The first time I read Heir of Fire I gave it 2.5 stars, this time I gave it 5

The first time I read Heir of Fire I gave it 2.5 stars (here’s my first review). But I just did a reread and gave it five stars! I think this is really interesting so I want to talk a bit about why I think my rating changed so much.

Heir of FireHeir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #3
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 2, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Magic
Pages: 565
Source: BookExpo America
Book Details
Rating: ★★★★★

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat—and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

My first read

The first time I read Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire, I read them each as soon as ARCs came out. That means there was about a year in between reading each book. Although this didn’t cause a problem for Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, I think it did cause a problem for Heir of Fire. By the time I got to reading it, it had been so long since I’d read Crown of Midnight. Maybe I wasn’t really in the right frame of mind to devour the book. I still remembered the overall picture, but had forgotten details along the way.

Plus, I was so enamoured with Celaena that I couldn’t give two shits about Manon. I hated her chapters. I wanted nothing to do with her. This just frustrated me.

Then, I think I was so disappointed with Heir of Fire that by the time Queen of Shadows came out, I was just deflated. I read about two chapters and called it quits. Once again, I just think I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I wasn’t hyped up enough.

So I never read Queen of Shadows or any of the following books.

Sarah Maas signing Heir of Fire

My second read

Everything changed the second time around!

I was determined to reread Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, then push through Heir of Fire, and finally make it to Queen of Shadows and beyond (where many people assured me it would get better than Heir of Fire). Rereading the first two was an amazing experience; I was so glad to find out that I loved the books just as much the second time around—maybe even more. Then Heir of Fire…

…Man I was super nervous. I was so afraid I’d hate it and that it’d just be a repeat of the first time. But then suddenly I was halfway through the book and I realized… I liked it. Then I realized I loved it. I just kept reading and reading and was content to never stop! I think this came down to two reasons:

  1. No gap between books. I had just finished the first two books and was firmly hooked on Celaena’s world. I was so invested in the story and it was all right there at the front of my mind. There was no year long gap. I was already pumped to continue the story and remembered every single detail.
  2. Managed expectations. In a funny way, I think knowing the direction the book was going to go made me love the story more. Knowing that Manon was going to be part of the book ahead of time (and here to stay) allowed me to slow down and take the time to appreciate her chapters. This time I loved them! And knowing that (romance spoilers ahead) View Spoiler »

In short, I think the first time I read Heir of Fire I wasn’t truly in the right frame of mind to read the book, and I went into it with a clear idea of how I wanted the book to go. I wanted Chaol to go chasing after Celaena and I wanted them to have this huge lovey dovey reunion and spend the rest of the book making out. When that didn’t happen, I was just mad, frustrated, and bored because it wasn’t going my way.

The second time I knew what to expect so I focused on giving the new events and characters a chance instead of hoping for something that would never be. Turns out it was actually pretty awesome! Now I’m pumped that I can finally get caught up with the rest of the series.

Have you ever read a book a second time and completely changed your rating? Which book?

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  1. I really loved Manon’s chapters, and her role in Queen of Shadows. I still have yet to read Empire of Storms though, and I am a little reluctant to read Chaol’s book, because I don’t really care for his character.

    1. I actually just started Empire of Storms now (I’m zooming through!) and Manon’s chapters have become some of my favourite. I think you’ll love her in Empire of Storms! (at least what I’ve seen so far)

      I’ve heard from a lot of people that Tower of Dawn has ended up being one of their favourites, so maybe it’ll surprise you. 🙂

  2. Side note, I don’t really like Rowan as her love interest either. She has had a different love interest in each book (including the Prequel novellas.) That I would kind of prefer her to be her own motivation rather than whichever guy she is attached to, to be her motivation

    1. Same!! I think her relationship with Rowan is quite forced and out of the blue and pretty toxic, so I don’t ship them at all. And considering she has to put her kingdom together and be in a war, I truly think she should have just been alone.

    2. Yeah all the different love interests kind of threw me the first time around, especially because the approach was so different from most other fantasy romance books. Usually when there’s a romance, it’s all about one guy. Even if a love triangle comes into play, the girl almost always sticks with the first guy she saw. But in Throne of Glass there’s Sam, Dorian, Chaol, Rowan… It can be kind of hard if you get really attached to one of those but then she moves onto someone else.

    1. If you do give it another shot then I hope you end up enjoying it like I did! I’m now on Empire of Storms and absolutely loving it.

  3. I have done the same thing and that was with Taylor Laini’s book Daughter of Smoke & Bone. I didn’t really like it on my first read and couldn’t understand the hype. Then I read the next two and fell in love. Went from a 3 to 5 stars. I loved this book, though. I’ve loved all of them and I have to admit: Manon is my favorite. Can’t get enough of her – she’s my gal.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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    1. Oh that’s very interesting! I actually read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and didn’t really love it either. I think I also gave it 3 stars. Now I’m wondering if I should give it another shot. 🙂

  4. I agree with you. I enjoy a series so much better when I don’t have to wait so long in between books. There are times I don’t finish a series just because I’d have to go back and re-read the other books and I don’t have time to do that.

    1. Exactly! I’m actually currently waiting for at least two other series to end before I start/finish them. I’m just so sick of waiting a year (or longer) in between each book. I’m waiting for the series to finish before getting more into it.

  5. I think reread reviews are so great for this exact reason! I’ve never had this same experience because I don’t tend to reread books I didn’t like the first time around but I think your reasoning makes so much sense. Binge reading is SO helpful for fantasy books and I definitely need to be in the right frame of mind. I’m glad you enjoyed it more the second time around! I really liked Queen of Shadows but didn’t care for Empire of Storms so it will be interesting to see where the series ends up. Happy reading!

    Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle recently posted: Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
    1. Aw bummer that you didn’t love Empire of Storms. I’m actually reading that one now and really enjoying it so far, but I’m not even 200 pages in yet.

      Have you read Tower of Dawn?

  6. I always feel like rereading books is a fascinating move just because you get a different perspective and that it can influence your thoughts positively or negatively. We change constantly. I do think that it helps when you sort of binge-read series in a short period because the details stay fresh in your mind so I definitely can see why you enjoyed Heir of Fire far more this time than before. I hope you have the same luck with the remaining books in the series! I enjoyed Throne of Glass a lot more than I thought I would so I’m thrilled you were able to push through this one and even love it! I feel like I need to go back and reread from Heir of Fire onward again just because I think I had one of those moments where I read it but I let something influence me negatively during it? I enjoyed them but not as much as I wanted to, I guess you could say.

    1. I read it but I let something influence me negatively during it

      I know exactly what you mean! That has definitely happened to me with other books.

      I hope you enjoy them more the second time around. 🙂

  7. To be honest I had a really similar experience to you!

    With the Throne of Glass series, I think the year between books really throws everything off kilter. In the past with series like Harry Potter, I would reread all the previous books while waiting for the next release, but as a blogger I haven’t got the time for that, so I would just dive into each new Maas book hoping I remembered enough from the previous one to see me through. I’m looking forward to them ALL being out so I can binge the whole series.

    Also – I shipped Chaol and Celaena SO HARD. So I really struggled with that! AND, I thought the first two books were much more focused on character development, whereas from book 3 on it starts doing a ton of world building and more action, and that switch felt very… disjointed to me initially. I didn’t give a crap about Manon, and felt the jump in book 2 to book 3 was too extreme (I LOVE Manon now).

    BUT, I’m totally caught up in the series, and honestly I’m so glad I stuck with it. I love it, and as it moves on, it all starts to become perfect as a whole. Have you read the bind-up novellas called The Assassin’s Blade? If not get on that, it’s a great book and really helped give Aelin some depth.

    1. I think the year between books really throws everything off kilter

      Yes, you’re so right. Part of me is actually annoyed that I started to do this reread now, before the final book is out. Now I have to wait almost a year for it! Ugh.

      You make a good point about the first two books being more focused on character development. I think you’re right. It’s definitely more action and plot now.

      I really think it helps to know what’s coming so your expectations are already set. Instead of hoping for something to happen that never will, you can focus more on accepting what you know actually does happen. The first time around I totally shipped Chaol and Celaena so I spent all of Heir of Fire waiting for them to get back together… and that was obviously a waste of time. The second time around I accepted that wasn’t going to happen and forced myself to be more open minded.

      I haven’t read The Assassin’s Blade yet! I probably should have started with that during my reread.

  8. I’m so excited that you re-read this and ended up loving it!! Heir of Fire is my favourite out of all of the books in this series. I even like Celaena in this book, which is saying something because she is my least favourite character in this series. My favourite character is Elide, followed closely by Manon, their story lines are really interesting too.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the series a lot more!

    Jordon @ Simply Adrift recently posted: Roar: Expectations & potential
    1. I just finished Empire of Storms last night and OMG I LOVE Elide! She is fantastic. I’m now also a huge fan of Manon too.

      Sometimes I like Celaena and sometimes I don’t. She is starting to really annoy me with how secretive she is. If I were in her court I’d be SO annoyed that she keeps making huge plans and not telling anyone about them because she “likes seeing everyone surprised!” Sorry but if you’re in the middle of a war that’s total BS. 😛

  9. I know I bugged you enough about this on Twitter but I’m SO HAPPY you enjoyed this so much more on the re-read. As I picked up the series this summer, I would go to GoodReads and then see people that started off book by book and wonder why they dropped it and I think it’s as you said – the waiting between books puts it off kilter somehow. Also, I think since I went in after everyone, I knew she didn’t end up with Chaol so I never got attached to that relationship as I might have otherwise.

    And now I’m kind of really mad at myself for reading it this summer and not waiting until next summer because now I have to wait a whole freakin’ year for the last book. *shakes fist in the air*

    1. I’ve loved talking to you on Twitter during my reread!!

      I 100% agree with this statement:

      “I’m kind of really mad at myself for reading it this summer and not waiting until next summer”

      WHAT WERE WE THINKING??? Ugh. Stupid stupid stupid.

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