Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

The basics

Title: Queen of Shadows


Series: Throne of Glass #4

- The Assassin's Blade (March 2014)
- Throne of Glass (August 2012)
- Crown of Midnight (August 2013)
- Heir of Fire (September 2014)
- Queen of Shadows (September 2015)
- Empire of Storms ( September 2016)
- Untitled (September 2017)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Read a full summary of Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas below. If you can’t remember what happened in Queen of Shadows and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

in short

Aelin is back in Rifthold, Dorian is possessed, Chaol has joined the rebellion. Lysandra and Aelin become friends, they work together to kill Arobynn and succeed. Manon’s witch friends have been selected to breed with the Valg demons, which isn’t going so well. Manon’s old witch of a grandmother is building a weapon for the king. Manon and Aelin meet and get into an epic fight, during which Aelin actually saves Manon. Rowan and Aelin kiss because OTP. At the end of the book, there’s an epic battle at the glass castle, and the King is killed. Finally. Turns out he was possessed by a demon the entire time but oh well.

what happened in Queen of Shadows?

  • The book gets right into it by throwing us into Dorian’s mind, which is being controlled by the Valg. It’s all very upsetting because he can’t remember much of anything, and no one else has noticed anything is wrong.
  • Aelin has returned to Rifthold to destroy and conquer. The book opens with her confronting Arobynn in the Vaults.
  • Arobynn tells her that Aedion – Aelin’s cousin – has committed treason against the crown and is to be executed in three days. The fandom freaks out. Arobynn offers to “help” Aelin rescue Aedion. It’s revealed that Arobynn has always known Aelin’s real identity, even when she was Celaena.
  • Aelin kills the owner of the Vaults and people are after her. She hides in the sewers and meets Nesryn, Chaol’s guard. Nesyrn tells Aelin that Chaol is now part of the rebellion. Nesryn takes Aelin to meet Chaol.
  • Aelin and Chaol reunite. Ew. Chaol says he knows how to restore magic, but he won’t tell Aelin his secrets. Aelin obviously gets angry because he’s being ridiculous.
  • Aedion has an infected wound and is hoping it’ll kill him before Aelin can attempt to save him and walk straight into the King’s trap.
  • There’s a very awkward reunion that I really don’t care about. Chaol gives Aelin a recap of what’s been going on while she was away. The rebels have been saving people who can use magic, all of which have the demon jewellery. Aelin blames Chaol for Dorian’s current state. She also tells him that Celaena no longer exists. BOOM!
  • Chaol is scared of Aelin and her power, and he’s basically in love with Dorian and his only goal right now is freeing him. YES. SHIP.
  • Aelin returns to her old apartment and writes a letter to Arobynn which says she agrees to help him capture a Valg demon once he helps her rescue her cousin, Aedion.
  • Now we travel to Morath, where Manon and her thirteen are. Kaltain seems to have been given a collar by Duke Perrington. Manon and Asterin argue about whether or not they should take the wyverns and leave.
  • Lysandra shows up at Aelin’s apartment with a little girl called Evangeline. Lysandra has been sent by Arobynn to tell Aelin the plan to rescue Aedion. She also brought a letter from Wesley, who was killed by Arobynn because he tried to stop the Sam and Endovier thing from happening.
  • Dorian tells the guards to tend to Aedion’s wounds so that the infection doesn’t kill him before the execution.
  • Duke Perrington tells Manon that he wants to see if the Blackbeaks can breed with the Valg. Asterin argues with Manon about this as well, and Manon demotes her to third. Manon meets Elide.
  • Lysandra and Aelin have a talk and bond over their hatred of Arobynn. YAY!
  • Chaol tells Aelin that destroying the wyrdstone towers will release magic.
  • Aelin enters the castle disguised as a dancer. There are wyrdmarks everywhere which Aelin washes away. The other dancers throw black powder to the ground, which Aelin uses as cover to rescue Aedion. Dorian tries to stop them but Aelin has covered herself with wyrdmarks (!!!) so he can’t use magic on her. Dorian seems to be completely gone so Aelin tries to kill him by Nesryn stops her. They escape.
  • Manon realises that Elide doesn’t know that she’s part witch. Manon learns a lot about the Valg, including that they entered their world and stole Fae to breed with, and that’s how witches became a thing. The Yellowlegs volunteer to go ahead with the experiment.
  • It’s revealed that Dorian tried hella hard to give Aelin a sign but he couldn’t, so now he kind of hates her for not killing him. Chaol is determined to save him.
  • Arobynn asks Aelin to fight the Valg in the Pits (a new version of the Vaults). She snaps a commander’s neck. Arobynn rewards her by telling her where Sam’s grave is.
  • Asterin tells Elide she is a witch. Charming. Elide tries to escape but is caught by Manon. Manon tells Elide she has to decide whether she’s human or a witch.
  • The Valg kill everyone in the Shadow Market. A commander summons a Wyrdhound, which the King then talks through. Weird.
  • *collects self* Anyway… Yeah. Rowan came here against Aelin’s orders, he has a bath and it’s a very shippy moment, and then he meets Aedion. Rowan realises that Aedion’s father is Gavriel, a Fae who is one of Rowan’s cadre. Aedion’s mother kept Aedion safe, and didn’t reveal who his father was so that Maeve couldn’t find him. Rowan accidentally tells Aedion that he’s sworn the blood oath with Aelin – something Aedion thought he was going to do – and Aedion gets mad and storms out. Oops. Aelin tells Aedion that she can have more than one blood oath, and he agrees to do it once she’s crowned. I don’t see this ending well.
  • Lorcan, a Fae, has also followed Aelin.
  • Kaltain uses shadowfire on a soldier.
  • Manon isn’t allowed to see the Yellowlegs that are being experimented on. She learns that the Blackbeak Matron is building a weapon for the King. Manon tells Elide to find out what’s happening with the Yellowlegs. I imagine it’s nothing good. Elide saves Kaltain from her pervy uncle. Elide asks Manon for poison.
  • Rowan and Aedion train together. Rowan tells Aedion never to speak to Aelin with such disrespect again. It’s a bit unnecessary since Aelin can take care of herself.
  • Aelin offers to kill Clarisse for Lysandra. Lysandra doesn’t want her to yet.
  • Aelin takes Rowan on a tour of the city.
  • The rebels rescue the prisoners that are on the way to Morath.
  • Aelin leads Lorcan to a group of Valg. He kills them all. Aelin tells Lorcan that she’ll come for him one day.
  • It’s revealed that Lysandra is a shapeshifter, but she can’t do it at the moment because the King is suppressing magic. Lysandra was kicked out of her house when she shifted in front of her mother at a young age. She can’t remember what her true form is.
  • Lysandra tells Aelin that Arobynn expects her to deliver a Valg demon and come to dinner.
  • Aelin and Rowan capture a Valg demon. Aelin makes a deal with the person whose body the Valg is possessing.
  • Aelin visits Sam’s grave and it’s all very sad.
  • Aelin plans to kill Arobynn after dinner.
  • Elide uses the poison that she acquired on the laundress and volunteers to help out. She takes the sheets down to the place where the Yellowlegs are being kept. It looks like the witches have already given birth once and are pregnant again. The demon babies seem quite creepy.
  • It’s revealed that Elide’s mother was Marion, who sacrificed herself to give Aelin enough time to escape the King’s men when she was a child.
  • Aelin and Rowan arrive at Arobynn’s for dinner. Arobynn interrogates the Valg commander that they captured, and it’s revealed that the King has to have their blood for the creepy Valg jewellery to work. Arobynn keeps the ring. Arobynn accuses Aelin of ruining his business, as she pretended to be one of his clients when she rescued Aedion which caused all kinds of trouble.
  • Arobynn gives Aelin the amulet and then slips the creepy demon ring onto her finger. BASTARD. Arobynn swallows her blood and then starts giving her orders, which seem to work. Except what actually happened was Aelin was faking it, and she chose a Valg with little control over its host and the host was giving Arobynn false information. The ring that Arobynn put on her was fake.
  • Aelin tries to kiss Rowan but he tells her not to touch him like that.
  • Lysandra slits Arobynn’s throat while they’re in bed.
  • Tern, Harding, and Mullin take over from Arobynn. Aelin “interrogates” Lysandra. The Master of the Bank reads Arobynn’s will. He has left everything to Aelin. The will has obviously been switched. The other guys want to buy the Guild and the house from her. Aelin decapitates Arobynn’s body. Like a boss.
  • The awful Duke demands that Manon gives him a Blackbeak coven for more experiments. He also demands that Manon and her thirteen take him out to ride the wyverns. They go to a village and Kaltain uses shadowfire to destroy it.
  • Aelin and Lysandra do some investigating. It turns out that the opium dealer from the Shadow Market was selling hellfire, which Aelin wants so she can destroy the tower.
  • The supply of hellfire is hidden below the temple of the God of Truth. There are wyrdmarks there that tell the story of Elena and Gavin, as well as the demon wars. The Valg were led by a king called Erawan, who Elena and Gavin killed. Gavin confessed as he was dying that they didn’t actually kill the king, they just put him to sleep and sealed him in a sarcophagus beneath a mountain. It comes to light that the Black Mountains where the king is buried is Morath, and the King is trying to raise Erawan from his slumber.
  • Manon’s thirteen refuse to pick a coven for the experiments. A man called Roland begs Manon to kill him, which she does.
  • A message from Ren arrives, which states that the King is building an army at Morath consisting of witches and wyvern.
  • Lorcan tells Aelin (while holding a knife to her throat) that he has left Maeve. He says that giving Maeve the ring was a mistake, as it protects its wearer against Valg demon powers. Lorcan’s plan is to destroy the Wyrdkeys so Maeve can’t get to them. He wants the amulet in exchange for the ring.
  • Manon is summoned to meet her grandmother and the King in Oakwald Forest to see the weapon that the old witch has been building.
  • Kaltain takes control back from the demon that’s possessing her. YAAASSSS.
  • The King’s men come for Lysandra as the Guard were told about her being a shapeshifter.
  • Chaol brings news of the meeting in Oakwald Forest, and says they’re taking Lysandra back to Morath. The gang plan to rescue Lysandra in the Forest. Aelin promises she won’t try to kill Dorian. Right now, anyway.
  • The meeting takes place. Manon’s grandmother is a cow, and reveals that she knew about the experiments and she thinks they’re a great idea. What. A. Cow. Manon talks to Dorian and he manages to remember his name before the demon takes over again. Aelin frees Lysandra and sees the old witch slap Manon.
  • Chaol now thinks that Dorian is lost because he can’t make up his bloody mind. He runs into the witches, and Aelin distracts them by revealing that she killed Baba Yellowlegs a while back. She traps Manon and the group makes a run for it. Manon catches up to them on the bridge, Rowan takes an arrow for Aelin because OTP. 10/10 WOULD SHIP AGAIN.
  • Aelin and Manon get into an epic fight and destroy a temple. ALSO A SHIP MAELIN IS LEGIT. Aelin goes back and saves Manon, meaning Manon now owes her a life debt. Or marriage, iajs.
  • Manon tells the King that she killed the rebels. Boss.
  • The weapon is two towers made up of a mirror that could amplify powers, which the King wants to use with Kaltain’s shadowfire.
  • Elide is caught by Vernon when she tries to make an escape. She’s imprisoned. Vernon gives Manon information on Aelin and Chaol. Manon realises that Chaol is an idiot and doesn’t realise that Dorian is still alive in there.
  • Asterin tells a story about how, eighty years ago, she fell pregnant by a human. Manon’s old witch of a grandmother is the only one who knew. The baby was stillborn, although Asterin wasn’t allowed to see it which seems awfully fishy. The old witch branded Asterin’s stomach. Two other people know and that’s it.
  • Aelin pays off Lysandra’s and Evangeline’s debts.
  • Asterin and Manon go to Rifthold.
  • Lorcan tells Rowan that Maeve will probably want to put a collar on Aelin. Rowan gives Lorcan the fake amulet and takes the ring that protects people from evil demon powers.
  • Chaol apologises to Aelin for everything. As he bloody well should.
  • Nesryn makes Chaol promise that he’ll walk out of the castle. Lmao.

how did Queen of Shadows end?

Aelin doesn’t want Lysandra to help and tells her to take Evangeline out of the city before shit goes down. The plan is to set the towers on fire using hellfire, and Chaol and Aelin will take down Dorian and the King. Manon has left messages for Aelin all over the city so that she’ll hopefully realise that Dorian is still alive. Chaol’s men have been killed and their bodies are hanging from the fence outside the castle.

Aelin pretends to still be loyal to the King and pretends to be bringing Chaol to him. She gives the King two fake rings, and says they’re from the King and Prince of Wendlyn. The King tells Aelin that he knows that she’s Aelin. Duh. Turns out Lorcan lied about killing the Wyrdhounds, and he actually gave them Rowan’s scent. Oops. Rowan and Aedion fight off the Wyrdhounds, but this delays the hellfire thing.

Aelin flees the throne room and is pursued by Dorian. Chaol stops the King and distracts him so he can’t go after Aelin. Aelin and Dorian have an epic fight. It’s awesome. He stabs her. It’s also awesome.

Lorcan helps Rowan for some reason. Rowan finally lights the fuse and the tower is destroyed, which frees magic. Lysandra shows up to help and they kill the Valg soldiers.

The King announces to Dorian and Aelin that Chaol is dead. Because Dorian loves Chaol a lot, this snaps him out of it and he takes back control of his mind. He takes the collar off. Dorian and Aelin fight the King together. The King starts using a creepy voice. He tells them that he and the horrible Duke went to Morath years ago and freed Erawan. Erawan has taken over Duke Perrington’s body, and something else has taken over the King’s. And no one called this!!!1 The King took control back long enough to have the towers built and banish magic. So really Aelin and the gang have helped the Valg. Oops?

Dorian shatters the castle and kills the King. Aelin takes control of the city and frees all the slaves.

Vernon visits Elide. He wants her to breed with the Valg. Manon rescues Elide, and with Kaltain’s help they escape. Kaltain takes a stone out of her arm (yeah…) and tells Elide to give it to Aelin. It’s a key that’ll unlock any door. Apparently. Kaltain uses her shadowfire to destroy Morath and herself. Manon, Elide, and the thirteen escape.

Lorcan stole Aelin’s ring when she was unconscious. Bloody hell. Dorian and Chaol have a chat. Chaol is now paralysed and needs to go to the Southern Continent to be healed there. Chaol is now the King’s Hand and Nesryn is Captain of the Guard. Manon sends Elide to Terrasen to find Aelin. Lysandra receives land from Aelin and is appointed Lady. Dorian frees all the kingdoms that were conquered by the King. Perrington and Vernon somehow survived Morath. Bloody demons. Aelin wants Chaol to strike an alliance in the Southern Continent. Aelin, Aedion, and Rowan arrive back in Terrasen. Finally.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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  • Emily says:

    This recap was hilarious. And also useful because it’s been a year since I read this. Thanks, Amber, you’re a good pal:)

  • Anna says:

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  • Helena says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Really fun, good recap! 🙂

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