Since I haven’t posted anything in a while, I’ll be doing a double review. On Queen of Shadows (Sarah J Maas) and Cinder (Marissa Meyer). Both in my favourite category and genre. One is the latest entry in the popular Throne of Glass series (which I’ve come to love recently) and the other is an interesting retelling of Cinderella and I heard that its sequels are retellings of other fairytales mixed with each other.
First off: Queen of Shadows focuses on Celaena Sardothien returning to Rifthold to set things right and finally kill the tyrannical King of Adarlan and free her friend Dorian, the Crown Prince, from demon possession. She also assumes her true identity as Aelin, the long-lost Queen of Terrasen (trust me, the trope in this series isn’t cheesy or cliche).
The language is beautiful and sweeps you off your feet. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger that produces palpitations – I didn’t see the climax coming. I love the character development of Celaena/Aelin, so different from the previous three but you still recognise her at the same time.
There were moments where I hated her for being selfish and her bond with Rowan, the Fae warrior, got on my nerves because she gets distracted (up to a certain point, thank god) and I felt the relationship was rushed – and also I ship her with Chaol and Dorian (the other two main characters since the first book). But I warmed up to that Fae warrior bastard a little in the end and I still appreciated that Celaena, Chaol and Dorian had/have relationships with other people and are okay about it – still manage to be friends.
Looking forward to what happens to Adarlan and Terrasen, the witches and of course the remaining villains (boooo). Hurry up, September!
Now to Cinder. It focuses on Cinder who’s a cyborg mechanic and lives under her cruel stepmother’s roof. She crosses paths with Prince Kai and soon develops feelings for him (she’s still human after all). But soon tragedy strikes with her stepsister Peony and Kai’s father, the Emperor, dying from a plague and the arrival of Queen Levana who is considered to be an enemy to everyone, even her own people. Cinder is tangled up in the growing conflict between the queen and Kai. And she discovers something about her origins…
I love this refreshing retelling of Cinderella. Cinderella as a cyborg and living in the future, a near dystopia? Amazing. Another thing I loved is the diversity. The main characters are Chinese, and the setting New Beijing is quite diverse.
The evil queen, I assume from Snow White, comes out as more sinister than her previous versions. There are moments where I found her detached, two-dimensional, and at other times, quite human and over-the-top vain.
I found it hard to like her and on the downside, I didn’t feel sympathetic towards Cinder’s stepmother and stepsister. It’s almost like the story is telling me to hate all women except Cinder and Peony. I hope the sequels have female friendships because I love the story.