“Kingdom of Ash” knocks people’s socks off

The awesomeness of a book release

“Kingdom of Ash” knocks people’s socks off

Warning: This review contains SPOILERS from the Throne of Glass series.

A good book will stay on your shelf for a while. A great book will stay on your shelf forever. An absolutely amazing knock-your-socks-off book will fill your free time with fangirling (or fanboying) and annihilate your social life.

The Throne of Glass series is absolutely amazing and knocked my socks off, especially after the latest, and sadly last, release on October 23: Kingdom of Ash.

It’s the seventh in Sarah J. Maas’s phenomenal book series, which spans just over one year in the life of Celaena Sardothien. Or, SPOILER, Aelin Ashryver Whitethorn Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen.

The first book started with a famous assassin recently freed from a slave camp competing to win a contest for a place as the King of Adarlan’s Champion and quickly escalated to a long-lost princess trying to free her country from a demon king. Oof. And that’s just a fraction of Maas’s extremely complicated plot.

I love these books and Maas’s other series A Court of Thorns and Roses so much, thinking about them literally hurts (in a good way). I start grinning like a complete fool when I see anything that has to do with them. Maas is my favorite author (more than J.K. Rowling, sorry, but not Harry Potter) of all time.

And hey, guess what! I’m not the only one! The Throne of Glass fandom spreads around the world. I used to live in California, and I have reconnected with one of my old friends, Nina Thomas, through discussion of these books.

Nina said, “You can not even know someone and you can be like ‘Have you read the Throne of Glass series?’ And you have an instant best friend.”

Prepping for a release is a serious deal. I like to reread the latest books and listen to depressing music for emotional preparation, and I buy the ebook version, which arrives at midnight on morning of the release, and wake up early to start reading.

Of her own preparation, Emma Dudley said, “I reread all the other books, make sure I know all my details, and I just get myself hyped up. I like to look at fan art, read some forums, just make sure I have all the knowledge I can and just prepare myself.”

And then comes the day of the release, which happened to be the day after my birthday. I honestly think I was more excited about the book than turning sixteen.

Kingdom of Ash was better than what I expected, and my expectations were very high. It began with five separate story lines: Aelin being tortured by Cairn while Fenrys is forced to watch; Chaol, Yrene, Nesryn, and Sartaq heading north with the khagan’s army (read Tower of Dawn or you will have no idea what’s going on); Rowan, Lorcan, Gavriel, and Elide looking for Aelin; Manon, Dorian, and the Thirteen looking for the Crochans; and Aedion and Lysandra defending Orynth. They all eventually converge into an EPIC ending, which was better than what I expected but worse than what I wanted. Let you interpret that as you will.

I had more physical reactions to this book than when (Six of Crows spoiler) Matthias died. I thought one character had died when he broke his spine and stopped reading for an hour because I was crying so hard. Goodness gracious, that was rough.

Another time, everything was heading towards certain doom, but SOMETHING AWESOME HAPPENED THAT I CAN’T TELL YOU BECAUSE SPOILERS ARE BAD* and everything was okay again. My mind was so blown that I paced my house, jaw dropping, hands flailing, talking to myself like a crazy person (To be honest, I am pretty crazy.), and freaking out in general. That’s what books do to me. But I love it.

I’ll give you one ittie bittie spoiler. (*I’m such a hypocrite.) Thirteen people that I actually care about died. Don’t think about that too hard.

And some other random things the world must know: Dorian is the best, Rowaelin (Rowan + Aelin) are endgame, and Lord Lorcan Lochan is hilarious.

Books are much more than paper and ink. More than something to fill your time. More than an obsession. This is horribly cheesy, so I’m going to stop talking and (welcome to English class) back up my mushy claims with another quote from Emma: “This series really helped me through a lot… it always put me in a good mood. It was a world that I could escape to and just forget about my problems for a little bit… Aelin and her story have moved me and helped me push through these hard times.” That’s the truth, kids.

And you’d better believe Kingdom of Ash is an 11/10.