Top critical review
3 December 2016
HEIR OF FIRE is the third volume of this mega selling series of YA fantasy novels by Sarah J Maas and, at book’s end, I have to confess to strong feelings of major disappointment. The fable started well, certainly for the folks back at castle Mistward. Prince Dorian has found a new light to warm his heart, his soul and (ahem) his body, and the book really shines when Ms Haas focuses on this relationship. The character of his new love - the castle’s healer Sorscha - is an excellent addition to the cast which adds volumes to this part of the story, especially when you consider who has been taken out of it.
And speaking of which, the magic (pun intended) that was the character Calaena leaves a gaping hole in the story, until of course, toward the end, when the massive plot twists take shape and the you know what really begins to hit the fan.
But the problem is how long it takes for the story to wake itself from its slumber. My first (and only) OMG moment of the book came at the 94% mark and at times I had to force myself to keep reading in the tedious days it took for me to reach that point. The story was just too slow. It had no pace, it was disjointed, and the new characters and parts of the story’s universe held no connection or interest for the reader. Even if (as I do) you love dragons, and witches, and politics, there was no immediate link to what you really, really, really wanted to read the book for in the first place.
Magic itself takes a strong role in the story telling mechanism, and this part is also well done. The action sequences, featuring both hand to hand combat and magic, are incredibly entertaining.
It would be good to know how many books are planned for the series, so that the alert and ever-thinking reader can begin to visualise how it all might come together. The final ten percent of the book is fantastic. Plot twist follows massive plot twist, which follows fantastic fist pumping drama of (SPOILERS) as (SPOILERS) stands up to the vileness of (SPOILERS) in order to (SPOILER) of (SPOILER) from (SPOILER).
But all of that excitement is not enough to raise the overall grade of HEIR OF FIRE from mediocrity. Sarah J Maas can write fantastic fantasy books, for readers of all ages to appreciate. This one had moments of towering brilliance, but the overall slow pace of the book was its major downfall. Yes, i will read book four, and probably finish the series. But what world shattering phenomenon am i running the risk of missing out on by staying true to Ms Maas? That is the situation i find myself pondering over.