Sunday, September 16, 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Release date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley
Pages: 416
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository

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 exhilirating. 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.
 I've been quite excited for Throne of Glass for a good long while, and reasonably so. This is just the type of book I've always had the biggest weakness for, fantasy set in a medieval kind of time with a sprinkling of magic! Nothing gets better than that, and I just can't get enough of them, especially recently, though some have definitely been better than others. I believe that Throne of Glass is a solid addition to the ranks of YA fantasy, though certainly not the best I've read.

Throne of Glass had a wonderfully engaging and fast-paced plot. We're treated to lots of sword fights, palace intrigue, glittering balls, secret passages, and mystery. These were all fun parts of the story and a large part of what kept me reading. I was invested in solving the mystery of the palace killings and the results of the  competition of the champions. The book is over four hundred pages, but it definitely didn't feel that long.

Celaena is definitely not a simpering, cowering, helpless protagonist. She has a sharp comment for anyone who riles her up and can easily back up her words with actions. I never knew what she was going to say next. I also liked her grit. She doesn't back down, even when things are looking bad. It would be so easy to for an author to rely on someone else to swoop in and save her when the going gets tough at the end, but instead she grinds her teeth and gets through it. That is a much better character to me.

My complaints lie in the predictability of the plot and the love triangle. While I did think the plot was engaging, I figured it out way too quickly and could almost predict what was going to happen next. The love triangle felt forced, especially on the part of Prince Dorian. He didn't feel genuine in his affections, whereas Chaol seemed earnest. Honestly, I didn't feel like a love triangle was remotely necessary here.

Despite my complaints, I do feel that Throne of Glass was a good and entertaining read. I think there's some work to be done for the sequel, but there is quite a lot of potential for this series and I will definitely be looking forward to what happens next. I look forward to meeting Celaena again!

Risk a paper cut? This light fantasy will endear readers to Celaena and her plight, making them willing to risk her rapier wit, something much more intimidating than a measly paper cut.

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