Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Book: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass 
Publication Date: August 7th, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Rating: 4 Stars

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 four  years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. 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.
Not a bad book to pick to bring me out of my fantasy drought. I've been a frequent FictionPress member, and I remember finding out about all the people raving over Queen of Glass, which was the original title of this novel. Imagine my disappointment to find out that it was removed, and then imagine my excitement to find out that it was slotted for publication. I was pretty darned excited for this book because assassins. Killing! Blood! I love killing. And blood. I guess you can't really have one without the other.

Anyhow, I'll come right out and say it: this book does have problems. It has problems with world-building, and it has problems in the way that Celaena is touted as a world-famous assassin when she never actually assassinates anyone. She just threatens to rip out eyeballs and cut heads off. Which is not bad, but I would've liked a better demonstration of her abilities. There's also the love triangle. I don't have too big of a problem with love triangles; unlike many others, I'm actually waiting for a love triangle that will actually fulfill the purpose of a love triangle, as in it is an equilateral love triangle. Not a scalene or isosceles one. Not a Twilight-esque one where everyone knows who the main character's going to end up getting married and having half-vampire babies with. Throne of Glass nearly accomplished that because I'm really uncertain whom Celaena is going to end up with. The tests themselves aren't very important to the rest of the story, even though they seem to be emphasized in the book summary. There are nebulous references to Celaena's past and the formation of the kingdom of Erilea, but not enough to really form a cohesive other world.

However, I still gave this book four stars. When I was a sad little surfer on FictionPress, looking for stories that didn't mix up your and you're or alternate between first and second person, I would've gotten through this story in a day. It has a fascinating premise, some creative ideas, a heroine who isn't a simpering whiner, and court intrigue. But given all the books I've had exposure to, this isn't anything special anymore. But it kept me interested, and I didn't really notice the flaws until I put it down when I was done and thought about it. The last scene in the end when Celaena is fighting Cain, I was hopping up and down in the middle of Spanish class. And we were about to take a quiz. But I think that Maas does a good job with the action, and I didn't have a hard time visualizing what was happening. I also liked the descriptions of Celaena with her dresses and primping, though it got a bit too frivolous sometimes.

What I really enjoyed was the relationship between Celaena and Chaol. I never liked Dorian very much because although he did have ulterior motives besides playing lapdog to the king, he still seemed too much like a jaded pretty boy. Their interactions were more spurred by physical attraction than anything else. Celaena and Chaol, on the other hand, verbally spar. But when it's important, they have an understanding of each other that goes deeper. I hope we get more than just a couple glimpses of that in the next book. In conclusion, I liked the book. I like any books that manages to keep my interest. It's only when I write this review that I really acknowledge what it was lacking. On a happier note, my thirst for YA fantasy novels has been awoken again! I'll quench it once I finish the other five books I'm reading...
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