Why Kingdom of Ash Was a Disappointment: A Salty Review

February 24, 2019 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 2 stars, Books, Reviews

Why Kingdom of Ash Was a Disappointment: A Salty ReviewKingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #7
Published by Bloomsbury Australia on October 23, 2018
Source: Purchased
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads

Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s #1 New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an epic, unforgettable conclusion. Aelin Galathynius’s journey from slave to king’s assassin to the queen of a once-great kingdom reaches its heart-rending finale as war erupts across her world. . .

Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.

As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.

Disclaimer: If you like Kingdom of Ash I definitely don’t hold it against you, but these thoughts are mine and mine alone and not everyone can like the same books, which is why this community is amazing. I hope you’ll be able to read this with an open mind and not hold it against me for having an opinion about this series.

When I look back at the time that I’ve invested into this series, my main feelings after reading this book is one of slight disappointment. Like many of you, I’ve invested several years of my life obsessing over this series, and the trials and tribulations of Aelin, Rowan, Dorian, Chaol and the rest of the cast of characters.

According to Goodreads, this book was definitely the longest that I’ve read all year, almost at 1000 pages, but when you look at quantity versus quality, there wasn’t too much of it here. The actual substance in the book is few and far in between, with key scenes between major characters spread so thinly that the book starts to become boring and repetitive during certain parts.

Here’s my video version of this post!

Repetitive torture scenes

Let’s start with the start of the book, where Aelin is being tortured by Maeve and her lackies. You just know that Fenrys is going to play a part in saving  her, because of all the guilt that he feels over Aelin and his small rebellions against Maeve. Not to mention Cairn being a fairly black and white villain who revels in torturing her, it’s all so predictable and boring. The repetitive and increasingly gruesome nature of these torture scenes are why it took me so long to get immersed in the book – I even started skimming at times because let’s be honest – we all know Aelin is going to escape eventually. Why not cut to the chase and skip hundreds of pages of repetitive torture? It isn’t until almost page 300 during her inevitable escape which is the average length of an entire YA book.

No inner circle deaths

After the laughable disappointment that was the conclusion of A Court of Wings and Ruin, where not a single character dies even after a huge, large scale war that we’re supposed to be scared about, I didn’t have high hopes that SJM was going to take huge risks for the end of this series. After all, she’s invested SO MUCH in these characters and can barely see them get hurt, or not have things go their way for once. They need to all have a HEA ending right?

Little did I know how right I was going to be, and the only character deaths that were going to ACTUALLY HAPPEN (after lots of false starts with Lorcan and even Abraxos almost dying – but c’mon, you can’t kill off the dragon) were the ones of side characters that I didn’t really bat an eyelash at. Yes, I was sad that Manon lost The Thirteen and that Asterin died, but let’s be honest, Asterin had it coming from the last few books. Also Gavriel – I mean seriously, who gives a fuck? Pick any minor side character and kill them off but your main inner circle remains intact, despite there being a million of them – I can’t be bothered to count.

As a fantasy reader, I’ve read A LOT of series enders that have killed off one of the major characters in the series – particularly where a major war has occurred. Call it character development, justice, or a hero’s death or whatnot, but most of the time it makes sense to kill them off. When each and every character in the inner circle is treated with precious gloves, it just makes me lose faith in SJM’s writing and I don’t think I’ll be able to read any other series without predicting what’s going to happen – seeing that this has now happened twice now in her series.

Pointless battle scenes

Much of the book is set upon the battlefield, with Lysandra and Aedion fighting for their lives against Morath’s soldiers. But because there’s barely any development of the war beyond Empire of Storms, we’re just lead to believe that they’re fighting for the sake of it and because it’s important. There is so much waffle when it comes to them fighting that, like the sex scenes, and repetitive Aelin torture scenes, I also tuned out after a while. Why should we care about these pointless battle scenes when all they’re doing is fighting and fighting in the middle of  the book, while everyone else seems to be floating around declaring their love for one another?

When it ends up more of a romance, than a fantasy

This criticism isn’t new at all, but when every single major character ends up with a significant other, and things end up happily ever after for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, I just have to declare it – this series is first and foremost a romance, rather than a fantasy. Why wouldn’t we want characters to all end up with a happily ever after? Because my friend, that is not real life and there is also a segment of the population who are asexual, so romance is not on the cards for them.

In fact, this becomes even more pronounced in Kingdom of Ash, which dedicates a huge portion of its pages to declarations of love between each and every couple that exists within the series. If you’ve reached the end of this series, well done because you’ve certainly read enough posessive, snarling, mind-numbing sex scenes especially where Aelin and Rowan have been concerned – and yes, there are certainly more of them. Perhaps if you’re like me, you also skip these parts because there’s only enough claiming, marking, mating and ear nibbling that you can tolerate before throwing the book across the room. Exactly the same as the ACOTAR series, but I digress.

White fantasy world

My issue isn’t that white authors want to write white fantasy worlds, they can write whatever they want as long as it’s not harmful to POC.

The issue here is that in a FANTASY WORLD where there is a diversity of terrains and people from different countries, we’re lead to believe that most of these people are fair-skinned without their own languages, religions, beliefs and cultures? This isn’t representative of our world, and it isn’t representative of any sort of world, except for a perfectly white, vanilla one where apparently you are either fae or white.

In fact, the treatment of POC and diversity is so poor in this entire series spanning 7 books that there is only one expressly stated person of colour, who happens to be killed off early in the series. Poor Nehemia.

It only gets worse after SJM receives a fair share of criticism about the lack of diversity in her books, so suddenly the official slipcase cover art of Kingdom of Ash includes an asian Manon, despite this not expressly described in any of her appearances, ever. I’m not even going to begin to describe how offensive this is, pretending that a character was POC all along when it isn’t specifically stated in the book, because Sofia does it so well here.

I’m not even begin to describe the lack of LGBTQIA+ characters in her books, because whenever she tries to indicate that someone is something other than straight and white, it just ends up so subtle and obscure that it might as well not be included in the first place. There’s trying, and then there’s just throwing it in, and then there’s SJM trying to be inclusive, in that order.

Battles are too easy

Speaking of scales, there’s special snowflakes, and then there’s Aelin, who is on a league of her own. So towards the end, she’s ripped of her powers and is basically a human in a fae’s body. When facing Maeve, who is the most powerful villain that she’s ever encountered, with her full powers, she STILL doesn’t get a scratch on her and why is that? Because obviously we want Aelin and her inner circle to win, and for evil to lose. It’s as simple as that.

I cannot believe how easily Maeve and not to mention Erawan was defeated in so few pages. You spent longer building it up than the actual battle itself, where Yrene (bless her soul) just comes in and kills him quickly and easily. Then you have Aelin who has lost her powers and is defended by the loyalty and male chilvary of her inner circle, none of which get hurt. Talk about anti-climactic. Particularly because you just spent SEVEN WHOLE BOOKS talking about how powerful both of these villains are.

My salt for Kingdom of Ash and the Throne of Glass series is real – I couldn’t help but be bitterly disappointed by the end of this series, especially since I’ve invested so much time of my life in it. If I went in knowing it was going to primarily end up a romance, and that every single person was going to be incredibly special, and that there was a severe lack of diversity in it, would I have gone in at the start? Most likely not.

Apparently I’m a black sheep though, seeing as most people seem to love this series, but to each their own.

Rating: 2 out of 5

The following two tabs change content below.
Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Tiktok@happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge