Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

13 Sep

Book cover for Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass, #1

Genre: Fantasy YA

Amazon | Goodreads

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Release date: August 7, 2012

Challenge: DAC

Source: ARC from BEA

Summary: 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.

The buzz for this debut from Sarah J. Maas has been pretty deafening, guys. THRONE OF GLASS is the beginning of a brand new YA fantasy series about a young girl assassin/criminal who gets caught up not only in a competition of assassins for the king she hates, but also between two young men (one of whom I greatly prefer over the other. But more on that in a sec). If you can pick out all of the awesome things in that sentence, you have an idea how thoroughly enjoyable a debut THRONE OF GLASS is. As with debuts, though, there were things that I’m hoping will be a little bit better in future installments. Which, of course, I will be reading like WHOA.

So THRONE OF GLASS is about a kick-ass young lady named Celaena Sardothien, formerly the greatest assassin in the land who was caught and imprisoned by the current king in the brutal salt mines. When he calls for a competition to crown the King’s Champion (read: assassin), the Crown Prince Dorian chooses Celaena as his entrant to sponsor, and he and his captain of the guard, Chaol Westfall, go to retrieve her. The competition between all kinds of unsavory sorts takes a turn for the gruesome when contestants start dropping dead in really bloody ways all over the place. So there’s drama from that. Plus, there’s romancey drama between Celaena and the two guys–Dorian and Chaol. There’s some political shenanigans, as well as a pretty big paranormal twist that I’m not going to divulge. Sarah J. Maas packs in the action and drama, friends. And also the complicated emotions of a trio of young adults.

One of the things that I liked the most about this book–even though it took me a little bit to warm up to it–was Celaena herself. What did I love? Well, she’s a badass. This has been established, and is always a good thing. She’s smart, brave, skilled, and a deadly MF. She spends LOTS of her time reading books, and I can tell is one of those characters who knows when and how to play things to their advantage. Calculating. That’s a good word. Also, I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that she wasn’t a tomboy. She loves getting dressed up and looking fly for big fancy parties. I love that she makes a point of showing readers that you can be tough and active without forgoing girly things. However. I found Celaena a bit abrasive and arrogant. Granted, she’s had an incredibly difficult life and, at the start of THRONE OF GLASS, she’s dealing not only with the effects of her imprisonment, but also the death of a good friend. Still. There were times when her personality grated me.

One thing that grated me more often than not was Celaena’s relationship with Prince Dorian. Don’t get me wrong: I like him. I think he’s a good character. His dad is gnarly and vicious and greedy for more land, and Dorian chafes under his father’s rule. He’s also a great flirt, and likes to log some serious time in the smoosh room, if I recall correctly. And listen, that’s great for him. I appreciated a sexually active character. But something about his feelings for Celaena, and hers for him, felt rushed and a little cliched to me. I know that lots of people read this book and were legit torn about the love interests, but I’m not so much. I just wasn’t feeling them together. This is partly because I think Chaol, the captain of the guard, is smoldery and swoony and mysterious and, I think, better suited for Celaena. It’s clear that Celaena feels SOMETHING for him and he for her. I’m ready for that to happen, please, Sarah. Plus, he’s a great character. Conflicted and mistrusting of Celaena at first, it’s clear that he’s going to be broody and emo about getting with her when he knows the prince–his good friend–got there first. But honestly? That’s some sloppy seconds I would totally get behind. #TeamChaol.

Overall, though, THRONE OF GLASS was a really enjoyable debut. There are hints of magic in this world that I’m hoping we get more information about in the future, and Celaena still has some secrets up her sleeve relating to that. Plus there’s a war on in this world, and I know that the political scheming is going to ramp up because, well, IT MUST. Sarah J. Maas really created an interesting world with great characters who still have lots to share. A very, very good debut.


4 Responses to “Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas”

  1. Brittany September 13, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    I actually really love the hesitation and a little bit of criticism in your review! I’ve seen SO many reviews that just absolutely adore this book and I just picked it up from the library so as always, I’m afraid I won’t like it as much as everyone else does. This kind of pulled me back down to earth to read it normally and maybe lower my expectations just a little bit. When I go into books with my expectations way too high, I usually end up being disappointed. So thanks for keeping me grounded! 🙂 Love the honesty of your review!

  2. Bookworm1858 September 13, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    I didn’t really like either love interest (or Celaena) for the most part but I would have to agree with you about picking Chaol, if I’m forced to.

  3. Quinn September 13, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    I haven’t read Throne of Glass yet, but I do have it checked out from the library. I’m not really sure it is a book for me; I have a hard time getting into high fantasy novels. But I’ve heard mostly wonderful things about it, so I borrowed it from the library.

    A girl who comes into the library where I work was definitely Team Captain of the Guard, too! I bet I would be as well. Another reason I’m hesitant to read this is that I think there is a love triangle, and I really dislike them.

    Thanks for the review 🙂 I think I will push this down my list a bit. I just don’t know if it is for me.

  4. Alexa Loves Books (@alexalovesbooks) September 15, 2012 at 2:24 am #

    TEAM CHAOL FOREVER, HEY! *fist bump* I obviously LOVE the Captain of the Guard – he’s definitely the better man for her in my opinion!

    I’m glad you liked Throne of Glass! I loved the story, loved the concept and loved the little details that require more explanation in the next book – and I can’t wait to read it!

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