Monday, July 16, 2012

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Title:  Throne of Glass
Author:  Sarah J. Maas
Series:  1st book in the Throne of Glass series
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Publication Date:  August 7, 2012
Source:  Netgalley
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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 kings 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.

Sometimes, a book comes along that just blows you away.  Throne of Glass wasn’t that book for me.  But not for the reasons you might be thinking.  As soon as I read the synopsis for Throne of Glass, I knew I was going to love it.  So, no, it didn’t blow me away, but that’s only because I was expecting it to be awesome.  And I was not disappointed!

Throne of Glass touts a protagonist with a will of her own, who doesn’t bow to pressure easily and is quite the opposite of mousey, as so many heroines are wont to be.  Celaena is my favorite kind of heroine:  strong, resilient, and whip-smart.  But Celaena is also a bit of an opportunist, and I loved that about her.  Celaena’s an assassin; she doesn’t normally do things out of the kindness of her own heart, though there are moments where the reader gets a peek at what type of person she might have been, had she not been drafted as an assassin at an early age.  And not only is she a remarkably skilled fighter with an ultimately good heart, she’s also a book lover:

"She'd entered a city made entirely of leather and paper.  Celaena put a hand against her heart.  Escape routes be damned.  "I've never seen--how many volumes are there?"
Chaol shrugged.  "The last time anyone bothered to count, it was a million.  But that was two hundred years ago.  I'd say maybe more than that, especially given the legends that a second library lies deep beneath, in catacombs and tunnels."
"Over a million? A million books?"  Her heart leapt and danced, and she cracked a smile. "I'd die before I even got through half of that!"
"You like to read?"
She raised an eyebrow. "Don't you?" Not waiting for an answer, she moved farther into the library, the train of her gown sweeping across the floor. She neared a shelf and looked at the titles.  She recognized none of them.  – p. 50 of galley
The world of Throne of Glass is at once beautiful and ominous.  The author’s brilliant use of imagery to describe the setting left me at home in a world with stunning gowns, filthy mercenaries and an intimidating glass castle.  Celaena evaluates her surroundings as one might expect an assassin to, but it’s her reaction to the breath-taking scenery that makes the world come alive.
I enjoyed the third-person narrative, especially since it transitions to Prince Dorian’s perspective at the most opportune moments.  The reader even gets a glance at Captain Westfall’s inner-workings, which I very much appreciated.  Yes, there is the potential for a love triangle, but Maas handles it in such a way that it never truly feels as if Celaena is caught between the two men, who also happen to be best friends.  I adored the way Celaena and Dorian carried on with each other, but it was the quiet and respectful way Chaol and Celaena grew to care for each other that swayed my heart.  And while Dorian was very forth-coming with his feelings for Celaena, despite how impossible such a pairing would be, Chaol often denied his feelings, even to himself.  Does he do so to spare Dorian’s feelings?  Or is it because of who Celaena is that he will not allow himself a dalliance with her?  I have to admit I’m rather torn on this one.  To choose the obvious passion with Dorian or the hard-won and long-developed love of Chaol?
The contest to find the royal assassin was just as exciting as the romantic aspects of this novel.  And it upped the ante to include a murderer among the contestants.  Of course, our heroine takes it upon herself to discover the identity of the assailant, but she uncovers far more than just a murderer in her search.  I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting the direction the story took at this point, but I’m definitely intrigued to see where the author takes the story from here.
Throne of Glass will probably go down as my favorite debut of 2012, barring any surprise contenders in the next few months.  As soon as I finished this book, I wanted to read it again.  I guess it’s a good thing there are several prequel stories to be had!  This book is a perfect read for lovers of fantasy novels, but I think it has a little something for everyone.

She glared.  "I hate women like that.  They're so desperate for the attention of men that they'd willingly betray and harm members of their own sex.  And we claim men cannot think with their brains!  At least men are direct about it."  -- p. 68 of galley, when Celaena and Chaol observe Dorian with Lady Kaltain
"Good.  I thought so.  And what of the others? Any potential rivals?  Some of the champions have rather gruesome reputations."
"Everyone else looks pathetic," she lied.
The prince's smile grew.  "I bet they won't expect to be trounced by a beautiful lady."  -- p. 65 of galley, after Celaena first meets the king and the other contestants
Rating:  Photobucket

Book-A-Likes:  Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Graceling by Kristin Cashore


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I have a copy of this ARC in my hands right now and I can't wait to read it. I hope it's my favorite debut as well.

  2. Yay! I am so happy you enjoyed it! I looooovvveee this book!!! <3

  3. This book is EVERYWHERE! I feel so left out of the action lol. Awesome review

  4. Great review! I've heard only positive things for this book and it sounds so good! ) I'm so glad you enjoyed it and I've always been a little reluctant with third-person narratives but it still sounds really engaging and I hope I'll get the chance to read this soon! :)

    Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***

  5. Yay!!!! I really love this world and these characters. And your review! This book reminded me why I love YA high fantasy, and I'm super excited about this series.

  6. I adore your review! I am bouncing up and down, eagerly awaiting release day so my book can arrive! I seriously CAN NOT wait to read it!! Eeep! I hope I love it as much as you did, but I'm sure I will!

  7. You know I'm not a big fantasy fan. I want to be, so much. This does sound like a really good story, though. I would like to give it a try at some point. Especially since you've enjoyed it do much.
    This is a really great review, happy you loved Throne of Glass.

  8. Like Andrea above I'm not the biggest fan of fantasy, but I got to meet Sarah Maas at BEA and I'm excited to try this one out. Great review :)

  9. So many people keep telling me to read this book. I've heard some great things about it. I don't generally pick fantasy as my first choice and I'm not big on third person narration, but I think I will give it a try at some point. Thanks for the review!

  10. Excellent review! I adore fantasy (and LOVED Graceling), so this one is high on my list of anticipated reads for this year. Love a heroine that loves books. :)

  11. Glad to hear you liked it! Have heard a few people didn't so you have made me re-excited to read it when I do lol

    Thanks for the review =D


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