Thursday, August 29, 2013
Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
My Rating: 5 out of 5
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.
Throne of Glass is centered around a competition of 23 people to be the king's assassin. Forced out of slavery, Celaena has made herself a deal with the prince that if she wins the king's championship, she can be free of imprisonment in four years. Every few days, Celaena and the other champions compete against each other in a challenge, eliminating the weakest player. The final four must compete in a duel to be the king's champion. (This sort of reminded me of The Hunger Games). We see many fight scenes and action through out the book. There was even a tremendous amount of flirting, although not much romance. The world building was well described, taking place in the king's frightening palaces.
As I was reading this enchanting book, the author spoke of Faeries and magic! It was an unexpected surprise that she incorporated into the story. There was also some kind of gruesome monsters that played a huge part of the book. The monsters that were killing the champions gave me the utter creeps. The mystery of the murders, plus the magic of the Wyrdmarks and faeries intertwine together suggest that they are cause of the same problem. It does not dwell too much on the faeries, though I suspect there will be more mention of them in the coming books. I also figured out early on who was controlling the monsters, but that did not disappoint me in the least.
I loved Celaena as the main character! She is supposed to be the tough as nails, lean mean killing machine. She is known in her world as the deadliest assassin. Yes, she was scary and intimidating, but she had another side to her. Through that hard-shelled exterior, Celaena had a feminine and genuine personality. I appreciated that she made some special friendships with Nehemia and Nox. They helped bring out the more sentimental side in Celaena. It also gave her the ability to open up and trust others again. My heart hurt for her through all the hardships she had to endure, both during her past and her present. I'm surprised she did not break. Instead she had the will power to never give up, always fighting for her freedom. What I loved most about Celaena was her snarky, sarcastic banter. She can really talk the talk with her witty sense of humor, especially between Chaol and Dorian.
The other main characters, Prince Dorian and Chaol were fantastic! I loved how Dorian came off as this arrogant, pompous prince, when deep down he is a smart, charming, and sympathetic person. I totally was not expecting that from his character. I thought he was going to be this spoiled know-it-all prince, but I am so glad he is not. He even loves to read! Talk about a swoon-worthy character! Aside from his good looks and smarts, I loved his comedic, flirting with Celaena. The chemistry between them just clicked. He grew to love her, feeling her pain that his own father put upon her.
Chaol on the other hand is more closed and suspicious. He is Celaena's guard, plus her coach for the competition. He is a guarded, brooding, handsome man. Slowly, he lets his guard down, seeing the fragility that Celaena hides. This leads to Chaol developing feelings for her, yet he does not show it. There is potential for a love triangle, but for now, I do not see Chaol and Celaena as a couple. We will see in Crown of Midnight.
The secondary characters, Nehemia and Nox were great as well. The friendship Celaena developed with Nox was cute. It was enjoyable to see that not every competitor hated her, thinking she was a nobody. Nox saw her as an equal champion. He even admired her being a bad ass assassin. I hope he comes back later in this series.
The most beautiful, authentic friendship I ever read was between Celaena and Nehemia. They both are coming from horrible places, trying to find their own freedoms from the evil king. They had the same commonalities and they both despised all the royal people. (They would speak another language just so no one would understand their sarcastic trash talking about everyone lol). Celaena and Nehemia grew to trust one another knowing there is an evil far greater than anyone on earth.
My only small gripe I may have had was that Celaena's abilities were not shown to its full potential. I wanted to see more fighting scenes between she and the other contenders. Instead, the monsters were killing all the contestants and that left Celaena only to battle with two men. She practiced with Chaol, beat up another champion, but it left me feeling a little deflated.
Bottom line is, would I recommend this book? Heck yeah! There's fighting, there's flirting, there's even some magic entwined in the story. Sarah Maas is officially one of my favorite authors! Thank you for reading my review!
"Names are not important. It's what lies inside of you that matters. I know what you went through in Endovier. I know what my people endure there, day after day. But you did not let the mines harden you; you did not let it shame your soul into cruelty. The princess traced a mark on her hand, her fingers pressing into Celaena's skin. You bear many names, and so I shall name you as well. Her hand rose to Celaena's forehead and she drew an invisible mark. I name you Elentiya. She kissed the assassin's brow. I give you this name to use with honor, to use when other names grow too heavy. I name you Elentiya, Spirit That Could Not Be Broken."
Pg 321 Nehemia is blessing Celaena