Heir of Fire is the third in Sarah J. Maas’ epic high fantasy for young adults and on up. What began as a young adult series has moved on and up, maturing as our young assassin gets older. This third book is where the series begins to transform in plot, complexity, and maturity.
At the end of the second book, we discover that Calaena is indeed Fae (fairy with fangs in this series), and the rightful heir to the throne of Terrasen. The King of Adarlan, her current employer, had her family executed, along with anyone who exhibited magical abilities and all of the Fae they could find. This didn’t come as any great shock to Calaena for she knew all along. It was, however, quite the shock to the Crown Prince and Chaol, Captain of the Guard. To keep her safe, Chaol had her sent to Wendlyn, a distant land where magic was still alive and her kind thrived, under the guise of an assassination for the King – the man who still had no idea his mortal enemy was his highest employee.
Heir of Fire begins with Calaena in Wendlyn – drunk, stealing for food, and out of money. She is finally found by a new character – Rowan. He’s an enormous Fae, a predator and prince. He’s been around for hundreds of years. He takes Calaena, who’s real name is Aelin, to the Queen of Fae who happens to be her aunt. It isn’t a joyous family reunion and resentments are made known. Still, the Queen wants Aelin to take her throne as Queen of Terrasen but before she can do so, she must train with Rowan.
Aelin had been living in an area purged of magic. She had no idea how to transform into her Fae form or wield her fire magic. With some rough training from Rowan, Aelin transforms into a warrior who is ten times faster and more powerful than she had ever been. And that’s a good thing when the creatures of the dark come looking for them.
The King of Ardalan had not only destroyed magic in his lands, he had opened doors to realms of demonic power, and created an army of demon controlled men. In Terrasen, where magic lies dormant, they weren’t much of a threat. But in Wendlyn where magic flies free on the wind, these monsters are near impossible to kill. That is until Aelin and Rowan put their difference aside and learn how to fight together.
Heir of Fire, although the third book in the series, serves as the typical middle book in a trilogy where details about a great plot begin to fall into place. Although there is a climax, there is much more information discovered where pieces begin falling into place and the reader knows there is a bigger battle to come.
Aelin (formerly Calaena/Lillian) continues to grow in each book – but this was a complete makeover. In her Fae form she has superhuman strength, speed, and reflexes, along with the power to manipulate and control fire at will. And fire is what the demons fear most. Her strength, especially her strength of mind, is what I love most about this character. She never gives up, she’s never wishy-washy, and she’s mature beyond her years.
Her new relationship with Rowan is spectacular. Predator versus predator. They butt heads at every turn and although they act like they despise each other, they growl when someone else steals the other’s attention. There is no love affair, but their companionship eventually morphs into an inseparable friendship with love and hate on both sides of the coin. There is a spark…
The story does take turns going back to Adarlan with the Crown Prince Dorian and Chaol. In their midst is Aelin’s cousin – a traitor to his own kind and general under the King – or is he?
There is also a new story that is thrown into the mix and kept completely separate from the rest – and that is of the Irontooth witches – the Blackbeak Coven. Here, Manon, heir of the matron witch, is the main character who is fighting to become wing leader of a vast new army of witches hired by the King of Adarlan. They never used to work with humans before, but the King has promised to put them in the sky again. When magic was destroyed, so was the ability to fly on their broomsticks. But now the King has presented them with a gift – wyverns to ride upon, if they aren’t killed by them first. This new story is incredibly sophisticated and very, very adult. And there is no connection to the main story line even by the end, which makes the reader wonder how this will play out.
Honestly, I’ve already read the fourth because I couldn’t wait. This series is just way too good to be missed.
Heir of Fire
by Sarah J. Maas