Monday, December 3, 2012

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Do you like free books? Well, I'm giving away thirteen of them, including this one, in my HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY, open until December 6. Hurry!

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Rating: A polarizing read that will thrill some people (like me). Action, intrigue, a love triangle, and some seriously memorable characters.


After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. 

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Previously on Gillian and the Throne of Glass: While reading the prequel novellas, I met a kick ass assassin girl named Celaena Sardothien. She had mad martial arts skills, great taste in clothes, and I got to know every facet of her personality, but not her back story. I was introduced to a detailed fantasy world full of depth, mystery, blood, and corruption (heavy on the corruption). I fell in love with a boy named Sam and ended up seriously suffering for it (in a good way. Books that make you suffer the feels are the best kinds of books out there).

As I was reading Throne of Glass, I realized that this book was going to be very divisive. Some people were going to love it, others were not. I happen to be in the positive camp. I love high fantasy. I love watching authors of skill create worlds that don't really exist, and I really enjoyed Maas' Erilea, even if I found some slight flaws in it.

For all the blood and gore and pain of this novel, I really enjoyed it. Celaena is an immensely fun character to inhabit. She's brash, vain, easily angered, and obviously deadly, but I love her. She's polarizing, for sure. Some will want to smack her face. I wanted to hang out with her and talk smack about everybody else (and maybe pick up some self-defense tips). She's undergone some hellish trials and lives a very brutish existence, and yet I never felt distance from her.

And that's the key to really enjoying a high fantasy novel: the characters. Of course, it's great when they have interesting magical shenanigans, political intrigues, vicious monsters, and cruel kings, but if I don't latch onto the characters, none of it matters. And I loved the characters in Throne of Glass. They come close enough to being cliches to be fun, but somehow they're fleshed out just enough to feel original. The interpersonal relationships are well woven into the political messiness of the assassin competition. Captain Chaol Westfall of the Royal Guard, the guy assigned to train/guard/protect her (it's complicated) is honorable, complex, and all around wonderful. Prince Dorian is a handsome playboy prince who's more than what he seems whose banter with Celaena made me chuckle. He's not perfect. Some of his flaws rubbed me the wrong way, but at the end of the day I enjoyed spending time with him on the page.

I'm not someone who automatically hates love triangles. If you are, be warned there is a love triangle of sorts in this book, even if it's under-realized at the moment. But I have a feeling it will BOOM in the later books. (For the record, I am Team Chaol all the way).

The plot moves quickly. There were MYSTERIES and SHENANIGANS and creepy goings-on. There were rebels, evil dukes, and one awesome foreign princess. I found the competition pretty fascinating.

I can see why some have issues with this book. I read a review that referred to Celaena as "Assassin Barbie" and in some ways, that's pretty apt. Some won't like the love triangle or the pretty faces or how often someone describes Celaena as beautiful. The magic was a bit confusing at time, and we never really learned much about Celaena's past (though I have THEORIES that I just know will be right). But in this fantasy world, I thought that added to the fun.

Also, I did read the novellas, so I can't comment on what it was like to read this book without that prior knowledge, but I would serious recommend reading those first. Things are not explained in Throne of Glass, but you will understand them perfectly if you've read the prequels. You will burst into tears when you read the name Sam know Celaena much better, and the information holes with be mostly filled. Still, we know hardly anything about Celaena's life before she became an assassin, something I was hoping would be more addressed in this book.

But I loved this book. You may not have, but I hope most of you will, because I can't wait for the next one.

4 comments:

  1. I'm a very huge high fantasy lover like you. <3 Might I recommend FALLING KINGDOMS by Morgan Rhodes when it comes out mid-December? I gave it 4.5 stars and the review goes up the day before it comes out. LOVED it! <3 But it is also a very polarizing book, much like this one. I tend to be in the positive camp for most high fantasies though haha

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    1. I've already ordered FALLING KINGDOMS! Can't wait to read your review, not to mention the book itself. I love polarizing books. I love have strong OPINIONS on them!

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  2. Thanks for the note about the novellas. I just checked this out from the library, but I'll put it aside until I can get to those :)

    (Hopefully I'll be in the positive camp for this too)

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  3. I didn't know there were prequels!
    Thanks so much for the great review. I will definitely be checking out the novellas before I read my copy...
    which has been sitting on my shelf for way too long! I can't believe I haven't read it!

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