Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass book coverThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Goodreads|Book Depository
Release Date: August 7th 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Series: Throne of Glass #1

Goodreads description: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 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.

I enjoyed Throne of Glass. When I was done reading, I wanted to know more about the world and characters. I wanted to go reread parts of it. It wasn’t perfect but I liked it. I do wish I’d known about the pronunciation guide on the author’s blog before I read it though!

Celaena is an infamous assassin; but she was betrayed and captured. She works and suffers in a prison work camp which is basically a death sentence. She’s a killer with honed skills and a lot of rage. So when Prince Dorian and his captain of the guard Chaol take her out of the camp with the chance to compete to become the king’s champion and win her freedom. The competition is against 23 other criminals and the winning might lead to freedom, but only after four years serving a tyrant king. A dangerous competition for a horrible job or the rest of her life in a harsh work camp–it isn’t a difficult decision.

Leading ladies always face intense judgment. I was all over the place with how I felt about Celaena. I always wanted her to win, but sometimes I found it difficult to like her. Her parents died when she was 8 and she became an apprentice to a merciless assassin. She’s tough and smart but still vulnerable. She loves pretty clothes, books and she plays piano. However, she’s also very self-centered. I feel like she was always just short of stomping her foot like a little kid. I doubt she couldn’t get away with tantrums with her assassin teacher, but she had no issues acting like a child when things didn’t go her way. She could be really nice and thoughtful but she tested my patience.

There was a love triangle (which is never surprising in a YA book) but it didn’t bug me quite as much as usual. I did favor one over the other, but I actually liked both choices a lot. Prince Dorian was kind of cliché with his perfect everything and lady-killer swagger. He was obvious and could be obnoxious, but he didn’t agree with his father’s mistreatment of subjects. Chaol was more serious and reluctant to indulge in affection. He was more subtle and self-conscious. I liked that Dorian and Chaol were friends and seeing how jealousy affected that bond.  As the series goes on, I’ll be interested to see how the relationships develop and change.

I did have some issues with the POV changes. Sometimes the POV would be important and inform, but sometimes it seemed like they were pretty pointless. Some of the POVs (points of view?) seemed like they only existed to dote on Celaena. I know she was the main character and other characters had feelings for her, but it was too much for me. I was also kind of annoyed with how similar the holidays were to real life holidays. It isn’t a big deal but Samhuinn and Yulemas are pretty similar to Samhain/Halloween and Christmas. A whole world was created but the holidays weren’t very original. There were some things I’ll leave out for spoiler reasons.

Despite my complaints, I still enjoyed the book. It has forbidden magic, a forgotten past, strange creatures, and danger lurking everywhere. I loved the mystery behind the competition and the stirrings of a rebellion. Plus it has  great romance and secret passageways, what more could one ask for? I’ll be excited to read the next in the series!

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