2019 Reading List: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

The saga has ended.

980 pages chronicle the battles that almost doom the continent. 980 pages to journey to the place where it all began. 980 pages of torture, deceit, strength, hope and valor.

980 pages had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I am always amazed that no matter how long the book, how detailed the journey, Sarah J. Maas always manages to tell a riveting story and the final installment of her Throne of Glass series, Kingdom of Ash, is no exception.

In this final novel, the story of the Queen of Terrasen is coming full circle. Aelin escapes her torturer, Maeve, reunites with her mate and friends, revisits Endovier to forge the Wyrdgate, and travels home to Terrasen to save her kingdom. There is never a dull moment.

It is clear now why Maas had to veer off course in Tower of Dawn to tell Chaol’s story and give us Yrene Towers.

I wanted Aelin to figure out a way to beat the system, to cheat her fate. In a way, she did, but she lost her powers. I wanted her to race in, blazing in fury and triumph, to defeat the enemy with a blast of her fire. I felt like there was all this buildup of power, growing and growing, waiting to be unleashed. Aelin unleashed it to save the army too early, and we lost the feeling of victory that that power was supposed to hold.

Instead I suppose, we were reminded that there is more power in joining forces. There is more strength when kingdoms come together. The fate of the world can’t rest on one person alone. It took every single person believing in a better world, having hope for their future, and never giving up in order to bring down the most powerful force of evil their people had ever faced. We thought it was all about Aelin – even Aelin thought it was all about her – but it was never just her. It was every woman and man who stood beside her, helped her, pushed her, fought her, loved her and believed in her.

What I love most about this book, and the entire series, is that it’s all about women. These are strong warriors, fighters, heroes, victors, allies, and rulers. None of those words traditionally bring to mind a female. But as you read Maas’s books, you don’t even notice that she is writing about women. It is natural and easy that her characters are strong and fierce. There is nothing forced about their story. Maas doesn’t have to convince the reader that her protagonists are women. She doesn’t have to convince the reader that women are capable of all of this. She just writes it and you believe it is so. And then at the end of this book, she reminds you of the female lineup. The women who led their armies and their kingdoms into battle and emerged victorious, standing together, in front of their men, to face their people who look to them for guidance into a better future. Maas reminds us that this whole story was only possible because these strong women led it.

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