Overview (No Spoilers): It is hard to believe it has been almost three years ago since I first picked up Throne of Glass. I doubt I would have believed you if you’d told me after that first installment I would grow to be a huge fan of Maas and the series as a whole. Adding significantly to my appreciation for this literary world is how much the series grew from the initial one dimensional, predictable themes. Sure there were bumps along the way but Maas navigated the stormy waters to a delightfully detailed world spanning multiple cultures, continents, and magical species. There is always a heavy level of apprehension intermingled with the obvious excitement when picking up the last book in a series. The fear that the book will fail to live up to lofty expectations set in place by the preceding novels. The dread that the author will succumb to pressures of deadlines and fan impatience before fully flushing out the final concept, i.e., Divergent and Hunger Games, ultimately leaving a bitter aftertaste following the completion of the novel. That being said, I was hooked from beginning to end of this wild adventure. The span of emotions inspired as a result of reading Kingdom of Ash ranged from hopelessness, laughter, exasperation, joy, despair… I think you get the point. Ultimately I was left exhausted, bear in mind a good exhausted upon closing out this novel. Despite this series often skirting the YA/Adult barrier, especially with the later novels, the ending was resoundingly feel good and predictable, however was highly entertaining and a more than satisfactory conclusion to a series I’d so highly enjoyed. My lingering complain resided around several loose ends that felt glossed over, without really wrapping up those key characters fates or emotions following the big events leading up toward the conclusion. Speaking of that ending, let me warn you of all the tears in your near future. I was reading one of the final big scenes on a Saturday where we were fitting in two weddings in one day. While driving to the second wedding, Luke starts to hear my sniffling then all out crying at one of the most heart wrenching scenes I’d read in recent memory. Exasperated, Luke reminded me we were about to be surrounded by family in approximately 15 minutes and what would they think of my red puffy eyes. As such, I had to take a short hiatus until I dragged out a flashlight after the wedding so I could continue my read on our way home. Overall, Kingdom of Ash was a fantastic conclusion to a literary world and characters that I’ve come to love throughout this wild journey. For three years I’ve anticipated each subsequent novel in the series, and now that this adventure has drawn to a close there will be a large gap left on my annual anticipated book release list.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- The last act of The Thirteen was honestly one of the most heartbreaking literary deaths I’ve read in recent memory. Especially considering who The Thirteen have been throughout this series and their unwavering loyalty to Manon. This was the scene I was reading while driving in between the two weddings. Of course, in between tears I try explaining to Luke that all the witches are dying he fails to grasp the importance of this act of sacrifice.
- The more I think about it, the more I become frustrated with the open ending surrounding Manon and the witches returning to their long forsaken land. How did resettling go? Were Manon and Dorian able to reconnect? For that matter, what happened with Dorian returned home? Was there a home to return home to? Did he take up the mantle of King again?
- I found Aelin and Dorian’s meeting with the Gods to be ultimately anticlimactic as it sounds like they were not even going to honor their original bargain. Also, Elena was just annihilated without much fanfare after Aelin tried bargaining again. Did Dorian ever tell Brannon? Is Elena actually gone? Did Aelin actually kill the Gods? The exchange with Dorian and his Father was another tear inducing scene as the former King tries to make amends.
- So much of the story takes place around Aedion and the army fighting off impossible odds. That story line got more and more and more depressing with each subsequent chapter until I would positively dread when one of those POVs came up. And I hated how Aedion was treating Lysandra! I couldn’t stand that they ended up together after how awful he treated her.
- Gavriel’s death was the second hardest after The Thirteen. He was always the level headed peace keeper who kept everyone else in check.
- Lorcan and Elide’s love story was my favorite of this book! Sure it got old when she wouldn’t forgive him, but when she went onto the battlefield to find him before the dam broke cue more tears!
- With the Tower of Dawn we were introduced to the Southern Continent and a whole slue of new characters. I felt like these characters were somewhat lost in the fray in Kingdom of Ash as we caught up with other characters we’d so missed from Empire of Storms.
- Part of what made Kingdom of Ash so fantastic as a concluding novel was the final congregation of key people throughout this read. Sure I had to Google a few like Nox to remember what part they’d previously played. By the way, what happened to Nox?
- I enjoyed that it was not Aelin that destroyed Erawan! Go Yrene!
- Lastly, what will happen to the creatures of legend such as the Little Folk that showed up for the final battle? Also the Valg Princesses in the spiders was extremely anticlimatic as nothing really happened with them. Will the legendary creatures stick around or retreat back to the far corners of the world?