Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass
Series: #1 in Throne of Glass Trilogy
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: August 2, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 404
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from July 26 to 28, 2012 
My rating: 4 stars: I really like it
Summary: Meet Celaena Sardothien. Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness. In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught. Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted? 

You must listen to what I tell you. Nothing is a coincidence. Everything has a purpose. You were meant to come to this castle, just as you were meant to be an assassin, to learn the skills necessary for survival. 

While Throne of Glass didn't manage to get me hooked right from the beginning, it sure did capture my heart by the end of the book, leaving me craving for more. I wasn't really surprised at my blankness, as I normally don't expect myself to hit it off with fantasy books right away. There's this part of my brain that keeps doubting the credibility of things presented, that continually asks me if I really believe what I'm reading, or if the story is good enough to keep me going and suspend my disbelief. As Throne of Glass progressed, it proved itself worthy along the way, and at one point I couldn't stop reading even though I could barely keep myself awake. I just had to finish it! And then I did, but I had to take a nap in my German class the next day and had my teacher woken me up three times. 

Needless to say, this book is fantastic. 

Throne of Glass follows Celaena Sardothien, a deadly 18-year-old assassin with a pretty face. Celaena is renowned as "Adarlan's Assassin," which is why the Prince of Adarlan, Dorian Havilliard, has to track her down to find her as a slave in Endovier, and offer her an opportunity that might be what she needs most: freedom. But of course, freedom isn't given for free. The Prince, in return, asks that she agrees to be his "champion," to compete with other champions in a fight-to-the-death tournament organized by the King, and she'll be given freedom only after winning the tournament and serving the King as his royal assassin for 4 years. If she doesn't win it, she'll either die or go back to serve a life sentence in Endovier just as she is now. Celaena takes the opportunity, moves to the King's castle, and this is where the fun begins. 

One does not simply mess with "Adarlan's Assassin" Celaena Sardothien, but entering the competition as  jewel thief Lady Lillian Gordaina, she's often overlooked and underestimated. As strategies, she has to play down the smarts and try not to outperform anyone in training, fooling everyone that she's nothing special. Although she doesn't like the strategies, she has to do as the Prince and his Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall, say. 

Now, I have to say love triangle was the least of my expectations, which is why I was surprised when the Prince shows interest in Celaena. I didn't like him much at first, but Dorian Havilliard has his ways to win you over. I couldn't help but have a soft spot for him. There were times when I liked Dorian for his charms (he's such a flirt!) more than Chaol, who's always so silent and distant, but sweet and caring nevertheless. Both are awesome characters. Most of the time I was just glad that I didn't have to be the one choosing. I love that Celaena doesn't spend much time pining for anyone. I love that she can make a decision for herself, and that she's not afraid to end things that might get in the way of her getting what she wants most. A determined, hard-headed, kickass heroine. That's Celaena Sardothien for you. 

I love Celaena. She isn't what I expected a female assassin to be like. She's funny and loves to tease people, especially the girls in the castle trying to win Dorian's heart. I found myself tremendously enjoying her character. I love that she's smart and seems to know a lot about things she does (killing, for example). And my, she loves reading and clothes! Haha. Hard to believe at first but it makes her character more interesting. She's so seriously kickass and I love it. 

Apart from the characters, I also enjoyed the story very much. You can't tell from looking at the cover or reading the blurb that there's magic in the story! The mentions of magic in the beginning of the book didn't strike me as anything until "Wyrdmarks" and Nehemia, Princess of Eyllwe, start becoming involved in the story. And then, wow, bam! Blood, murders, secret passageway, ancient tomb, spirits, more secrets, mysteries, weird creatures, Wyrdmarks, more Wyrdmarks, ancient sword, whoosh, bam, bam! Haha. It's so much fun. Hardly anything can be said without the possibility of ruining your pleasure in discovering it yourselves, so I'll leave it at that. 

Full of mysteries and actions and just enough romance, Throne of Glass has exceeded my expectations in many ways. The ride was more than enjoyable; it was thrilling most of the time and also sweet at times. There are still things that are left unexplained in this book (mostly about Celaena's destiny) which I can't wait to find out in book two and three. The world-building is very well-done; I totally believed it. The narration in 3rd person (which I normally don't like) works very nicely with the story as the view isn't limited to any character's limited knowledge. Sarah J. Maas's writing is wonderful and although I'm not really a huge fan of fantasy books, I'm already impressed and looking forward to the next book in the trilogy. For some reasons, I know she won't disappoint. This is a great read. I'd recommend Throne of Glass to anyone!


This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.

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