<b>I received this from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was offered, given, or taken to alter the opinions expressed forth with.</b>
It's hard to say which book in the series has been the best so far. Each has been wonderful in its own way. Heir of Fire will probably be my book of the year though - only competing with Maas' The Assassin's Blade. Other 2014 releases are going to have to be pretty darn good if they want a chance at beating Heir of Fire. Maas blew me out of the water.
Wendyln is insanely dangerous. It truly is the place nightmares and legends go to live and where mortals go to die. I mean, if you're a fan of camping, you won't be after spending a night in Wendyln's forests; that is, if you survive. Celaena met some scary things while she was in Wendyln but I'd have to say that the most terrifying creatures she encountered in the entire novel would have to be the skinwalkers. Seriously, Miss Maas, how do you come up with this stuff? Outside of the forts, there is no real safety.
Maas introduced some colorful characters who are all entirely wonderful in their own respects, except maybe Manon and the Ironteeth witches, whom I would never describe as wonderful - terrifying, yes. Manon's story is sprinkled throughout the novel but didn't take over. Maas did an excellent job setting up her arc for the rest of the series while introducing us to the rest of the clans. The Ironteeth witches are as terrifying as Baba Yellowlegs, if not more so. The Blackbeaks are probably the scariest.
Aedion and Rowan were both introduced as jerks but watching them both (Rowan more so) reveal who they really are was a pleasure I wouldn't mind reliving in a reread. I hadn't even finished reading Heir of Fire before I wanted to reread the entire thing (after I finished it of course). They were both pleasant surprise, although I wouldn't use the word pleasant to describe either of them. Each helps peel back another layer of Celaena's past.
Dorian and Chaol are as daring as ever. They're both in a crap load of trouble and each are playing their own dangerous games. Dorian really comes into himself though. We see that he's already kind of taken on the mantle of king in his mind, now he just has to live long enough to physically be the king of Ardalan. Chaol has a lot of inner turmoil, but I think he resolves about half of that by the time the book ends.
When we see Celaena, for the first time, she is in pieces. She is in the darkest pit of despair and hopelessness you could imagine. In Heir of Fire, she's so terrified of herself as a Fae, that she holds herself back. She doesn't think that she's worth anything and the only thing that keeps her going for a long time is her loyalty to her friends and the people she couldn't save. In order to learn how to use and control her magic though, she had to work through her past. She had to walk through the wall of rage and fear that she'd run away from for so long. I think, we also begin to further understand how much Arobynn messed with her mind. Arobynn seems to have encouraged her fear of herself and what she was capable of (and definitely the rage). But she starts to accept things. The growth is most reflected in her interactions with Maeve at the beginning and at the end of the novel.
Truly, Maas is taking this series to very incredible places. She sucked me in from the very beginning and, quite frankly, ripped my hear to shreds before she spit me back out of this world she's created. I can't wait for the fourth book.