It’s been a little while since I have read the last Throne of Glass book so I had to get reacquainted with the story and characters while I was reading it. I was a little confused at first because it started out with Queen Elena Havilliard nee Galathynius and her husband Galan in a battle against Erawan, the evil dark lord from another realm, that they could not win. He was slaughtering them. I was confused because the title of the chapter was called “Nightfall” so I was not aware that this was actually the prologue until I realized this was a flashback from a long time ago. Elena has an idea to save her people but the prologue cuts off and Chapter One begins.
The series follows a young woman named Aelin Galathynius who started out in life as the heir to her kingdom, Terrasen. Unbeknownst to Aelin, there is a prophesy that says she will somehow save the world but before anyone can tell her this, her family was slaughtered by evil forces when she was just a girl and she barely got away by running and falling into a river. She was found by the King of the Assassin’s Guild, Arobyn Hamel, and trained as an assassin under an assumed identity. Apparently, in this world, assassins are acceptable.
When Terrasen fell, so did magic and all Fae and magic wielders were either hunted down and killed or they left the continent which was now being ruled by the King of Adarlan.
Somehow Aelin ends up being captured and sent to work in the Salt Mines of Endovier where most prisoners die within a few months. I can’t for the life of me remember how she ended up there. She gets a break when the King of Adarlan’s son, Dorian Havilliard, decides to choose her as his father’s champion in some sick competition similar to the gladiator games in Rome.
She ends up winning but learns of a sinister plot while she is there. I’m not going to go into details because that would take forever. I will just give a short recap. The King of Adarlan is controlled by demon from another realm named Erawan. The King of Adarlan was responsible for the loss of magic throughout the continent. He had erected three towers around the lands that controlled which Aelin eventually destroyed along with the King of Adarlan but Erawan had been busy in the last ten years by experimenting on people and animals, putting stones called Wyrdstones in them and creating monstrous creatures to fight against the Fae and anyone who might go against him. He also aligned himself with the three clans of Ironteeth Witches who ride on flying wyverns.
Aelin finds out that the only way to get rid of Erawan who there are three pieces of stone called Wyrdkeys that somehow can be used to open portals called Wyrdgates to banish Erawan where he can be killed. Aelin has now been traveling all over the country, trying to find these Wyrdkeys before Erawan can kill her.
In this book, she is traveling with the few people she can trust to Terrasen. She has her cousin, Aedion, who used to be the general of a large army called the Bane for the King of Adarlan. The Bane is still loyal to him although, so far in this book, I have yet to see the Bane anywhere near Aedion or Aelin. She also has Rowan traveling with her. Rowan is not quite her lover yet but is definitely the one she loves and may even be her mate being that she is half Fae and he is full Fae. Rowan is one of the most powerful Fae alive. He may even be the most powerful Fae alive. He can turn into a hawk whenever he chooses and he has his magical gift. Lysandra and Evangeline finish out the group. Lysandra is a shapeshifter who was used by Arobyn who made her be a prostitute to get information from people he did business with and from his enemies. Evangeline is a girl who Lysandra took under her wing.
Aedion, who had grown up in Terrasen, sets up a meeting between Aelin and one of the lords of Terrasen, Lord Darrow, to get a feel for how Aelin will be accepted back in her kingdom. It doesn’t go well, mostly because Darrow likes acting as an unnamed king in her absence, but he his excuse is that she is too young and has no allies. He suggests that she should get married to a king or nobleman from another territory to get allies. He tells her that until she comes up with allies or a large army behind her, she will not be welcomed in Terrasen so she sets off to find some allies.
Aelin has another enemy besides Erawan. The Queen of the Fae in another continent across the sea is no fan of Aelin. She met Queen Maeve when she went across the ocean on a mission. Maeve is a cruel queen who rules by intimidation. She has her own agenda and wants the Wyrdkeys too but not to banish Erawan but to wield them and use their dark power. A world ruled by Maeve would be just as bad as a world ruled by Erawan.
Aelin and her friends have learned that Maeve has now set sail towards Erilea, Aelin’s continent.
At one point in this book, I became a little frustrated. Aelin and her friends had been traveling from one place to another. You know how it goes. They go one place and face a threat just to discover they have to go to another place and face another threat. I was starting to think the whole book was just an action adventure with no point just to extend the series; what I like to call filler. But I was pleasantly surprised by the end results…maybe not pleasantly because some things weren’t so great but, at least,