could possibly bring all of the stories to their conclusion and yet Kingdom of Ash is a triumph, it is everything I wanted from the final book. It has some really touching moments that take us all the way back to book 1 and remind us as readers of the journey some of these characters have been on together, journeys that perhaps over the past few books have diverged from each other but Maas takes time to pull it back to the very beginning and gives lovely nods to the origins of the story. It leaves you feeling that the path we've all trod together through the seven Throne of Glass books was one that will stay with you, that has been something very special and has left these characters imprinted on our hearts.
I am going to miss so many characters from this series. I want to know more, I want to know what all their future stories look like and yet, on the other hand, I don't, sometimes it's nice to have that internal picture as a reader of what you see them doing beyond the close of this book. All I know is that I can see me thinking of the often and fondly and with great love. A joy.