Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Pages: 404
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: August 7, 2012
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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 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."
Celaena is a famous assassin, but was caught and is serving time in a slave labor prison. She probably should have died there years ago as the conditions are horrid, but Calaena is a survivor and isn't your average teenager.  After some time at the prison, the prince comes to see her and makes her an offer. He wants to sponsor her in a competition with other criminals, all competing to be the King's Champion, which is pretty much a euphemism for his assassin. After serving the king for a few years, the winner will then earn his or her freedom.  She agrees, despite the fact that it is the king that sentenced her to the slave labor prison, and returns with Prince Dorian to the castle and starts training as his candidate for champion.  If she loses, she returns to the prison, but it is worth it to at least try, right? Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass is one of the best fantasies I've read in a long time. It combines aspects of Graceling, Hunger Games and even Tolkien.  I can't say enough good things about this book.

Calaena is such a fantastic heroine in Throne of Glass. Seriously. I loved her!  She is so fierce, so tough and such a kick-butt female. But there's more to her than just being a famous assassin. She has a mysterious familial background and I was dying to learn more how she became known as the best assassin. I also wondered what happened to her family?  Calaena is also a typical teenager in that she is trying to navigate friendships at the castle, trying to figure out her feelings towards Dorian as well as her trainer and of course, she is also interested in dresses, books, parties, etc. She felt like a really well-rounded character to me and not just a killer.

At first, I was greatly intrigued by Prince Dorian in Throne of Glass. I mean what isn't to love? But the more I got to know him, the more I felt luke-warm about him, especially after we learn more about Chaol, her trainer and captain of the guards.  I was rooting for these two despite their rocky start. He definitely was my kind of guy and I thought he was more genuine as the story went on. 

The fantasy and the magic in Throne of Glass was outstanding. There's hidden passages, a glass castle, supernatural powers, and so much more. If you love fantasy, you won't be disappointed.

For me, the best part of Throne of Glass was the strong heroine and female lead. Calaena doesn't need a guy to save her. She doesn't need a guy to make decisions for her. She doesn't need a guy to protect her. Sure, a romance would be great, but it's all secondary and not her purpose for living. And this is much needed in young adult literature as far as I am concerned. In sum, Throne of Glass was refreshing and exciting. I'm dying to get my hands on a copy of book two, Crown of Midnight, which is out now. 


6 comments:

  1. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!! I'm so glad you're a fan of this series now Christina! WOO HOO! I couldn't love Celaena any more if I tried, so I can't wait for your thoughts on Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire. I think the books just keep getting better as they go:)

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    1. I don't know why I waited so long to read it. It's SO good. I am glad to hear the books get better and better…can't wait to read them all! Thanks for visiting, Jenny!

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  2. I think I'm one of the minority who didn't quite enjoy this series. I had a tough time liking Caelena, to be honest. I also got tired of all the talks about gowns and such. :/ It just wasn't for me.

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    1. I'm sorry you didn't like this book. That's a bummer. I felt like Caelena did make some comments about dresses, but mostly she was a kick-butt female, so it didn't bother me too much. Sorry it didn't work for you, but thanks for visiting!

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  3. I never finished this one. I think I had issues with it because I read the prequel novellas first and I really liked them and how she grew as a character but then when I started this one I felt like we were back at square one. Maybe I should have given the book more of a chance since you loved it so much. I will have to see if I still have the ARC or maybe I can check it out from the library later this year. I know a lot of people loved it.

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  4. Glad you enjoyed this one! I was stuck in the middle with TOG (if only because Celaena's progress in the novellas seemed to disappear), but the sequel won me back over as a fan.

    Just wait until you start CROWN OF MIDNIGHT - Calaena becomes even more fierce, the story gets even more fascinating (and slightly more heartbreaking)!

    Fabulous review :)

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