My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m not a big fan of this book cover because I’m an artist myself and there are so many things wrong with this terrible piece of work. First, the body proportions are wrong and it just pisses me off looking at this because there is no way Celaena is seven feet tall. Her legs are ridiculously long and despite how much she ran everyday with Chaol, she has no muscular calves to speak of. Her waist is too long unless the artist is trying to tell the reader that her hips are the same width as her waist. Bloomsbury, if you’re going to hire an artist, at least hire a good one who has done proper book research and figure drawing lessons. Second, that archery stance is wrong because if anyone placed their feet the way she did, they’d stumble and miss aim. I’m a terrible shot and I’ve only done amateurish archery at summer camp but that’s enough to tell me that your feet should never be parallel to each other. You need to adopt a wide stance and make sure your feet are angled apart. Third, the green background is the worst color especially since it does not correlate with the title “Heir of Fire”. The only hint of fire I see is yellow splotches near the bow which hardly counts because fire is typically ranges from blue, red, and orange.
I may have gotten carried away with some of the technicalities but the final verdict is, this cover sucks.
Thankfully, the writing redeems the disaster of the front because DANG, the author sure knows what she’s doing there! There’s a lot of follow-up decisions which lead to the major change where Celaena is shipped far off to a different kingdom. So, how does Chaol and Dorian deal in terms of maturation and interest when the party animal is gone? Not that well, it seems. Chaol becomes sort of bland because let’s be honest, he wasn’t really a fun character to start out with in the first place. However, time away from Celaena allows him to think on his issues and sort out whatever mess of a life he has.
Since he’s not entertaining enough to grasp the readers’ attention, the author introduces a new character and another new setting through the eyes of (Surprise surprise) an Ironteeth witch named Manon Blackbeak. She is by no means a good witch and in fact, she’s the heir to Blackbeak Clan which has allied itself with the King of Adarlan. There’s a war brewing and the witches are leading it; the king has more than just Wyrdmark magic manipulation, and in fact has created wyverns as weapons to use in his arsenal. Multiple witch clans have gathered to learn to ride these wyverns to prepare for the war on the horizon. I felt dread but anticipation reading about Manon’s stay in the mountains because I knew she was essentially going against Celaena’s cause but I can’t help but root for her too. Because as I read on, Manon is not a bad person; her grandmother raised her up to become ruthless and do whatever it takes to deserve the title of heiress of the powerful, evil Blackbeak clan.
Celaena also comes to terms with her past history. I’m so glad this struggle is resolved because if it was stretched out any longer, readers would get bored. The majority of the book has sacrificed action for character development. That’s not to say that the attention has completely shifted because there is always action to be found right when readers are about to hit a dry patch in the readings. The author maintains a precarious balance between the character point of views which works very well because I’m curious about what all the characters are up to. Celaena is still on Dorian and Chaol’s minds but they have their own work cut out for them at the Glass Castle. Celaena thinks of the duo occasionally but she is set on a different path which occupies most of her time. That path is magic; yes, magic finally appears and in case you haven’t read Crown of Midnight, DO NOT READ ON.
Celaena seems to rehash the same hardships in assassin training as she does now with magic training. Although she has a powerful skill, she has no control to speak of and ability to even wield it. Her skill is dangerous and she has been taught as a child to suppress it. (Elsa from Frozen, anyone?) Thankfully, she finally comes to her right mind unlike Elsa who just ran away from her problems immediately. Celaena deserves a round of applause because her Fae trainer Rowan is intimidating to work with. He’s very cold and tough on her which is reasonable since he didn’t now how much she lost and that she survived 6 months in the prison mines. Their interactions are nerve-wracking because they are both stubborn and abrasive. Rowan Whitethorn is one of the better developed characters in this book which I really warmed up to when he started to care and act as a true protector for Celaena. Their friendship feels very genuine and natural after their initial hostility when Celaena musters up courage to face her fears about magic. Because of the fact that Rowan is a Fae prince warrior, he has suffered through several wars, participated in some heavy-duty warfare, and gained plenty of experiences to render Celaena’s insignificant. He really helped put her into perspective because she moped so much; in turn, she gained more skills, healing, and also the perfect friendship. Rowan is a good friend and an even better magic trainer. Yay for friendship!!
Sorscha, on the other hand, is one of the half-baked underdeveloped characters. She is the healer who helped bandage the trio’s battle wounds at the glass castle. Despite her convenience in addressing the wounds of the three, she had zero presence in the previous book. Which is why the introduction and pasting of a personality and backstory to her feels like a last-second thought. It’s poorly done and she does not have enough screentime to merit any of the reader’s feelings toward her. Which is why it’s an annoyance when she becomes the love interest of Dorian, a long-established prince. Sorry if I spoiled that but if you start reading, it’s pretty obvious from the start that they’re going to get together. I saw her more as a plot device to help Dorian mature, cement the idea that Dorian is only a friend to Celaena, and get him to develop his magic. Dorian no longer fits the mold of a carefree playboy but neither does he lose that mischievousness which attracted Celaena upon first sight. Therefore, as the other characters changed, so did he. All I can say is, he becomes more kingly as the book wore on.
Oh shoot, I almost forgot to mention Aedion Ashryver! He’s fierce, he’s got some undying loyalty, and he’s actually emotional devastated about what happened 10 years ago. Oh, by the way, he’s the cousin of princess Aelin. I really want to know more about him because he has so much potential but alas, he’s barely developed. I expect to know a lot more about him in Queen of Shadows.
So this book had a lot of substance and major crazy shit went down. And also hit the fan. I’m anxiously anticipating Queen of Shadows and of course, I’m liking the book cover of that one way better than this one. Until then.