Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan


Journeyed there and back again
Almost through the entire book, but I've yet to recall why
Vaelin lost his bloodsong. Can someone elaborate?
Dahrena brought him back
his song was gone
. News to me, too, I missed all that.


Journeyed there and back again
Dang. Doesn't ring a bell at all o_O

EDIT: thanks!
Forgot to say it was said to have occurred as he was almost singlehandedly lifting the siege of Alltor at the end of Tower Lord.


Journeyed there and back again
Forgot to say it was said to have occurred as he was almost singlehandedly lifting the siege of Alltor at the end of Tower Lord.
That I vaguely remember. I should just wait reading unfinished trilogies until they are finished and so circumvent things like forgetting essential information. It is strange though, as I don't very often have this problem.


Journeyed there and back again
So, I've finished this last night.

First, let me say I really liked Bloodsong and thought Tower Lord mediocre. I also had a hard time remembering the final events of the first book and pretty much the entire sequel. Most of it filtered back in through the myriad little references and recalls Ryan put in. It's a point where he improved on as I do remember the same thing in Tower Lord where there weren't as many such moments.

I liked reading the POVs of brother Frentis and Reva the most, then Vaelin and lastly Lyrna. The connection Frentis shared with Elverah was clever by Ryan, but should've been used more I find. It could've been the dynamic in the struggle between the forces of the Unified Realm and the Meldeneans and the Volarian Empire. It was nice to see how the Verniers POV payed off at the end.

For a book so deeply rooted in militairy fantasy I found it to lack in ultimately important aspects like logistics and resources. That whole part was brushed over way to quickly. Next to that the whole fact our young queen decides to opt for a contra-invasion after the devastation the Volarians left in the Unified Realm, not at all realistic. Such basic aspects of militairy campaigns rubbed the wrong with for the book that spends quite a few pages on militairy campaigning. Surprisingly, most of the battles fought in the book were over before the began. It surprised me a tad. Frentis slave uprising thing in New Kethia was fun, but that went to easily did it not?

That makes me come to my second quarrel with this book: Lyrna. An annoying little bitch, and that while the development of this traumatised character could have been amazing. Also, naming everybody this or that without a clear (to me as the reader) hierarchy.

Thirdly, Vaelin's traverse along the ice and the tribes. While the tribes made it possible for the author to do some more worldbuilding it didn't add all that much to the plot. Also, I didn't see much character development for Vaelin and don't really see the point of him losing his song at the end of the previous book. Actually I found his POVs one of the more boring ones.

Fourth aspect, the ending felt underwhelming to say the least. It didn't deliver the emotional gutpunch it could have.

Despite the points of critique I delivered it read fluently and managed to tie up the main story, although the pacing between Tower Lord and Queen of Fire is quite lop-sided.

I give this book 7/10.
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Philosophizes with Kellhus
Weaver actually healed Vaelin and took his song. At least that's what I thought we were told in queen of fire. Every time Weaver heals someone he takes something from that person. But it did seem like Dahrena bringing him back made his song go away


Journeyed there and back again
Weaver actually healed Vaelin and took his song. At least that's what I thought we were told in queen of fire. Every time Weaver heals someone he takes something from that person. But it did seem like Dahrena bringing him back made his song go away
Thanks Tom, that's probably it. I only saw references to Dahrena bringing him back, not healing him. And I can't remember what happened to him in lifting the siege of Alltor. He obviously died, right?


Journeyed there and back again
Weaver actually healed Vaelin and took his song. At least that's what I thought we were told in queen of fire. Every time Weaver heals someone he takes something from that person. But it did seem like Dahrena bringing him back made his song go away
That isn't true. We learn in Queen of Fire that Weaver has the ability to take some gifts but he only steals a piece of Vaelin's song and he clearly has his song through the end of Tower Lord until he dies and is brought back.


Journeyed there and back again
Blood Song 9.5/10
Tower Lord 8.5/10
Queen of Fire 5/10 (disappointing finish)

MY QUEEN OF FIRE REVIEW with minor spoilers

I actually went back and re-read both Blood Song and Tower Lord right before the Queen of Fire since I simply could not remember enough from the first two books to read Queen of Fire properly. But that’s one of the issues with this trilogy – the author Anthony Ryan packs in a lot of cultures, regions and minor characters to the point they are way too hard to keep track of. (Why the author adds a girl for Reva to adopt in this final book is a perfect example of wasted pages and too many minor characters). I actually made notes during my re-reads in an effort to solve the mystery of the One from Beyond or Ally. Even at the end of Queen of Fire he refers to a question between two main characters from the first book and requires us to remember it! I’m sorry but you have to give your readers a little more help imo.

The biggest problem with Queen of Fire is that is just wasn’t that interesting, was far too focused on world/religion building and lacked good dialogue and memorable scenes. I read it because it finished off a trilogy that I loved initially. What made Blood Song so great was Vaelin. The character was very interesting and it was largely set in one area with limited fantasy elements. I remember great scenes and dialogue with his masters and the Aspects, Sister Sherin, etc. You’d be hard pressed to find any memorable dialogue with Vaelin and anyone in the final book. Just travel from A to B to gather more world building and religious information. Simply too much information and side characters the reader doesn’t care that much about. Also I viewed Vaelin’s gift as special but as the trilogy unfolded there seemed to be a gifted character around every corner and I preferred the trilogy when the fantasy elements were a bit more subdued. As with all books in this trilogy some characters develop too fast to be believable although I can forgive this for the most part.

I actually liked Tower Lord and enjoyed the re-read as well. Splitting into 4 main POVs from just Vaelin annoyed many but I enjoyed Reva and Frentis while also enjoying Lyrna to a lesser degree. They had interesting stories to tell. In Queen of Fire Vaelin is neutered, Frentis is repetitive, Reva is uninteresting/ignored until the end and Lyrna bounces back and forth between harsh, cunning and nice along with boring. The inner battle over guilt from all the main characters is overdone by the end of the series and I hope to never read another quote over the innocence lost by youth during their hard times. But the biggest crime is that the characters all play second fiddle to the author trying to force all the world building knowledge on us at all times. All the religious histories of every culture dominated far too much as well. It felt like a Timothy Dalton Bond movie – all flash and little substance. There were certainly a lot of large scale action scenes but after so many I didn’t really care about them by the end. Veniers was the most interesting of them all and I wish he had more time in the book.

The only appealing part of Queen of Fire is to finally see the unveiling of the Ally although the mystery behind him and the agents was overly convoluted. Even the assassin woman’s motives at the end (and throughout) weren’t fully understood. But it didn’t really matter. At the end we have a conclusion of a book that travelled all over the map but failed to capture the reader unlike the first two books.


Journeyed there and back again
Also, I tried to keep track of most characters and what they did. I kept adding to the file and I stopped at the end of each book. For anyone wanting to read the final book but can't remember the first two then you can check my notes out if you like:

Blood Song only (will have spoilers for this but not Tower Lord): https://drive.google.com/drive/fold...lUUEw5aUZOYmcwRGx1eXI2NXdzZEdWc1ZVaWpNR1UzY0U

Tower Lord (with Blood Song): https://drive.google.com/drive/fold...lUUEw5aUZOYmcwRGx1eXI2NXdzZEdWc1ZVaWpNR1UzY0U

Final Book: https://drive.google.com/drive/fold...lUUEw5aUZOYmcwRGx1eXI2NXdzZEdWc1ZVaWpNR1UzY0U

I don't just add stuff to the end for each new book but often add stuff to each character as they go. It's not completely organized but I didn't find a lot of great info on the internet imo. This may help some of you.



Philosophizes with Kellhus
Queen of Fire: 3/10 (General Spoilers ahead)

As most of the people who posted before I really liked the first two parts of the series. of course I wanted to like the final part, too - despite all bad reviews I saw before I bought the book. In the beginning, maybe the first half of the book, I could do just that. But it gut worse on every page, my main issues beeing:

Also, I tried to keep track of most characters and what they did. I kept adding to the file and I stopped at the end of each book. For anyone wanting to read the final book but can't remember the first two then you can check my notes out if you like:
Every chapter I was wondering: "Who the f***k is this guy agin? What did he do? Is this important for the plot?" Not only was there no help in catching up to the previous books, there were also too many charaters. I mean there was such an amount of characters already before the third installment and by freeing a whole empire, exploring the northern reaches the amount wasn't exactly decreasing.
Al lot of characters aren't bad by definition, but almost no side character in this book had a soul. They was very little characterisation possible because on every oage their was a new character who has to be introduced and full characterizeed on one page because the next one was already coming on the following page...

And the characters were a big part of why I liked especially blood song in the first place. I felt such a deep connection to every brother, that I feared for their life during the trials and I wanted to know what is going to happen to them. There is no character in Queen of fire and not so many characters of tower lord that stirred my interest in that way.

What destroyed the book for me was when I realized that the focus on the huge cast and the absense of focus on the main characters has lead to a point, that when
Caenis died
I did not care at all. He was one of my favourites in the first book but I've become so indifferent for his faith that I did not matter what happend to him. If a song an Ice and Fire character dies, I'm literally sad. Even if something happens to Jorg Ancrath's lot (the broken empire) I feel sorry. But here I did not.

Talking about not caring. I did not care much for Vaeling either and think that the whole northern reaches part was a huge pile of cr*p. I dont think that it was even necessary for world building - it was just to fill some pages . Book 2 and 3 have been easily made in one solid book.

I was no big fan of the military part eithers - it kind of remembers me of a simple manga sctructure. Volarian army has already been special. There were the free swords, some weak fighters. Then their were the Varitai - better fighters. And finally the Kuritai: Masters in fighting. But that seems to be not enough. No. There has to bee a Super Sayajin LVL3 class called Aritai because our Goku (Vaelin, Frentis, Reva) can kill the Kuritai now too easily.

I'm no religious man but I think Vaelin turning down the faith felt wrong to me. I could be wrong on that because I did not reread the other books.

I liked some other parts, that in my opinion should have been filled with a litte more life for example the darkening of Lyrna and Alornis, or the Gladiator-Reva Part. I think there was more potential in this.


Journeyed there and back again
I liked Queen of Fire. It of course pales in comparison to Blood Song, and if Blood Song didn't exist, it would fare much better in reviews.

But I really posted this to share what I just found on Ryan's next series, The Draconis Memoria, and the first book in the series, The Waking Fire (he's already writing the second book in the series):

" The Waking Fire is set in a vibrant new world where the blood of drakes—creatures similar to dragons—is valued beyond reckoning, and can be distilled into elixirs that grant fearsome powers to those who are “blood-blessed.” The novel follows an unregistered blood-blessed as he searches for an elusive variety of drake so potent, its capture would mean unrivalled riches; the second in command of a blood-burning ironclad ship; and a young woman in a lifelong contract to a trading syndicate, whose espionage mission places her on the front lines of a newly declared war. As empires clash and arcane mysteries reveal themselves, these characters are tested again and again and soon discover that the fate of the world rests on their shoulders."




Hung out on a briar with Honorable Jorg
Whereas I would give Bloodsong and Tower Lord a 9 and a 8.5, respectively, I regrettably must give this book a flat 5/10. My criticisms mostly overlap with what most have said in this thread - too many characters we don't care about, Vaelin becomes lame, no explanation of powers (only one limitation for everyone- blood lost and drank), too much of a military fantasy with uber untouchable main characters, boring plot, feels like it goes from 1 battle to promotions handed out to another battle very little mystery or twists, etc.
I have a few specific opinions as to why this book failed so hard.
First, and most importantly, unlike Bloodsong and Tower Lord there was little to no character development in an interesting manner. I love all of Verniers sections in all 3, I loved Vaelins POVs in the first two books, and I actually did enjoy Lyrna in Tower Lord (never liked Reva too dues ex machina/stereotypical crisis of faith character. That said, Ryan doesn't spend pages in this book on the four-seven main-ish characters from the first two. Very little of the Queen of Fire is devoted to explaining inner thoughts, adding twists to characters motivations and actions, or even adding new POVs (ok so Ilucius had a short pop which I actually did enjoy), and instead he adds more and more random secondary characters and has our main characters interact with them in predictable/cliche ways. He then attempts to create drama by having these random/new characters die, display heroism, struggle physically or mentally etc., but since they are just thrown in not a single f#%€ is given.
Second, let it be said that I'm all for having female characters fight and be warriors/heroes/bad assess: Shallan from WOR is probably one of my favorite POVs in any fantasy. However, when every single female character met in this third Ravens shadow book all of the sudden, after a life devoid of any violence martial training or hardship, becomes a killing machine easily able to dispatch dozens of huge slave warriors trained from birth, I really start to groan. It seems forced, it's simply physically unrealistic, and comes off as as perhaps an overcompensation for some male gaze issues the author has? I dunno, but it was flat out odd. I literally wanted to kill myself every time Lyrna talked about one of her "Queens Daggers" covered in enemy blood, described her one of her handmaidens cutting down 3 Curitai, or herself hitting a volarian in the jugular with her throwing knife every single time 5000 times in a row.
Third, the action, dialogue, and world building all seemed cookie cutter and devoid of interest or meaning. Poor descriptions in action scenes and not enough suspense, no mystery to the world (besides who the ally is), no development or exceptions in the magic system, and cliche honorable heroes opposing insanely vile villains both with straightforward motivations. Also there weren't any interesting plot twists or betrayals. The relationship between Frentis and the Lady was amusing and conflicted for a while, but developed very little and only in expected ways. Lyrna just universally praised her followers, pined over Vaelin, and handed out titles and promotions 90% of which I can't remember. Vaelin was just his usual honorable self, never was really conflicted or town only confused, and didn't really do much for 80% of the book other than walk through snow. Reva was pure Mary Sue other than the random fact that she's lesbian.

Overall a huge failure, I didn't have a problem with the actual content of the conclusion; by then I didn't expect much. I absolutely loved everything in the first two books of this series other than Reva, but Queen of Fire read like a freaking terry goodkind novel (ok maybe a bit better language than that, but still). I hope he does better in the future.
I was surprised by this book. I started the trilogy after the bad reviews started and I was waiting for the thing to fall apart. It never did. I understand many of the problems others have mentioned but I guess I was able to enjoy it where others couldn't. I was sufficiently immersed in the story for the aspects I enjoyed to overshadow the aspects I didn't. Whatever the case, I enjoyed it.

Queen of Fire - 7/10