Okay so this review literally took me two days to write. I had so much to say and wanted to make sure I said it all just right, so here we go.
Heir of Fire took the Throne of Glass series to a new level to me. It transformed the series from a fun fantasy story with some great characters into a proper epic fantasy that began to have the scope that the world tried and failed to imply from the beginning. When looking back at Throne of Glass to what we got in Heir of Fire, if the characters had different names I would not have recognized these as being part of the same series.
The series continues with what they started in the earlier novels with multiple POVs. However for the first time the characters are separated and you get different places in the world. Briefly the three plot lines we follow are: Manon and the witches with the wyverns, Celeana and Rowan in Wendlyn with the demi-fae, and everything taking place in Rifthold involving Dorian, Chaol, and Aedion.
Manon and the witches was a plot line I didn’t expect to receive. However, I was instantly captivated by Manon and the ruthless nature of the cutthroat society that the witches live in. Very briefly in the last novel we met one of the Yellowlegs witches and learned they are rather formidable, but it was mostly a small portion of the novel. In this plot line we got to learn quite a bit more about the witches through the Blackbeak heir, Manon. She is fierce and strong and pretty much a more heartless version of Celeana. The thing is as the witches get their wyverns and go through training leading up to the games in which a wing leader would be chosen for all of the witches it becomes clear that Manon does have a heart, much thanks to her wyvern Abraxos. It was amazing how fleshed out Abraxos was. I got a better sense of his character than I do for some main characters in some novels. In general, the witch story line had strong ties to the series plot as a whole, but it ultimately felt entirely separate. As such it felt like this disconnected appendage that could have been a solid novel on it’s own. That said, I really enjoyed this entire section of the story.
Next, I’ll move on to Celaena and Rowan. We were barely pages in when we were introduced to the abrasive, rather rude Rowan. As you might tell from the tone, I had some problems with Roawn. For much of the novel I simply didn’t like him. This was largely because he was written as rather standoffish and since it was mainly in Celeana’s POV. Once we finally got some sections in his POV and Celeana recognized he was truly trying to help her he started to evolve as a character. The plot focused on Celeana and her training to better access the abilities that come along with being fae. While this was important in her own self-acceptance and her role in the world, I just felt a bit underwhelmed. This plot felt particularly slow as it dragged along. Slowly we learned more and more, but there was never any sense of urgency until the end. I have to note that I found Celeana much less annoying in this book, though she did at times grate on my nerves. There’s just something about her that doesn’t click. I think it’s largely because she feels like two very different people crammed into one body and I don’t mean that in terms of the literal aspect that comes along. Her violent side just doesn’t reconcile well. I never get a sense that they are the same person at all.
Finally, there was the storyline in Rifthold. While the storylines did come together, they were also a bit separated. We’ll start with Chaol. After managing to find a way to get Celeana out of Rifthold, Chaol was left having to make arrangements to take his place in Anielle with his father. It was a difficult decision, but he felt it was the right one and after everything we saw, it definitely was the one that kept Celeana the safest. However, this book forced Chaol to make a decision between the people he cares about and his country. The struggle was interesting to watch, but I don’t feel it entirely worked. Chaol from the beginning was portrayed as fiercely loyal to those he cares about. The country was not one of them. Although I could easily understand the struggle because he doesn’t like outside parties hurting the innocent and turning his back on his country would no doubt result in that. Either way, Chaol’s decision didn’t seem like much of one but his internal struggle worked especially as he back to work more closely with Aedion. And watching the progression of Chaol and Dorian’s friendship is heartbreaking. On the other hand Dorian’s story was meh. As the books go on, I like Dorian less and less. He has a strong sense of morals and what is right, but he is a complete diva. Rather than deal with problems he retreats. He complains and moans. Thankfully, there was less this book as he became infatuated with Sorscha, but it still was frustrating.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the ending of the Rifthold plot line which kind of blew things out of the water. I won’t say anything because spoilers, but that was an extremely tense scene. The end result of it also leaves me greatly worrying and wondering how things will go for a number of these characters.
Overall, the plot didn’t really move the story forward much. Really we only took one major step forward in all fronts. THings have changed and perspectives have changed. There was a lot of character growth and exploration. However, it just lacked when it comes to moving the whole series forward. As such, it felt like it lack a lot of punch. I did greatly enjoy what I was given, but It’s hard to ignore the fact that the plot for this particular novel felt lacking particularly in the Rifthold story. Celeana’s goal was to get strong enough to speak to Maeve. Manon’s goal was to win the games that would name her wing leader. Chaol’s main goal was to kinda get ready for Anielle, while Dorian just wanted to hide his gift.