Spoiler Warning…I cried, a lot. I’m just going to start off with the fact that I rated this book 5 stars. Also that this is a large book so this post is definitely going to reflect that, but it will try to keep it to the highlights.
I found that the choice to split the chapters into the many separate groups really worked in this instance. In some books, it can get quite clunky and hold the story back, but not here. It left me wanting for more, but also excited about what would happen with this particular group. Each of the groups had a task to complete before they could come together in the end. It made the coming together of two large groups in the end more powerful.
When it comes to Aelin, I quite enjoyed the way her character developed in this novel. The vision of her mother helping her fight back and give Rowan, Elide, and Lorcan a direction to go in on their quest to find her. The bond she and Fenrys formed during their torture was what they hung onto for a long time. They were not just instantly better and ready to take on their ultimate enemy, but stagnant for a moment. When Elide and Lorcan are riding across the battlefield trying to make it safety before the damn breaks and Aelin chooses to use the power she had been storing for Maeve to save the city. This moment really shows how much her character has come since the beginning.
The beautiful way she wrote about the 13 sacrificing themselves to destroy the witch tower was just so beautiful. I didn’t think I would cry that much, but I didn’t realize how attached I became to the 13 especially Asterin. Asterin in that moment taking down not only the witchtower, but down the Blackbeak Matron came full circle. “And it was not darkness, but light–light, bright and pure as the sun on the snow that erupted from Asterin.” As well as the rest of the Thirteen with their Yieldings.
Dorian had some great moments throughout the novel as well. He came into his own powers, working with them to learn to shapeshift and then deciding to go after the last wyrdstone on is own. He is able to trick Maeve and escape with the last wyrdstone taking down Morath has he went. The moment with his father taking his place in sealing the lock with Aelin, “Nameless is my price,” and then finding out that even though he couldn’t remember his own name, he remembered it once when he bestowed it on Dorian.
Manon became the Crochan Queen that she was always supposed to be. She finds other Crochans, fights Ironteeth Witches including the three matrons at one point. Killing the Yellowlegs matron, sparing the Blueblood matron and then her grandmother flees. It all leads up to Manon bringing reinforcements to the battle in Orynth. I got chills the moment she says look for yourself and there are thousands of Crochan witches with their red capes on their brooms.
Chaol and Yrene are another faction of people that meets up with Aelin first. When he finds out that she is pregnant and not going to let that stop her from what she needs to do. In the end it is not Aelin striking the final blow against Erawan with violence, but Yrene healing the Valg into non existence. When Chaol and Dorian reunite and they are crying while hugging each other was a beautiful scene.
Aelin when she is sacrificing herself to close the lock tries to bargain with the gods. She will give them Erawan for the release of Elena, but they do not take the bargain and shatter Elena. It is here that Aelin finds out the Erliea has been betrayed in the same way that the gods had been at one point. Mala betows one last gift, a fallen star, for fighting for her and all of them. She uses the power to not only seal the lock, but open a portal to the hell realm in their beautiful realm. Mala before she leaves shows that in the tattoo Rowan had hidden wyrdmarks as map for a way home, to him. My heart could literally not take it. Then she gave up her well of magic and her mortality to come back to them.
The little folk help Aelin and her friends many times over because she is technically their queen as she is from Mab’s line. They show up at just the right time and the last is when they appear with the Lord of the North. Who takes Brannon’s heir to Orynth and the battle already waging on. Aedion gets only a moment with his father before Gavriel holds off the hoards so they can close the gates. By the time he makes it, Gavriel had already passed. I wanted Gavriel to be there for Aedion so much, but it didn’t happen.
Then the lost Northern Fae and the wildmen join the fight and it is a whole other element. It was as if every myth or legend they had came to life and helped them win. Aelin brought so many of these groups together without knowing, but they all came to beat the big bad. Ansel of Briarcliff, The Silent Assassins, Rolfe and his crew, and so many more. So it was only right that she officially became the Queen of Terrasan, coronation and all.
She does it again when she gives them more time by stalling both Erawan and Maeve. She was not this character in the first book and it took her until the last to change. In the end, the ring is what ends Maeve. The very ring she wanted no one else but herself to have, so it could not be used on her. The reveal that Maeve was a Valg queen that escaped, changed herself, and made everyone around her believe that she was the Fae sister was shocking. I knew that there was something off about her character, but not what it was exactly. That moment where Aelin injuries her and thinks she sees black blood for a second started my curiosity again.
The romance in this book just kind of falls into place around all the violence. Aelin and Rowan are able to reconnect after her torture to be the mates they should be. Elide eventually forgives Lorcan after saving him and tells him that he is never leaving. Dorian and Manon have an interesting dynamic. Yrene and Chaol returning with Dorian and starting a family. Aedion and Lysandra finally getting together as well.
The flower growing out of the Wastes of the Witch-City shows that both Crochan and Ironteeth witches are ready to come home. It shows what this book is really about that even though there was so much destruction, something good can come of it. The sacrifice of the Thirteen was not for nothing, but the bridge that brought them all back together. Glennis says “Only together can it be undone…Be the bridge.Be the light.” Then Petra mentions “When iron melts.” Powerful enough that both sides can show it.
The book was just so wonderfully well written and the most satisfied I think I have ever been with a conclusion of a series. There wasn’t a huge time jump ahead, but a small one and it worked wonderfully. There is a lot of room for the imagination and that’s just how I like it.
There are just so many wonderful moments about this book that you will just have to check it out yourself to see what I missed. Comment down below your favorite moment in Kingdom of Ash.