Book Wake

Following good stories wherever they lead

Birthright Restored: Heir of Fire

Heir Fire

Note: This is the third in an ongoing series, so spoilers lie ahead — if you haven’t started any of the books yet, see these reviews and pick up Throne of Glass first.

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Rating: 4 out of 5 mugs

If you’re in the mood for: A multi-layered story of magic and self-revelation amidst the drumbeats of a coming war, as an exile fights to reclaim her birthright. 

Celaena Sardothien is on another mission to kill for the king, but she’s spending her days getting drunk on rooftops instead.

It’s hard to blame her. In a short time, Celaena has lost everything good in her life — Chaol, Nehemia, love and friendship — and now she’s been tasked to assassinate the royal line of Wendlyn.

If the King of Adarlan knew who she really was — Aelin Galathynius, lost heir of the Terrasen line — she would be executed in a heartbeat, so she continues to masquerade as Celaena, King’s Assassin. She is a tool for her mortal enemy, the man who destroyed her kingdom and enslaved her people…and she has never been so lost.

Fortunately, Celaena is about to meet someone new — and he isn’t about to let her give up.

Unfortunately, Rowan Whitethorn, faerie prince, seems to hate her guts. He’s been tasked by Queen Maeve to train Celaena in her latent magic — but he seems more likely to kill her through his brutal sessions.

Celaena is no stranger to grueling work. But alone among the fae and demi-fae, battered by her own magic, she is dangerously close to shattering.

Meanwhile, the witch Manon, heir to the Blackbeak Clan, is training with her sisters to go to war. And they’ve just received news that the King of Adarlan has made them a gift…of wyverns.

When she arrives with her recruits, she discovers that these beasts are more than they appear. If she can train her squadron well, she will win the war games and the right to be Wing Leader — but first she has to learn how to deal with her own unruly wyvern mount.

Back in Adarlan, Chaol and Dorian are fighting their own battles — one to manage his loyalties, the other to control his growing magic. Both are thrown an unpleasant surprise with the arrival of Aedion, the Wolf of the North. Aedion Ashryver, cousin to Aelin Galathynius, is now King Adarlan’s most vicious general. No one knows exactly why the king kept Aedion alive, much less recruited him into his army — the black ring that the Wolf wears seems to be a clue. But might there be the possibility of a spark of rebellion, hidden behind that perfect facade?

Heir of Fire balances multiple storylines and characters with grace, shifting viewpoints with a tight pace and a light touch. The introduction of new characters lends depth to the tale, with an expansion of scope that’s refreshing.

It’s never a chore to keep track of things — more likely, you’ll be eagerly awaiting the chapter where you get back to Chaol, or Celaena, or Manon — it’s hard to pick a favorite line of development. Manon in particular is a compelling character — raised in a code of brutality and obedience, she is caught off guard when she meets her wyvern mount…and starts to care for another creature for the first time in her life. For character relationships, the dynamic between Celaena and Rowan is a rich surprise, complex and interesting and not easily categorized. We also get to see Celaena confront her demons — work that she’s needed to do for quite some time.

In terms of overall story arc, this does a great job of advancing and enriching the plot. Nothing feels extraneous, and there’s the sense of everything inexorably building towards a final confrontation. This isn’t the concluding book in the series, so you can look forward to more after you’ve finished — probably with some impatience.

A satisfying new installment in a compelling series, this story of exile, betrayal, and magic will sweep the hours away.

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This entry was posted on January 15, 2015 by in Fantasy, Magic, YA.
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