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Review - Throne of Glass

Monday, July 30, 2012
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
by Sarah J. Maas

Publication: August 7, 2012
Pages: 416
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Buy it: Amazon | KindleB&N | 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 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.

Celaena is a wonderful character. Despite being an assassin, her heart hasn't died. She helps out her fellow laborers in Endovier, and she loves life. She is also snarky, witty, and extremely talented in her craft. The book is told from various perspectives as needed to build the plot, so we get to see through the prince's and Captain Westfall's minds in addition to others (for lesser amounts of time). As such, I knew almost immediately that I would love Westfall, an honorable and kind man, while I didn't approve of the prince, a player and a selfish man who takes interest in Celaena mostly because she is different and without regard to his position and duties to the land.

Still, there were elements that I found hard to believe. Celaena was trained as an assassin from a young age, and she spent a year in Endovier, a notorious hard labor camp where workers typically die out quickly. So then why is it so easy for Celaena to relax in the castle of the king she hates? And how does she fall for a poison trap so easily (happens towards the end)? The synopsis suggests that there is a love triangle, but Celaena shows little interest in Captain Westfall other than her initial note that he's pretty goodlooking. Mostly, she take interest in the prince, which was a bit odd to me. Celaena has something against his house, and she also seems to understand how court life works. She knows that a romance with a prince will lead nowhere, yet she continues to get involved with him to the last chapter of this book.

There are series of prequels available online that tell how Celaena came to work in the salt mines. I don't plan on buying these as I didn't like Throne of Glass that much, though I have this nagging feeling these prequels may be necessary to understand Throne of Glass itself. The story doesn't reveal much about Celaena's past, and it doesn't fully build her world and how much of the lands came under the king's tyrannic rule. So while I have an idea of Celaena's vendetta against the king, I don't know specifically what she has against him and his house. And I have no idea who exactly is this Sam she misses so much and what happened to him.

For all the flaws, I did enjoy this book, though it isn't one that I would buy or reread. I am intrigued by Celaena's roots and what the evil king has in store for her. There is so much potential to this world. The Throne of Glass has a shaky foundation, and I'm hoping to see the story fleshed out. Consequently, I'll probably be reading book two.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.
2 comments on "Review - Throne of Glass"
  1. Hmm, I was so excited about this book. Now I'm not so sure. Thanks for the honest review.

    1. I'm one of a few who didn't really like this book. Who knows? Maybe you'll like it. Let me know what you think! :)


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