Thursday, March 5, 2015

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass #1
Published May 7, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Children's
Paperback, 404 pages
Borrowed from library

In a magical land far far away named Erilea, there lives a young assassin named Celaena Sardothien. Locked up in a prison where she's forced to mine salt, Celaena hasn't seen the outside world in a year and she's sorta accepted that this will be her life. Until the dashing Crown Prince of Adarlan swoops in and claims her as his representative for a competition being held at the King's palace. Twenty three people from all background, trained to beat, hit and kill, representing twenty three different palace officials gather together and Celaena is one of them. If she can beat all twenty two of her opponents in a battle of strength, speed and wit, she'll gain her freedom from her miserable prison and be named the King's official Champion. But will she win?

My first thought: I can't believe it took me this long to read Throne of Glass. I first learned about this book TWO YEARS AGO. I remember because I hadn't been blogging then and remember seeing ARCs of this book being distributed and bloggers RAVING ABOUT IT. Now, here we are, three years later and I've only just finished the first book. Tell me who else is better at being slow to the game than I am. (The answer is no one.)

Throne of Glass had an illustrated map!
This is pretty irrelevant to a book review, I know but guys! Maps are so exciting! I love it when books have maps, especially fantasy novels. Like I mean, you can not have one but it's just so much more fun when you do and so much more convenient for the reader because then they have a sense of what the world is SUPPOSED to look like instead of creating their own version from scratch. For me, this helps IMMENSELY. I can't tell you how many times I flipped to the map while reading to help me gain a better understanding of the world.

I loved Sarah J. Maas' writing.
I don't know what it was but damn did that third person work for me. And usually third person really really does not work for me unless it's Harry Potter but I so enjoyed it in this book! I honestly think it would have been weird if I were directly in Celaena's head so this way worked much better for me. I was still able to get a really good idea of who Celaena was as a character and I was still able to get really invested with the story. At first, seeing how long it was and seeing how tiny the font was, I was a little intimidated but there was something about Sarah J. Maas' writing that just worked so well for me. I ripped through the pages. Like I could not stop reading. I read everywhere I could just because I was so obsessed with the story. So Sarah J. Maas, if you're reading this (which would be totally cool if she was), YOU ARE A DAMN GOOD STORYTELLER. 

Celaena was an interesting main character.
I liked her a lot. But I also thought she wasn't really as kickass as everyone was making her out to be. Throughout Throne of Glass, it was very easy for me to forget her background as an assassin. The only scenes that really made that clear were the scenes in which she spent kicking ass (literally) out of all her opponents. Apart from that, there was very little I felt really indicated she was an assassin. Her manner didn't seem at all like a girl who killed people for a living. I felt more like I was being told she was an assassin rather than me actually believing that through what she said and what she did and what she thought. But nonetheless I still found Celaena an incredibly interesting character. Like hey I'd rather you not be an assassin anyway if we're going to be best friends and talk about dresses and eat candy and swoon over Chaol. Because fancy imagining your best friend beheading random dudes in her past? No thanks. But I digress. The point of this is not to talk about my blossoming friendship with Celaena, the point of this is to say she's a really interesting character with qualities I can so admire (although she doesn't always come off as an assassin to me) so READ THIS BOOK if you want interesting female character!!

I got The Diviners and Shadow and Bone and The Winner's Curse flashbacks.
And also The Hunger Games. It was weird reading Throne of Glass for me because I was just constantly reminded by so many other books. The Diviners for all the strange, supernatural killings. Shadow and Bone because of the palace setting and the interaction with ROYALS. The Winner's Curse because Chaol and Celaena very much equals Arin and Kestrel in my mind. And The Hunger Games because of the whole competition thingy. Now I don't think this is a bad thing nor do I think this is a good thing. I think it's just a thing, you know? Like it just was for me and it didn't impact my enjoyment in any way but it's interesting to note, for me anyway because it sorta brought together all my favourite parts of these books in a really interesting way.

There was very little dialogue in some parts.
Okay so this sorta bugged me. I don't know if it was just in this particular book that I noticed how little dialogue there was or if it really was that Throne of Glass had an extremely little amount of dialogue and I guess if it's not necessary, then it'd be better not to include it but I felt like I was just being told a lot of stuff and I didn't actually get to see that in play. Like I was told about how Dorian and Celaena adopted an alligator (which is just an example, totally did not happen) but I didn't actually get to see that myself through their dialogue. If that makes any sense? I don't know... I just like it a lot when there's interesting and witty dialogue in a book and I felt that there was a real lack of it in this book whether there really was or I was just hallucinating and making stuff up.

Throne of Glass made me fall in love with fantasy again.
This is going to be the one thing Throne of Glass will be remembered for for me: bringing back my love of fantasy. I'm a mostly contemporary reader nowadays but way back when I was in love with fantasy. It was the only thing I liked to read (the Septimus Heap series anybody?) and when I still wanted to be a writer, the only genre I'd write. I was obsessed with the idea of magic and wizards and dragons. But somewhere through the years, that just stopped? It wasn't like I started hating fantasy, I just stopped reading it so much and slowly turned to contemporary instead. But with Throne of Glass, I've been reminded all over again of why I used to love fantasy so much and how I need to read more of it! I've always enjoyed the fantasy novels I've read in the past (like The Winner's Curse and Tiger Lily) but I never felt the rush I did when reading Throne of Glass. The rush of "oh yeah I remember why I loved fantasy now".

TEAM CHAOL ALL THE WAY but Dorian is okay too.
You didn't think I could end this review without talking about this, did you? Okay so obviously the boys are a big part of this book and it was all I heard about before I started reading. I've seen a lot of Team Chaol people but I've also seen some Team Dorians and going into this book, I wasn't sure which side I'd fall in. Well, having read that book I can officially profess that I am Team Chaol (this has only been cemented after reading Crown of Midnight). Like I love Dorian with all my heart but I just feel like he and Celaena are so much better off as friends. Whereas Chaol and Celaena... oh my god MY HEART. 

So basically, WHY DID I TAKE SO LONG TO GET TO THIS BOOK? It wasn't a five star read for me but it was still pretty dang good. I was hooked from the very beginning and it was bad because I could not put the book down no matter where I was. I NEARLY MISSED MY STOP ON THE SUBWAY ONCE BECAUSE I WAS SO ENRAPTURED BY THE BOOK. I loved Celaena so much even though I was sorta unconvinced that she really was an assassin. I mean, obviously I KNEW that because I was told but I didn't actually get to see any evidence of it, you know? That's probably the only thing I'd say about this book besides the little dialogue and the ending which sorta lost me for a bit. But action scenes usually do lose me so no surprise there. Overall, solid read and I highly recommend this book to fantasy likers and haters alike!

people who enjoy high fantasy and books such as The Diviners, Shadow and Bone, The Winner's Curse and The Hunger Games (as Throne of Glass was like each of those books in a certain way). If you want an addictive book, pick this up! And if you want a lovable female main character, Throne of Glass might also be for you!


Asti @ Oh, The Books! gives it 4 stars: "There was enough action, romance, and mystery to keep me entertained. And I feel like as a first book it wrapped up well by ending one segment of Calaena’s adventure and preparing us for a whole new one."

Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity gives it 2.5 stars: "All in all, I went in expecting this novel to be as amazing as everyone said it was. Of course, I try to go in with no expectation but when everyone around you is practically screaming about how fantastic a book is, it’s hard not to enter with some kind of expectation. Sadly, Throne of Glass didn’t live up to the hype that it has received."

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