Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Heir of Fire by Sarah J Mass

She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth...a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

The king's assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Timesbestselling Crown of Midnight.

Rating: 2/5 Stars

So, you guys remember when I said I would drink every time someone said how amazing Celaena was?...


Yeah… that didn’t work out as I hoped it would.

Although, when you think about it, a near alcoholic coma is totally worth it when it saves you from reading another passage of OCC madness and angst. Who says I lost?!

Alright just so we are clear, this review is going to be full of spoilers for all three books as well as some swearing… and not to mention it’ll be a ranting mess. Proceed at your own risk. I mean I’m not drunk, but who knows?

You idiotic fool, you should have learned by now:

In the last book, Crown of Midnight, the story ended with Celaena being shipped off to another country and away from the love triangle of hell that for some inexplicable reason, the author had decided it should be the main focus. I can’t understand that process of thinking like:

Voice 1: “I can see the story now, Epic fantasy, assassins, demons, fighting for survival in a brutal competition…”

Voice 2: “Nah, white girl, has magic!! is pretty!!, prince likes her for no reason!!! But… his best friend too????! And she’s an untrained selfish asshole, so baddassssss!!!!”

Voice 1:  *Punches Voice 2 in the face*

Whoever let Voice 2 get away with his was an asshole. Granted, the first two books had left a lot to be desired but I thought that once removed the triangle from the equation things would pick up.

I was wrong.

My God, Heir of Fire was so fricken boring! It was four-hundred pages of build up to a sort of meh finale that didn’t pay off in the slightest.
 Am I supposed to be exhilarated at the idea that Celaena has finally decided to put on her big-girl pants and stop dancing and flirting while people are being tortured, raped, enslaved and murdered? Am I supposed to worship the floor Aelin steps on because she finally decided she cares… kinda??!

Seriously, this series’ bar is really, really low.

The ecologic message, or how to read the same story three times and call it three different books:

If there is something that surprises me about this series is the lack of originality. Honestly, it’s been three books and the author keeps using the same repeated elements of her previous books (as well as those from different series). Take Rowan, for instance, I was really looking forward to meeting him because he seemed to be about everybody’s favorite character, and… I mean he wasn’t terrible per se, but he wasn’t great either. It was in fact Jaz who pointed out that Rowan was like Chaol but in fae version, like Chaol 2.0 (doesn’t have robot laser eyes, unfortunately). RowanxCelaena went pretty much through the same path that Chaolena (I’m not gonna write their long-ass names twice):
Someone royal asks to take her somewhere.
They travel through the woods.
Mentions of magical creatures lurking around.
Guy can’t stand Celaena.
They train together.
Start talking about their families and bond. Romance ensues.

Same happened with Sorscha, she was the Nehemia to Dorian’s Celaena… or whatever. Basically she was the super capable and promising POC girl who was killed to make the white people feel sad.

And then there is the monster. Why must there always be a mystery monster which’s true nature will be revealed at the very last second in a super anti-climatic way? To be fair, the demons were the most interest part of Celaena’s chapters… which goes on to show how fricken boring those chapters were.

How to open a Wyrdgate to our Universe and hire Annalise Keating:

Rowan, the semi-cousin whose blood relationship to Aelin will be forgotten for the sake of romance, was a bit of a disappointment as a character. I had read some mixed opinions on the guy, some loved him, others thought he was too mean. To be fair though, the guy was mean, but can you imagine being in his shoes?
Just put yourself in his place, you are a hundred years old warrior who has gone through some really shitty things. You lost the love of your life (only apparently in Fae form that’s like two soul-mates worth or whatever), you fought in thousands of wars, got yourself enslaved to a maniac, done horrible things to her because you have lost your free will, and suddenly she comes to you asking you to babysit your little cousin, an eighteen year old angsty teen with a sharp tongue and a coward’s heart, who instead of helping people, she lets them be killed and enslaved while she screams at you THIS IS NOT FAIR over and over again in a temper-tantrum.

Let’s be real, we could ended this plot (and Rowan’s misery) real quick if somebody had shown him HTGAWM. That way he can fake an “accident” and he can go back to Maeve all sad like “Sorry My Queen, Aelin tripped on my knife seventeen times” and sure, Maeve could force him to say the truth, but we all know the guy made her a favor.

I could really sympathize with Rowan, that was at least until he saw Celaena’s scars and began to fall for her. I just don’t get what Mass has with those scars down her back, surely her time as a slave didn’t teach Celaena anything, and Rowan himself says he seen far, far worse, but seeing those scars (who can btw be concealed by lace, just how deep are those things really? Because they seem to change sizes regarding the occasion.) make Rowan suddenly grow a conscience and he turns into this super possessive dude who makes her sleep in his bed and shit. If I was supposed to find it cute, I missed it.

A poorly written version of “Chronicle of an announced death” or why you don’t want to be a POC woman on this series.

Sorscha was a character we all felt for when she was first introduced in Heir of Fire, and that was because we all suspected, the second she and Dorian became a couple, that the poor girl was going to die. Add that to her being a POC and you knew for sure that girl was toast.

I’m serious, you DO NOT want to be a POC in this world, and especially a woman. I’m not even sure if we have met “significant” male POCs here? I’m guessing Mass doesn’t want to have Celaena or Manon date any POCs (because we all know that a character here does not exist without a romantic subplot, just look at Nehemia) and she’s not one to have more than ONE queer couple at once in her books, that… that would be too much “diversity”, so guys are off the table.

 I don’t know what it’s about this series and women, but Mass either kills them or make them be super evil and bitchy.

We can all agree that Nehemia dying was the stupidest move this series has made. Ok? Ok.

So, one of the things I was really looking forward to find out in this book was to know, exactly, why it was that Nehemia “had to die” in the last book. You want to know what I found?

“She thought that her death would spur me into action. She thought I could somehow do more than her- that she was worth more dead. And she lied- about everything. She lied to me because I was a coward, and I hate her for it. I hate her for leaving me.”

Apparently Nehemia had to die because Celaena was too afraid to become a Queen, so the logical step to make her embrace that responsibility was to have her friend brutally murdered…

Ok, now what the fuck?! How could this be the best idea a long-ass dead Queen/Fae came up with? It doesn’t even make any sense! For one, it’s not like everybody thinks the King killed Nehemia giving Celaena an extra reason to want to stand up against him, NO. Celaena knows full well that her friend got herself killed, and that even if she had stopped it that day, Nehemia would have gotten herself killed another time.

I don’t understand why Nehemia couldn’t just go to Celaena and say:

Nehemia: “Bitch, I know you’re Aelin, take your crown and fight the King!”
Celaena: “What? No, I’m scared!”
Nehemia: “Do it or I’ll brutally murder myself.”
Celaena: “Holy shit Nehemia what the fuck?!”

Why, if they were oh so close, couldn’t the two of them have just talked it out? And what’s worse, how in the world could Nehemia’s life mean less than Celaena? Why should I believe Aelin would do more than Nehemia who literally sacrificed her life for her people? And not just that, instead of feeling sorry because Nehemia thought her life was worth less than hers, all Celaena does is think of what a terrible inconvenience this is for HER, because Nehemia forces her to defend helpless people.

Really? Your best friend kills herself and all you can think about is about how much you hate her because she made you react? This could all be explained by saying “Oh, but she’s just heartbroken! She’s hurt!” And I would agree with that… had it not been that in Crown of Midnight the only regret she showed over her friend being dead was that Nehemia couldn’t help her anymore. Not that a wonderful person had died so young, and so horrible, not about Nehemia’s family, and not because Celaena would miss her. Nope, the only that matters when it comes to her best friend’s death is how terrible this is for HER.

Personally I don’t even believe that Celaena’s life was more valuable than Nehemia’s for a number of reasons, but one is the fact that her Kingdom has been destroyed. She doesn’t have a court or an army. Even if she wanted to take back her throne, she is only a small player and doesn’t have the impact Nehemia could have had. Celaena or Aelin, is only a name long forgotten, someone who everybody believes is dead and have moved on. Nehemia built a name for herself, she was a revolutionary, a symbol of hope built through hard work and sacrifice.

Celaena has done nothing besides hiding and has little to offer to the general plot. Isn’t that sad? She’s the main character and still can’t do anything to affect her own plot.

Nehemia was important, not just because she was the heir to a Kingdom or she had magic but because she made things happen. Nehemia cared, she fought to free not only her people but wanted to help everybody who was under the rule of the King of Adarlan.

Celaena was and still is someone too selfish to act and who blames everybody for her mistakes instead of trying to fix them.

Nothing like lesbian witches and flower-loving dragons:
Before I started the book, I had seen a few mixed comments on “the witches chapters” some people liked them, others thought they were boring an unnecessary. When I began reading and was introduced to Manon and the covens of witches… I was bored. Just as with Aedion, it felt like the witches just came out nowhere, it was clear Mass had only come up with them right then, because there had been barely an introduction to witches in the repvious books. Trying to understand all of their mythology in a few chapters made for a few info-dump heavy moments, and I was utterly confused and bored.

However, as soon as Abrasox got in the picture things began to get exciting. The author really hit the jackpot when she paired Manon and Abrasox, the previous bait and the soulless witch made a wonderful team, and I loved to see the two of them developing a bond and Manon realizing that things were wrong in her coven and the way Blackbeaks rule.

When her and Petrah began to talk I had my hopes up that they would become a couple and rule. It seemed so perfect!!!!!! Apparently, after her dragon’s death she’d never recover, but a girl can dream with her lesbian witches. I’ll accept nothing less.

To sum up, Heir of Fire was a boring and inconsequential book who does little to make the reader excited for the next book, except to determine the fate of a few secondary characters.

1 comment:

  1. Hats off to you for this review Mila! It popped up on my Goodreads feed and I just had to come and comment! I gave up on this series before I got far into book two for a lot of the reasons above. I really don't understand the hype. Every single element of books one and two (and three from the sounds of it) was a mess of cliches that had been done far, far better in any number of ya fantasy books without bringing anything new to it. I'm glad I didn't waste any more time on this series.