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Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas Book Review

Updated: Jan 24


Kingdom of Ash

by Sarah J. Maas

Published by Bloomsbury

Book 7 in the Throne of Glass series


Aelin Galathynius has vowed to save her people ― but at a tremendous cost.


Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. The knowledge that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, but her resolve is unraveling with each passing day…


With Aelin captured, friends and allies are scattered to different fates. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever. As destinies weave together at last, all must fight if Erilea is to have any hope of salvation.


Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an explosive conclusion as Aelin fights to save herself―and the promise of a better world.


RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:

Violent High-Fantasy Thrilling

Steamy New Adult Emotional

Romance

Kingdom of Ash is the seventh and final book of the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. It goes back and forth from several characters perspectives: Queen Aelin Whitethorn Galathynius of Terrasen, Aelin's mate and consort Prince Rowan Whitethorn Galathynius. Aelin's court members: Prince Aedion Ashryver, Aelin's cousin and leader of the Bane, Lady Lysandra, Lady of Caraverre, Aelin's best friend, shifter, and spoiler ahead --------->mate and future wife of Aedion<---------, Lady Elide Lochan, Lady of Perranth and -------->mate and future wife to Lorcan<---------. We also have Rowan's cadre ------->and Aelin's future court members<---------, Fenrys Moonbeam, and Lorcan Salvaterre, known as the most powerful demi-fae in existence, and former Commander of Maeve's cadre, -------->and future husband to Elide and Lord of Perranth<---------. We also get POV's from King Dorian Havilliard of Adarlan, powerful wielder of magic, Lord Chaol Westfall, former Captain of the Royal Guard, now Hand to King Dorian, and married to Yrenne Westfall, a powerful healer who is also a main protagonist. Manon Blackbeak, a half Crochan, half Ironteeth witch, and the last Crochan Queen. She is now allied with Aelin, and is King Dorian's lover. Nesryn Faliq, former Captain of the Guard for King Dorian, and now future Empress of the Southern Continent, and a few small POV's from Lady Evangeline, Lysandra's ward.


Whew. That's a lot of characters, and it's not even the tip of the iceberg. I'm not even bothering with a book description like I usually do. Let's just say, it picks up after the events of Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn, and it's time for the final battles of war, and everyone has a part to play.


Kingdom of Ash was an excellent finale to the series, that answered a lot of questions, and did a good job of not romanticizing war. It was brutal, often dark, and emotional. It's a big book, and I cried more than once throughout. Sarah Maas did a great job writing battle scenes, making them easy to picture. Despite there being so many main characters in play, all their stories flowed really well together, making up a book that I couldn't put down. This series as a whole really showcases Sarah Maas' growth as a writer, starting from the first book that wasn't my favorite, to the rest of the series, that only gets better and better. I still maintain that this book is New Adult, despite it being labeled as Young Adult. Whatever age this book/series is aimed for, the writing is wonderful, the story is imaginative (despite it feeling a bit Game of Thrones-ish at times ... but I think that's going to be the case for any fantasy that involves kingdoms and war), everything is well-thought out and consistent. I can tell and appreciate the amount of work and heart Sarah put into it.


The characters are great in this book. Sarah is great at writing deeply flawed characters that you can't help but root for. She humanizes her characters in that way. No one is perfect in this series, even our star character, Aelin. If anything, she might be the most flawed of them all. It makes the series a bit more interesting when you go back and forth between loving, and disagreeing with a character. Not to mention, this whole series doesn't hide from issues like depression and PTSD, and is a prevalent and consistent battle that many characters suffer through, which makes sense considering what is going on throughout the series. Best of all, by the end of the series, these characters are continually working on themselves, for the better.


Kingdom of Ash is a HUGE book, at almost 1000 pages, so I'm going to do my character evaluations differently than usual, especially considering HOW many characters there are. Below, the characters I feel like mentioning are below, with a short little blurb of what I liked about their arc throughout the series. Any spoilers, will be pointed out by the arrows, and you will need to highlight the text if you want to read them.


Aelin - went from an assassin hiding who she truly was, to a Queen worthy of the name. Strong in so many ways. She is one of the characters who suffers from depression, and considering everything she goes through and suffers, it makes complete sense. -------->After the events of Kingdom of Ash, she admits to herself that she will always have the stain of what Mauve did to her, and shows signs of PTSD, especially when it comes to being caged. The fact that she realizes this, but it doesn't ruin her happiness, shows a lot of growth, considering way back in Heir of Fire, the book starts out with her drunk on a rooftop, essentially giving up on her quest and life.) I also appreciate the fact that she ends of losing most of her magic. While certainly handy, she doesn't need it to rule.<----------.


Rowan - went from a depressed, angry warrior who was ordered to train an equally depressed, angry, and just as hard headed Aelin, to a male who has devoted his life to his mate, his wife, and his Queen, Aelin. Now that he learned the truth about Aelin being his mate in the last book, Rowan's character remains pretty consistent in this book. His arc throughout the series though is a great one, especially considering Aelin and him work together to heal from depression.


Aedion - went from the "whore of Adarlan" to --------->blood sworn to his cousin and queen, Aelin. Which was his dream.<-------. His perspective in Kingdom of Ash was brutal, but the ending was superb. Some of my favorite moments in this book, he was in them. ----------> And just like I suspected, he acknowledges that Lysandra is his mate, and their future marriage, on top of him finally being blood-sworn to Aelin, is awesome. His father's death, right after he decided he wanted to get to know him though ... ugh ... brutal. Fucking brutal.<-------.


Lysandra - her character has been pretty consistent since Queen of Shadows, since Aelin and her decided to become friends, and Aelin made her a Lady of her Court. Loyal to a fault, and brutally so. -------> I love that she is getting her happy ending with Aedion. <----------


Lady Elide - Elide, despite her injury, is a fighter, and incredibly intelligent woman. She doesn't let people walk all over her. A great example of a female character that doesn't need magic to be a loyal and strong person. -------->Lorcan and Elide's relationship was my favorite of the book. She brings out a whole new side to Lorcan and I am all for it.<----------.


Lorcan - I make no secret of loving cranky, angry characters, so I have a soft spot for Lorcan. He remains himself, but -------> his love for Elide gives his character more depth. I suspected they were mates, and I suspected he would give up his immortality to tie his life with her's, and I was right. And I. Love. It. <---------


Fenrys - Kingdom of Ash really fleshed out his character to whole new levels. ------> The bond him and Aelin build while they are both Mauve's prisoners is amazing, and heartbreaking. His sacrifice to save Aelin, and her gift to him to save his life, is one of my favorite moments in the book. The fact that they have one another to lean on when healing is perfect. And the fact that Aelin lets him get his shot at vengeance ... awesome. I suspect much like Aelin though, he will always suffer from some level of PTSD<-------- .


Dorian - Dorian is one of those characters who has shown a lot of growth throughout the series. He goes from a playboy prince, who is scared to stand up to his father, to a King who is willing to sacrifice anything for those he loves, and his Kingdom. He is another character who has suffers from depression, and he really ------->only begins to see life worth living by the end of Kingdom of Ash, when Manon hints that she is willing to one day marry Dorian. Which in my opinion, is amazing, because Manon seems like his perfect equal. <--------.


Chaol & Yrene - I loved his arc this series too, but I feel like Tower of Dawn really finished off his characters growth. In Kingdom of Ash, he really maintains that growth, and -------> his dreams really came true. He has the perfect wife for him, and he is going to be a father. Amazing.<-------.


Nesriq - Just like Chaol, her character's arc really finished up in Tower of Dawn. The small bits we get of her in Kingdom of Ash is really to just confirm what we have learned of her character in the last book, and to see how the ruksin fare in the war.


Manon - Manon's character, I feel like, had the most growth in the book. She embraces her heritage in Kingdom of Ash, and -------> her actions prove her intentions to the Crochans, who end up being vital in the war. <--------. By the end of the book, Manon is a changed woman in more ways than one. Whereas Dorian has begun his journey of healing, Manon is only really beginning hers, --------> Now that she is without her Thirteen after that brutal sacrifice <--------.


Kingdom of Ash, despite being almost 1000 pages, didn't FEEL as long as it was. Every page is worthy of the time put in to read it. Nothing is filler. It's brutal, and raw, and by the end of the book, everything good that happens still feels bittersweet, considering the war and how many good people died. The series of the whole is a wonderful read, and Sarah J Maas has made me a lifelong fan.


That being said, I'm ending this review with something I haven't done before. Questions I am left with. I know this is really left to readers imaginations and hopes, but I am curious, what do you think happens afterward? Let me know in the comments!


Questions I am left with after the series ended: (spoilers below, be careful!)

  • Do Aelin and Rowan eventually have children? I assume that the dream they both had of them with 4 children, about to be 5, is a real look into the future.

  • Is Aedion immortal? If he is, will he tie his life to Lyssandra's? I assume shifters are not immortal, due to Her uncle's aging after his bargain with the spider.

  • Does Elide choose to go through the painful ordeal of having her foot healed? Do her and Lorcan ever have children?

  • Does Fenrys ever find his mate? He has a rough time in this series, and I want happy things for him.

  • Do Dorian and Manon marry? It's hinted that they both want to be with the other long-term, despite Dorian worried about Manon feeling caged. They seem to be really well-suited for each other. I think the only issue would be in terms of heirs, since witches have a low pregnancy survival rate.

  • Does Aelin manage to introduce democracy to her Kingdom?


Favorite Moments

  1. Yrene's pregnant!!!!

  2. NOX!

  3. Yrene standing up to Chaol's father

  4. Manon finding out Abraxos and Narene (Asterin's wyvern) are mated. Just freaking adorable

  5. Aelin's escape/rescue, and her saving Fenrys

  6. Aelin finding wedding rings for her and Rowan

  7. Aelin and Rowan claiming one another as mates

  8. Everyone trying to eat the horrible porridge so the innkeeper didn't feel bad

  9. Aelin and Fenrys continuing their secret blink system to tell each other they aren't alright

  10. Chaol and Aelin reuniting

  11. Chaol telling Yrene he knows about the pregnancy, and how happy he is about it

  12. Aelin and Chaol's father meeting

  13. Manon fighting her grandmother, and afterward, being declared Queen of Witches

  14. Elide saving Lorcan

  15. Aelin saving the army by released the magic she had been saving to face Maeve

  16. Manon asking Dorian to stay

  17. Dorian betraying Maeve

  18. Elide getting the last word with her uncle

  19. Aedion comforting Evangeline

  20. Darrow giving Evangeline a job to distract her from the battle

  21. Manon, the Thirteen, and the Crochan coming to battle

  22. LORCAN AND ELIDE!

  23. Asterin being the one who kills Manon's grandmother

  24. Everyone coming to honor the Thirteen's sacrifice.

  25. Chaol and Dorian's reunion

  26. Aelin saving Dorian, and trying to save Elena

  27. Murtaugh's sacrifice

  28. Darrow making Evangeline his heir

  29. Aelin leading the army on the Lord of the North

  30. Aedion and his father. "Together."

  31. We finally learn the kings name

  32. Aelin giving Fenrys the blow to Maeve that keeps her down while Aelin kills her

  33. The end of Maeve and Erawan

  34. Aelin giving the blood oath to Gavriel in death

  35. Elide and Lorcan's engagement <3

  36. The witch's curse breaking

  37. Aelin's coronation

  38. Aelin offering Aedion the blood oath at her coronation, like he once wished

  39. Manon and Dorian's reuniting, and the unspoken promise between them

Where to Buy

Kindle

Paperback (Amazon Canada)

Hardcover (Amazon Canada)

Paperback (Chapters/Indigo)

Hardcover (Chapters/Indigo)

Throne of Glass Box Set (Chapters/Indigo)

Kobo

Google Play Books


Favorite Quotes


Lysandra: "It was real, Aedion. All of it. I don't care if you believe me or not. But it was real for me."


Crochan: "And who, exactly, are you?"

Dorian gave the witch one of those charming smiles and sketched a bow

Dorian: "Dorian Havilliard, at your service."

Crochan: "The king."

Dorian winked

Dorian: "That I am, too."


Manon: "You killed the spider."

Dorian: "She was a threat."

Manon: "She could have killed you."

He gave her a half smile

Dorian: "No, she couldn't have."


Manon: "I'm tired of talking."

Good. So was he.

Dorian: "Is there something you'd rather do instead, witchling?"

Her only answer was the slide over him, strands of her hair falling around them in a curtain.

Manon: "I said I don't want to talk."

She lowered her mouth to his neck. Dragged her teeth over it, right through that white line where the collar had been.

Dorian groaned softly, and shifted his hips, grinding himself into her. Her breath became jagged in answer, and he ran a hand down her side.

Dorian: "Shut me up, then."


Chaol: "Yrene is the finest healer of her generation. Her worth is greater than any crown."

Yrene: "You don't need to bother proving my value to him. I know precisely how talented I am. I don't require his blessing."


He had killed his way across the world; he had gone to war and back more times than he cared to remember. And despite it all, despite the rage and despair and ice he'd wrapped around his heart, he'd still found Aelin. Every horizon he's gazed toward, unable and unwilling to rest during those centuries, every mountain and ocean he'd seen and wondered what lay beyond ... It had been her. It had been Aelin, the silent call of the mating bond driving him, even when he could not feel it.

They'd walked this dark path together back to the light. He would not let the road end here.


Vesta: "You could be sparring with Lin right now."

Dorian: "I just watched Lin nearly knock Imogen's teeth down her throat. Forgive me if I'm in no mood to get into the ring with her."

Vesta arched an auburn brow

Vesta: "No male swaggering from you, then."

Dorian: "I like my teeth where they are."


Manon: "You are not a cold person."

He arched a brow

Dorian: "Is that your professional opinion?"

Manon studied him

Manon: "You can descend to those levels when you are angry, when your friends are threatened. But you are not cold, not at heart. I've seen men who are, and you are not."

Dorian: "Neither are you."

Manon: "I am one hundred seventeen year old. I have spent the majority of that time killing. Don't convince yourself that the events of the past few months have erased that."

Dorian: "Keep telling yourself that."


Dorian: "Is it so bad, to care?"

Manon: "I don't know how to."

Dorian: "You do care. You know it, too. It's what makes you so damn scared of all this."

Her golden eyes raged, but she said nothing.

Dorian: "Caring doesn't make you weak."

Manon: "Then why don't you heed your own advice?"

Dorian: "I care. I care about more than I should. I even care about you."


Aelin: "The guards talk when you're gone, you know. They forget I'm Fae, too. Can hear like you."

Cairn said nothing

Aelin: "At least they agree with me on one front. You're spineless. Have to tie up people to hurt them because it makes you feel like a male."

Aelin gave a pointed glance between his legs.

Aelin: "Inadequate in the ways that count."

A tremor went through him

Cairn: "Would you like me to show you how inadequate I am?"

Aelin huffed another laugh, haunty and cool, and gazed toward the ceiling, toward the lightening sky. The last she'd see, if she played this right.

Aelin: "Oh, I know there's not much worth seeing in that regard, Cairn. And you're not enough of a male to be able to use it without someone screaming, are you?"

At his silence, she smirked

Aelin: "I thought so. I dealt with plenty of your ilk at the Assassins' Guild. You're all the same."

A deep snarl

Aelin only chuckled and adjusted her body, as if getting comfortable.

Aelin: "Go ahead, Cairn. Do your worst."


Aelin: "I didn't break."

His heart cracked at the words.

Aelin: "I didn't tell them anything."

Rowan: "I knew you wouldn't."


Aelin: "You should have gone to Terrasen. It needs you."

Rowan: "I need you more."


Lorcan: "How much longer am I supposed to atone?"

Elide: "Are you growing bored with it?"