11 April 2013

Sarah J Maas's Throne of Glass Review

What they say: After serving out a year of hard labour 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 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.

What I say: Throne of Glass is a YA fantasy novel that packs one hell of a punch (quite literally at times)! In Celaena, Sarah J Maas has invented a character who is a deliciously complex mixture of kick ass assassin and wounded teenager. I really enjoyed her determination and commitment when faced with extremely crappy situations.

Now on to the love story! I didn't read the early version of Throne of Glass in its Queen of Glass days on FictionPress (although I wish I did). I get the impression the characters may have been altered a lot in publication and the love story added. I don't mind a good love story, in fact I'm quite partial to them when they are truly relevant. I genuinely like both of Celaena's boys, although they do go from being extremely cautious of the infamous assassin to ogling her and being jealous fairly quickly. She must be one hell of a looker?!

Anyway...Prince Dorian and Celaena really compliment each other. I liked how they remind the other of the hard truth, whilst pushing their point (i.e. by annoying, insulting and flirting). The problem is that as Captain of the Guard, Chaol also compliments her and sacrificed a lot to be where he is (he gave up a title and everything). The difficult part for me was that I really wanted her to end up with Dorian, but I also liked Chaol. I'm not sure about the love story here because if it wasn't in the original when Chaol was a fairly different character then why is it here now? I imagine that we'll find out in the next book, but I don't buy Chaol as a viable choice for her, more of a good friend (if anybody knows where I can read the original draft please let me know).

I would have liked more info on how Celaena feels about being an assassin. Yes we know she hates the King and abhors the idea of killing for him, but she is the best killer and knows her job trade well. But I would have like more on any inner turmoil, guilt, sorrow, or even joy over all the lives she's taken. I also feel that this was be answered in the next instalment because of her reactions in the final few chapters.

I won't say too much about the plot because it's really worth your while reading the story yourself.Just bear in mind that although I've mentioned the love story, it is only a small part of the plot and is thankfully often sidelined by far greater story elements.

How often do you finish a book, satisfied with the ending only to discover the author has written or planned an unnecessary sequel? Well this wasn't one of them. I liked the book and enjoyed the ending but I can totally see the reason for a sequel and mostly importantly I REALLY wanted there to be one! The world Sarah J. Maas has created in Throne of Glass (and the accompanying novellas) is really interesting. One book would never have been enough. I cannot wait to see if Celaena can stop the King. Who can save the people and to find out more about the banned magic and missing Fae!

4 Stars in my Sky!

My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • "Besides you can take them off at the barracks. I'm sure everyone will be thrill to see you in your undergarments."
  • "Are you my present, or is there something in that basket at your feet?" she asked. "If you'd like to unwrap me [...] we still have an hour."
  • "You could rattle the scars," she whispered. "You could do anything, if only you dared."
  • "We all bear scars, Dorian. Mine just happen to be more visible than most."

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