Friday, December 12, 2014

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Publication Date: August 2, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Pages: 404
Genre: High Fantasy
Synopsis: Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly.
Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted? 

Review:  Throne of Glass had a great premise.  Who doesn't want to read a book with a bad ass assassin as the main character in a competition to the death?  Add a tyrant king who wants to destroy all magic and a glass castle hiding dangerous secrets, it really didn't seem like it could be anything but perfect.  

But I found this book to be a little to much of this:

And not enough of this:

There was so much potential!  And yet Celaena didn't do too much assassinating, for supposedly being the deadliest assassin and all.  It was mentioned many times how she was such a feared and skilled assassin, and I expected more action.  But what I got was a long, almost tedious, competition, too much focus on dresses and balls, and another love triangle.  It was dressed up in glitter and bows rather than knives and blood.  

The writing was fine, nothing wrong there.  The plot, though, had some issues.  It was, unfortunately, rather predictable.  Maas tried to spin everything as complex and eerie, but I didn't quite buy it.  I guessed big reveals before I should have.  The world building was also lacking.  I got the gist of it, but was still slightly confused at some parts.  You are kept pretty much in the dark about the inner workings of the world.  I mentioned earlier how I expected it to be more cut throat.  The book focuses more on romance, though, than the suspense and action.  And there was yet another love triangle. Love triangles don't bother me if they are done well, but this one was irritating.  As much as I liked Chaol and Dorian, I didn't see the point of added romance in this book, and especially did not see why it had to be concentrated on so much.  

Despite the issues, I did like this book a lot.  When there was violence, it was well-written, and the magical aspects of the world really fascinated me.  The mysterious magic and ghosts are highly interesting.  The callousness and hidden intentions of the king are presented in such a way that leaves you dying to know more.  The setting was whimsical, but also dark and creepy.  A glass castle built around the old stone one?  Not to mention the secret passageways.  

Celeana Sardothien was bad ass, yes, but she was also vain and arrogant and down right annoying at points.  I like that she was an assassin and also quite feminine, as most books tend to take it one way or the other.  What I didn't like is how often she fawned over her looks or dresses or whether boys were paying her attention.  It was too much teenage girl stereotype for me.  But despite how I basically just tolerated Caleana for the first half of the book, near the end I did start to like her. Probably because she started acting like an actual assassin near the end.  What I liked most about her was how witty she was and how she liked books.  There is just something about reading about a character that also likes to read. 

Dorian and Chaol were the love interests, and I have to say I preferred Chaol.  He was less cocky and loud.  But both characters had their good qualities.  Dorian was sweet and flirtatious and funny, but he was also a coward.  He wouldn't dare stand up to his father, not for anything, and that made me lose respect for him as a strong character.  At first I thought Chaol was a judgmental jerk, but the more you got to see of him the better he was.  He was also the most realistic of the cast of characters. Nehemia, though, might win the prize as favorite.  She was the daughter of a king in a rival kingdom, and she was intelligent and strong and all around awesome.  I hope to see more of her in the sequel. 

While Throne of Glass was not without flaws, I found it witty, entertaining, and completely captivating, mostly for reasons unknown to me.  I was highly critical of this book, yes, but I also really enjoyed it.  It was a great story, even though it was lacking in action and world-building.  I hope it only gets better in the next book of the series.   

3.5 Keys

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