Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Paperback, 416 pages
Expected Publication: 2nd August 2012 by Bloomsbury
Expected Publication: 2nd August 2012 by Bloomsbury
read-in-2012, really-good, series-or-companions,
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Celaena Sardothien is a daredevil assassin with unrivalled fighting skills. After a year’s hard labour in the salt mines of the kingdom of Adarlan, Celaena is offered her freedom on one condition—she must fight as handsome Prince Dorian’s champion in a contest sponsored by the king, facing the deadliest thieves and assassins in the land in a series of set-piece battles in the country’s stunning glass palace. But there is more at stake than even her life—for Celaena is destined for a remarkable future...
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My thanks go to Bloomsbury for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
To be honest, I hadn't really heard of this book until I was asked if I'd like to review it. After a quick search around the internet, it was crystal clear that this was one of the books to get excited about, so I jumped at the chance! As you'll all know by now, I'm intimidated by high fantasy, but I've been stepping out of my reading comfort zone a lot this year and so I gave this a go.
As expected, I did find the book a little difficult at first. The book is quite different to what I've read before in terms of both ideas and setting, so it did take me some time to adjust. Thankfully, it didn't take too long to get into it and despite still remaining a little confused, it wasn't overwhelming. This isn't a simple story where everything is given to you on a plate - there are lots of little clues scattered throughout the story, so it's important to try and concentrate on everything. The only thing I can really compare it to is the way that J.K. Rowling has a meaning and story behind everything - there were actually a few things that reminded me of the Harry Potter series throughout, and I can't complain about that! Maas has crafted her story with great intelligence and thought. Mass has immense potential to make this into an even more complex story as she continues the series.
Throne of Glass focuses on Celeana Sardothien's attempt to become the King's Champion, by fighting in a tournament in order to be named as the one who protects the King and carries out various 'tasks' for him for four years, after which, she will be granted freedom. There is a lot of mystery throughout and also quite a bit of action, but the real action occurs near the end, where we see Celeana actually battle the other contestants. It does sound a similar idea to The Hunger Games and it did remind me of it very slightly, but no complaints there as the story in general is very different. The fight scenes were slightly more gruesome than I thought they'd be, but in the best possible way - it felt as though nothing was being held back. Celeana also has some important dreams and hallucinations which are written very well.
The characters were interesting. I liked Celeana, our main kick-ass character, who was witty and had a confident attitude. We don't really know much about her at the beginning apart from that she was the assassin of Adarlan, sent to the country's salt mines to work as a slave. I wasn't completely blown away by her, but she wasn't a bad character in the slightest - I just wanted something a little more unique. I did like that her femininity did show in the story, whilst she was still a fierce character. I absolutely loved the UK cover for this book, but after reading it, I feel as though the US cover is slightly more fitting - it reminds me that Celeana is in fact just meant to be a young girl.
I think that 'romance' in the book was the one thing that made me a bit hesitant about the characters. The obvious love-triangle is sort of introduced, but I was grateful that it certainly wasn't the focus of the book. There was an underlying and quite subtle romantic theme which did work as it was, but it will be interesting to see how it progresses in the next books. I really liked Captain Chaol Westfall and despite his somewhat promiscuous reputation, I thought Prince Dorian wasn't bad either - I did grow to like him, especially once I learnt about his vast collection of books. I do find myself rooting for a certain character, Chaol, and I think it is going to be very interesting to learn more about him, especially after his actions in this book.
Of course, there are a multitude of other characters that we are introduced to - including the charming Princess Nehemia and the wicked Lady Kaltain. There is a whole load of people and just things in general that I could mention - I could keep on typing for days! This book just feels so 'full' and the length is certainly justified. Maas has obviously done her best at creating the world inside the palace and she has done it brilliantly - I would just like to discover more about what's happening/has happened outside too. I never thought I'd get through a 400+ page high fantasy book, but I have been impressed. The writing and depth in Throne of Glass was superb, and I'll be looking forward to reading more of this series.