“He was Lord of Nothing. Lord of Oath-Breakers. Lord of Liars”
Rating: 5/5 stars
Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.
His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.
But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.
*spoilers for Queen of Shadows
Am I really about to give Chaol Westfall’s book five stars? Did this book redeem Chaol’s character in my eyes? Am I glad I didn’t skip this one? The answer to all three questions is hell yes. I’m not going to lie, I was on the fence with even picking this one up because that’s how much I HATED Chaol. Once upon a time, when Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight were two lonely little books in the world, I shipped Chaol and Celaena so hard. I would have gladly died for them. Until one day, Chaol turned into the biggest piece of garbage known to man and I honestly wouldn’t have minded him getting killed off. But now? Now, I’m just a big blubbering ball of tears who just wants to hug Chaol and never let him go.
If you ever want to read a book with excellent character growth, this is it, my friends. Chaol’s growth in this book is TREMENDOUS, to the point where as I sit and type this I could literally cry. After Queen of Shadows, Chaol, is left with a spinal injury paralyzing him from the waist down. As a last resort to try and heal his spine, Chaol and Nesryn, travel to the southern continent in hopes of not only being treated by one of their gifted healers but also allying with the rulers of the southern continent for the impending war coming up in Kingdom of Ash. So, yes, you absolutely cannot skip this book.
Chaol starts out broken, and self-loathing, which is just like, oh so relatable. Especially, the self-loathing part. And by the end of this he is a completely different person thanks to the help of one of my new favorite characters, Yrene Towers (a.k.a the QUEEN of I Won’t Take No Shit From Anyone). Yrene starts off hating Chaol for his ties to Adarlan, but after spending some time with him she realizes maybe he’s not the monster she thought him to be. Anyone else smell the hate to love coming? Because, I mean at this point we know that SJM will literally mate anything that breathes in her series. So, its easy to see from the very start that eventually their relationship will blossom into something more than just snarky comments and side-eyed stares, which I was more than fine with. Not only is Yrene tasked with physically healing Chaol, but she believes healing is done in two parts, physically and emotionally. Hence, why Chaol’s character growth was so amazing. *sobs*
While Chaol, is working on his healing, Nesryn is out scouting for the war that’s coming with the help of a new *clears throat and rolls eyes* “friend”, Prince Sartaq. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy for Nesryn to not be Chaol’s side piece anymore, but the pairing up of characters is just getting a little ridiculous at this point. Anyway, Nesryn and Sartaq are out scouting some HIDEOUS creatures that are going to be used in the next book. I’ve basically blocked out what the names of the creatures are because I am deathly afraid of spiders. But just think extremely large, talking spiders, like, Aragog big. Excuse me while I vomit. Not only do they have an unfortunate encounter with some of the spiders, but they also find out some extremely important information about Maeve. Which further confirms that you absolutely need to read this book.
One of my favorite parts of this book (besides Yrene being mean to Chaol), was when Yrene showed Chaol a note that a girl had written her before she came to the southern continent to practice healing. If you read The Assassin’s Blade, you know exactly which story I’m talking about and why my mind was so blown. My jaw is probably still on the floor as your reading this. I also absolutely loved the introduction to Falkan’s character and who he is. My heart was SO HAPPY. Plus, we also get to meet a whole slew of new and lovable characters in this book who will also be present in Kingdom of Ash. As far as the ending of this book, I can’t say I was surprised mainly because the book was spoiled for me 🙃, but I am so incredibly happy with the ending. I couldn’t agree with SJM’s choice more.
*the last one is spoiler-y
“The heart he’d offered and had been left to drop on the wooden planks of the river docks. An assassin who had sailed away and a queen who had returned.”
“It was agony and despair and fear. It was joy and laughter and rest. It was life, all of it…”
“You would be surprised by how closely the healing of physical wounds is tied to the healing of emotional ones.”
“So you may look at me with resentment, Yrene Towers, and I will not blame you for it. But believe me when I say that there is no one in Erilea who loathes me more than I do myself.”
“Using the chair is not a punishment. It is not a prison,’ he said softly. ‘It never was. And I am as much of a man in that chair, or with that cane, as I am standing on my feet.’ He brushed away the tear that slipped down her cheek.
‘I wanted to heal you,’ she breathed.
‘You did,’ he said, smiling. ‘Yrene, in every way that truly matters . . . You did.’
All in all, I am so glad I gave this book a chance. And I’m also really kind of sorry for all the mean things I said about Chaol when he was being a trash bag, but you live and you learn, my friends. You live and you learn.
Until next time,