Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass #1
Published August 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
 **A review copy was provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.**

Wow - just...wow!  So Throne of Glass had been sitting up on the top of my wishlist since before it's release and as always, when I get ready to read a highly-anticipated book, I was worried that it wouldn't live up to the hype.  For, about two seconds.  I'm exaggerating (a little), but in all honesty, within the first few chapters I was more invested in this story than even I was expecting!  This was a richly-woven tale of epic proportions that had me hooked right away and never let go.

Throne of Glass tells the story of Celaena, an assassin trained by the most lethal man in existence since she was 8 years old.  Celaena is currently serving out a life-sentence in the worst kind of jail/labor camp imaginable when 2 strange men come calling with an offer: if she can survive and win a deadly competition with 23 other assassins, killers and thieves, she has a shot at winning her freedom.  Soon she's left the salt mines behind for the Glass Castle itself; home of the King of all the lands!  She has little time to adjust and begin training to win the competition before a mystery emerges; someone is killing off the other competitors one by one, and Celaena will be forced to try and figure out what is amiss in the Glass Castle...before it's too late.

Celaena is a character unlike any other I've read.  She's lethal, cunning, cocky, intelligent and angry. Her life, both prior to and during her imprisonment, have clearly left their mark on her.  I knew going in that a lot of fellow readers had some issues with her attitude and her behavior but I'll be honest: she drew me in from the first chapter and pretty soon I just had all kinds of love for her!  Her personality was just so strong, her confidence so unwavering - not traits often given to female characters but with Celaena, it just worked.  She could have come off as needlessly arrogant, but to me it was clearly a defense mechanism, she did what she had to do to survive.  Anyways she soon starts displaying her full-on kick-ass qualities as proof of her bad-assitude.  That being said,she also had well-hidden vulnerabilities which as a reader we are privy to and helped make her relatable and more human.

"The leaves dangled like jewels - tiny droplets of ruby, pearl, topaz, amethyst, emerald and garnet; and a carpet if such riches coated the forest floor around them."

The intrigue was just sky-high in Throne of Glass and it remained solid throughout. So many elements that I loved were in play here and it all just came together brilliantly.  It's almost hard to fit this book into one category: it's an adventure and a mystery all at once set in a historical-esque world with fantasy, paranormal and romantic elements lightly sprinkled in for good measure.  It also has it fair share or creepiness and gore which I wasn't expecting but worked perfectly with the kind of story being told.  The mythology within the story was perfectly mysterious and it added a whole other layer to this already impressive world.  Somehow all these elements instantly mesh together beautifully and certainly stands as a testament to author Sarah J. Maas'  mad storytelling skills.  The writing style was, like the characters and the world they live in:  indescribably addictive with plenty of breathtaking passages along the way where the words seemed to leap of the pages and paint a living picture in my mind's eye as I was reading.  I just couldn't get enough!

The pacing was tight from start to finish and perfectly balanced the intense action and training with Celaena's down time, which she divided up nicely by reading (win!), exploring the Glass Castle and making a select few friends, all of whom I enjoyed just as much as the MC.  Princess Nehemia was a fantastic addition and I looked forward to seeing hers and Celaena's friendship develop, especially since it seemed pretty clear that Celaena could do with a girlfriend. Other then the Princess, the crown Prince Dorian and the Captain of the Guard Chaol take up the most of our beloved Assassin's time.  I won't go into more detail here in case of possible spoilers but I will say this: the romance in Throne of Glass was a slow burn and to me, it always stayed secondary to the plot and main-character story-arc.  There is a budding love-triangle but this is one of those rare occasions where it actually works with the story instead of being a hindrance.  Both men are exceedingly appealing in their own very different ways - though my heart already belongs to Chaol ♥

"Libraries were full of ideas - perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons."

Finally, I loved that for a medieval-feeling world, Throne of Glass had a definite feminist vibe.  In this world, they worship a Goddess over all else, and the Goddess has other lesser Gods at her service.  Add in an MC who is female who more than holds her own against any man she faces, in battle or otherwise who also pulls off almost obscene amount of swagger... and yeah, this book is pretty much made of win.

Bottom line? Throne of Glass was a perfect mix of action, suspense, world-building, character-building and romance with truly lovely prose, rich with vivid imagery.  Everything worked for me in this one and I can't wait to jump right into Crown of Midnight...which I plan to do right now!

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

12 comments:

  1. I've had my eye on this one forever. Really need to pick it up, love that there is a strong female presence. Lovely review, Lady!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so glad you liked it!! I love this book, and Crown of Midnight was just as good!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so glad you loved it so much!! And Crown of Midnight is even better! I also thought all the elements blended very nicely and hte world building was just amazing ^^
    I agree, the love triangle of sorts actually works here and both guys fit certain aspect of Caelena! I had a hard time deciding who I liked more...
    Awesome review, hun :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love that quote about libraries being full of ideas; it's one of my faves from the book! I also loved how Celaena and Nehemia became friends. And Chaol- aaahhhh. I do love Dorian, too, but Chaol won my heart over toward the end of the novel. Fabulous review! :D

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh yay - I'm so happy you liked Celaena! I was pretty fond of her and was a bit saddened that not everyone felt the same way. And yes, she's incredibly arrogant. But my thoughts align exactly with yours. I loved her because she's not the character you usually see in YA, and I loved that she was still clearly vulnerable and loyal and friendly underneath the arrogance. And Chaol!! Glad to hear he's your favourite, too. Your description of this book is so well said - I still remember how incredibly addictive and intriguing it was. But I still think I'll want to reread this sometime before diving into Crown of Midnight (which I'm really excited for and I hope you're enjoying!). Such a great review, btw!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm just now reading this one too! I'm about 1/4 of the way through. The first competitor has been murdered. This book is awesome. I'm totally having a hard time putting it down each night. Your review is fantastic. It touches on all the intrigue about the book without spoilers. I totally appreciate your dissection of the MC too, I agree on all accounts. She's definitely for me a very relatable and likable character. I'm so appreciative that she reads, too!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great review! I really loved this book and its sequel. The characters and the fantasy world were awesome and the mystery drew me right in. PS: I love Chaol too:)

    Eveline's Books

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yay I figured you would really like this one from the reviews I've seen. Fantasy like this is a hit or miss for me but it does sound like it could be a winner! I especially love how awesomeballs Celaena sounds! definitely my kind of MC! I also love that there's mythology, paranormal, and all those mix of genres in it too that can make a plot really cool (when done right, not like in Frozen which is TERRIBLE!!). Anyways, great review, chickie!

    ReplyDelete
  9. hahaha, so glad you enjoyed it, sweetheart! Awesome review, well deserved because it was one of the best reads for me in 2012 too. Hope you enjoy book 2 as well.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can't wait to get my hands on this! Excellent review, but I'm still going to try to not be too excited when I read it... always afraid I'll be disappointed, just like you.

    Have a great day :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love Celaena :D I'm happy you loved it as much as I did!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great review!
    I agree, there are so many genres but it works together well. It's something I didn't expect but loved it. I was worried I might not like the book as well, due to the hype, but I was glad I was wrong.
    I didn't like Celaena at first, but that was in the novellas. First one portrays her like a snotty bitch and I am so glad she turned around. I love her now. :)
    And I totally agree with the love story; it's great! I can even stomach the love triangle here, hahaha! :) And I see you love Chaol more as well; he's my champion too. ^^ :)

    ReplyDelete

I LOVE comments & do my best to return every one a.s.a.p. ♥
This blog is an award-free zone. I appreciate the thought but I can't invest the time needed.