Hey, you’re right. I’m never going to stop writing about Massiverse.
If you are here, you already have accepted your fate to pick up the last book of the Throne of Glass series. And here is your last resort – Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas.
If you are new here, I have written many other articles reviewing Sarah J Maas books in order. You can always check those out.
Back to the Kingdom of Ash is the last book of the Throne of Glass series. I should have dived in with zero expectations for someone who is a retired driver of fantasy fiction.
But as a consistent reader of the series of books by Sarah J. Maas, I had mid to high expectations. I expected at least one heartbreak.
I got more than one – I’m not revealing if that was the ‘oh, the character was so well-written, I’m so sad now that it’s over’ or ‘oh, I expected so much more.’ You must go through the traces of emotions – this piece of writing – to find that out.
I have to say I’ve stopped reading fantasy fiction because of my taste change. I’m more inclined towards books I can relate to at the current stage of my life, and a hot half-human is the last thing on my mind. Second last, perhaps.
Hence, this one is just a raw thing and a mind map of what was going through my head when I was introduced to the characters and the plots, and a clear opinion of what I think of it. Everyone’s likings and tastes are not the same, so proceed at your own risk.
Kingdom of Ash Series Plot (Spoilers Included)
Get over it, but I really enjoyed the whole series and expected much from this book. For someone who is not into fantasy fiction these days, these books kept me occupied for a good number of weeks and made it even better.
It almost feels like a basic human right to deserve a good ending.
I enjoyed the starter book and how it carried the story of a deadly assassin wanting to understand what’s going on in her world and navigating all her powers.
And that soon transformed into way too much spice about their personal lives and merging worlds with other series like ACOTAR and The Crescent City. Yes, I would love to read a crossover, but not at the cost of losing the original.
I meant that the last books seemed way too similar to ACOTAR, both in the case of plots and writing style. Something about it does not sit right with me.
The story picked me where the Empire of Storms ended, Aelin being trapped in an iron box and tortured ruthlessly daily. She is desperately trying to make a comeback with little to no result.
Unfortunately, all her friends are scattered worldwide, busy rescuing or completing their quests – which is reasonable. I got to read a lot of trial and error of Aelin trying to save herself and escape from that hellhole, which she finally did – after 300 pages.
And I have to say, this part seems a bit exaggerated. So, the answer to the universal question ‘What chapter is Aelin rescued?’ – is around Chapter 28.
Okay, let me pause all of this for the sake of plot development, but did any of you notice how awfully similar it was to The Lord of the Rings?
The first few books of this series felt like a new genre. This new writing style is different from ACOTAR and The Crescent City. Still, soon, it conveyed the same dark and heavy lore – probably for a better, more convincing crossover between ACOTAR and Throne of Roses.
I know many of you liked the transition, but I was hooked up with the kind of delivery in the previous books. This change was not for
This is good news for people looking for spice in the series. The Kingdom of Ash, The Empire of Storms and Crown of Midnight are three of the most exciting books in this genre.
Everyone and everything suddenly becomes all about physical appearance and the consequences indirectly attached to it.
It seemed like Sarah J. Maas knew exactly what her audience wanted and gave them the tiniest details of their spice lives at any given moment – it didn’t even matter if it was necessary then. I found that quite overwhelming in some scenes. For example, I don’t want to know what’s going on in someone’s room right now. Please let me see if Chaol is still alive.
And that reminds me to talk about the favorite girl of the town, Aelin. To be blatantly honest, I loved the character Celaena … but with this new character of hers, Aelin, I’m not quite digging it.
She was this deadly assassin, a ruthless one that could take down anyone anytime, trying to get her life together to sacrifice herself for a stupid reason and even failed in that one …this character is not it.
On the bright side, in my previous reviews, I did write that Celaena had this ‘I’m not like other girls’ attitude in her, as if you cannot be a girl and strong at all – which is a very wrong concept even promoted in a teen fantasy.
I’m glad she grew up past that phase and is now embracing her more human and emotional side. She’s different now, but that doesn’t always mean a bad thing.
If you are reading this far, you can already guess that I wasn’t a big fan of Aelin in this one. You’re right; she didn’t impress me; she got on my last nerve in some scenes.
But you know who stole the show and the readers’ hearts? Yrene. She was amazingly well-written and had the best scenes of all time in the Throne of Roses Maasiverse. I’m surprised that she isn’t on the cover page yet. But the girl’s got the X factor in her.
I wanted to give you guys a detailed opinion of every plot and writing here, but this book is about a thousand pages long, and it doesn’t need to be that stretchy. This novel has almost fourteen points of view, which might be a little confusing and too much for general readers.
I think there’s a valid reason behind this exaggeration because so many of the scenes were repetitive, only to include everyone’s point of view — which wasn’t really necessary.
I mean, why would I want to know at least 5 different POVs on the same lore that happened 5 minutes ago? I wanted to know what happened after, not the discussion of the same topics over 14 times.
If you have read my reviews of Sarah J. Maas’s books, you’ll know how impressed I am by Manon. I have loved her since she was introduced in The Heir of Fire. She was strong and the epitome of badass and had a grand ending potential.
I don’t think she was being a good queen in this one. She needed to inspire her subject, her sisters, through generosity, but she didn’t do that – which was disappointing.
It feels bad to talk trash about your once favorite character, so just for the sake of it, I’m glad we could see so many sides of Manon and her raging personality.
Okay, enough ranting; now I’m gonna talk about the best part (maybe not so best because someone died), which is the alleged death of Lorcan. Like, come on, who dies in the Kingdom of Ash book? Killing one of your main characters?
That’s a guaranteed ballsy move. With all those happening inside the story, I think this tragedy was much needed in the plot. The character was bland, to be honest. He is the last person I was shipping with someone, but now that he is allegedly dead, that’s not possible.
Some of the actions were too cool to be true. I mean, it’s a thousand-page book, and almost most of the time, you will see someone fighting and dying on the field.
Dying doesn’t necessarily always happen, but I wish it did because what irked me throughout the whole series is the importance of romance above all.
Whereas the previous books had romance as an essential element, the latter books felt like romance books with fantasy as a critical element.
Sarah J. Maas would almost take the role of Colleen Hoover if she knew how to write good fantasy fiction. The saddest part is – that all the couples have the same trajectory and story-building, with enemies to lovers or lovers to enemies to lovers, with no exception whatsoever.
That is why I kept switching from Dorion to other potential mates from shipping with Aelin. This creates an imbalance for people following the series for its impeccable fantasy writing skills.
Okay, all of these aside, ending every chapter on a cliffhanger definitely pushes you to read further and feeds your curiosity. Even though the whole book seemed off-balanced, some scenes, like Aelin fleeing Maeve’s clutch and Manon’s actions, were worth some of the pages.
And that reminds me, the battle scenes were too detailed and graphic; you would like it if you were specifically there for the fight scenes. Sarah J. Maas did not disappoint in this one. This should not fail you if you are looking for drama and fight scenes.
Let’s Do Kingdom of Ash Character Analysis Here!
There is so much to talk about Aelin in this one. I know she’s the main protagonist and should be written appealingly. But I have always told the unnecessary drama that SJM had to insert, which directly or indirectly affected the character big time.
I have been reading about Aelin since day one when she was Celaena. Her character was depicted with so many layers that it was impossible to unravel all those in one go. But this is Sarah J. Maas; she knew how to get back at everything.
Aelin is nothing like Celaena, which might seem sad initially, but soon you realize this is an upgrade. Watching Aelin go from a slave to an assassin who knows what she wants, from a pick-me from a responsible woman to a Queen, and discover her magical powers in the journey…
The whole storyline was such a humbling experience. This is not the same person who started the journey; she had the best character development. When I thought I would never see her emotional side, she proved me wrong.
She was the most discussed for actions and romance, which I thought was a bit too much for her character. But still, there was nothing in the book about her that screamed too much or was too unbelievable for her to do.
I wanted to hate this new character development. Still, all the original storylines depicted the exact reasons why she acted the way she did. She can be annoying at times, but I’m already attached to her now. I cannot really go back now.
Off to the best love interest – Rowan – the love of Aelin’s life. Okay, I was sick of seeing Sarah J. Maas prioritizing romance over everything, but here’s the question – was the romance even good? I only have a question: Can Sarah J. Maas even know what a healthy relationship looks like? I highly doubt that at this point.
Rowan was a potential love interest, but I didn’t want them to be together if it didn’t last like the other two in the previous book. Aelin is an assassin who was supposed to do physical assassination only, not break boys’ hearts here and there. Rowan was a good guy with his own quest. I didn’t want Aelin to ruin that for him.
Rowan was the character that almost looked like a side due to the lack of challenges he had to face in this book. He proved me wrong.
He was protagonist-worthy. The Aelin I knew was full of herself without any emotional side to her, which completely changed when she was with him. He taught her patience, good manners, and ways to keep the situation under control without hurting anyone’s feelings.
He was at home when she was in the storm. I mean, he knew his ways with her.
And that’s why I bawled my eyes out when they got separated. SJM did the guy dirty, making her leave him like that. I will never forgive her for this plot, even if it was for a short period.
There was no other couple that changed each other positively as they did. They were meant to be together. Come on!
Chaol is an interesting one – now that’s a surprise because everyone hated him. They have their reasons, obviously. I admit he was too stubborn and was always on a mission to prove that Aelin was not worthy of all those rights and powers…
What if I told you I partially agree with him? Aelin is not my favorite character, not because she had an attitude problem but because whatever she did was always deemed correct, which was SO unrelatable.
Heroes can make mistakes, and that’s okay – which is something Aelin would never admit. Even though Chaol was stubborn and never wanted to change for good, I kind of sympathize with knowing about his past, and I’m glad he’s getting better now.
Manon – my personal favorite. I never thought her emotional side would ever be introduced, but here we are. I love how the writer didn’t change her character but only unraveled different layers of it. She was still the Manon we know, just the better version.
Love how she fought with bravery and proved her loyalty when she was being questioned for it a hundred times. I hope we see more of Dorian and her if there is a sequel.
Dorian was someone I still don’t pay that much attention to. He started as a side character but became so powerful at the end that we can only remember heroic stuff about him. But I still don’t sweat about him; I mean, there are literally tons of other characters to know about. He seemed ordinary at this point.
The rest of the characters, like Maeve and Elide, also had their fair share of emotional moments, and all of them combined got me emotional. This might be the last time I see them all together.
It was a good journey while it lasted.
Was Kingdom of Ash Book Worth My Time?
When you have already invested your time in the previous books, this one is a courtesy to read and bid goodbye to your once-favorite Kingdom of Ash series of all time.
I already explained my whole emotional rollercoaster while I was going through it. You either hate it or love Aelin. This one is undoubtedly going to make you feel a lot of things.
I would say if you were romance-thirsty, this one will not disappoint, except for the lack of trajectory in every relationship. But I think we can balance it out with the spice that comes with it – that is something you should look forward to.
This book will have meaningless fights, but all of them will be detailed enough to not make you feel bored. I enjoyed every character, but I wish there were fewer POVs so I wouldn’t have to remember who’s who and who’s going through what – it’s a lot for my goldfish memory.
Lastly, I expected it to be less mature and more like Harry Potter, something I would enjoy during my weekends – but it was anything but that. If you think you are mentally in a state to handle graphical write-ups, this one should be your first pick.
If you are already halfway through the Throne of Glass reading order, welcome to the club!