Monday, 9 July 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas **Review**

Throne of Glass
by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass #1
Pages: 432
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release date: 2nd August 2012
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

Add it to Goodreads
Thanks go to Bloomsbury for my review copy

Goodreads synopsis:
Celaena Sardothien is a daredevil assassin with unrivalled fighting skills. After a year’s hard labour in the salt mines of the kingdom of Adarlan, Celaena is offered her freedom on one condition—she must fight as handsome Prince Dorian’s champion in a contest sponsored by the king, facing the deadliest thieves and assassins in the land in a series of set-piece battles in the country’s stunning glass palace. But there is more at stake than even her life—for Celaena is destined for a remarkable future...

I have to admit that I was looking forward to this book so much, and therefore had such high expectations of it, that the beginning of this book was a bit of a disappointment to me. I can't entirely pin down why - Celaena's character was exactly as I had imagined she would be, which was great, but I had also expected a little more from the plot, right from the beginning (notably, some more action - Celaena is a female assassin, afterall). However, there was really only talk of past actions or violence, and little actually present, and all the characters really did at the beginning was throw a few remarks at one another, and move from one place to another.
Also - and I don't know why this bothered me like it did, but there was just a little bit too much of an insta-attraction (not insta-love, thankfully!), from all sides, despite each characters' initial mistrust of the other, and belief that they should hate, and not oddly lust, after one another.
There was way too much of "I should hate him and all he stands for, but I can't help but notice how rugged and handsome he is", and "she could kill me without blinking, but she's so strangely beautiful!". A little of this is okay - even good, perhaps - but there was a little too much of it for my liking, and this did carry on further into the book.
Fortunately, this wasn't an irritation at all, later on in the novel, and the more the story developed, the more I found myself enjoying the character relationships.

Once the book got going properly, and Celaena had arrived in Rifthold - where the tournament that takes place later in the novel is held - I really started to enjoy the book. And once the pace had really picked up, and the plot was even further developed, I found myself suddenly emotionally invested in Celaena, and those around her, when I hadn't originally thought I would be.

Another thing I loved about the plot was that extra details and clues to later revelations in the story were revealed so slowly and subtly, that I felt as though it was developing at a natural rate (despite the increased pace), rather than being forced along. Saying that however, I thought that, at times, the passage of time could have been dealt with a little better. For example, I found several points in the novel, where something along the lines of "And this is how things continued for several long weeks". This felt a little awkward to me, and I felt that just a paragraph separator of some kind, and then perhaps a reflection from Celaena (such as "she chouldn't believe it had already been several weeks since...") would have been better.
Occasionally things like this stuck out really badly, when the narrative had previously been moving really fluently - it just made it feel a bit disjointed at times.
But the ending! Oh my... it's been a long time since I have read such an exciting ending. When I say I was literally on the edge of my seat, I was actually hanging off the edge! The ending was more than enough to make up for the lack of action at the beginning - I adored it! I will absolutely not give anything away, but I can't wait for the sequel, to find out what happens next!

As for the characters, Celaena was such a wonderful character; she was strong, feisty, intelligent, head strong, and as independent as she could be, under her circumstances, and so much more! I found that I was really invested in her character by the time that I was half way through - I cheered at every triumph, and found my heart rate go up when she was in danger!
Also, despite previous annoyances, I also began to care about her relationships with both Chaol (the Captain  of the Guard), and Dorian (the Prince). I even ended up admiring their characters, even though I didn't particularly like either of them to begin with; Chaol just seemed like a soldier brute, and Dorian was an arrogant twit at the best of times. As I learnt more about their characters, though, and saw them interact with each other more, I found myself falling for them.
Then there was Nehemia, the Princess of Eyllwe!  I'm not going to mention too much, for fear of spoilers, but  I will say that she was definitely a contender for my favourite character!
The King of Adarlan was another great character, though not for the same reasons as the others - he scared the absolute hell out of me - and that's what makes him so good! If a character genuinely frightens you, you know you've got a great book. There's a rather large revelation at the end, to do with him, but there are no spoilers here! I just can't wait to see exactly what it is that he has up his sleeve. He certainly knows a lot more than he is letting on!

Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I was going to, when I started it. There's so much more I want to say about it, but can't because I don't want to give anything away. It's packed with brilliant, intelligent and witty characters, corrupted rulers, dark and good magic (I hope the King won't hunt me down for using the forbidden word!!) alike. The world-building is incredible, and the plot promises something even greater from the sequel. I think I rate this one 4.5 stars - it would have been only 4 stars, but the final 80 pages were incredible, and so the beginning only loses half a star! This is not one to be missed!

Recommended for all fans of the fantasy genre, alternative worlds, magic, and definitely for fans of strong female characters!


Randi M said...

Awesome review! Definitely keeping an eye out for his one's release date. :) The characters definitely sound interesting - TWO boys? Yay. ;) The huge difference from the UK to US cover keeps throwing me off!

Pen to Paper said...

Yep - TWO boys, and they're both wonderful! ;)
I know! The difference between them is weird! I actually prefer the US cover to this one, I think - I think this one looks like something from Final Fantasy :P But oh well. This is the cover I read the book from (near enough, but mine's a proof copy), so I felt the need to use this cover. Plus, I'm reviewing it for Bloomsbury UK, so can't very well use the US cover, haha!!

It's such a great book though, and I now have the eBook prequel novellas (all three of them!), so looking forward to those!

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

this cover is soooo different from the us one, i almost didn't even know what book it was. it's hard not to be disappointed when a book has so much hype.

Deborah said...

I saw the US cover at Goodreads and didn't bother reading the blurb, but this cover is so bad-ass it totally hooked me. Because , let's face it, bad-ass female assassin main characters are MURDER to come by.

Renae said...

Great review! I had the opposite issue with this one—I wasn't looking forward to reading it very much, so the beginning was a nice surprise. Altogether, though, it's a really good book.

sienny said...

the first thing that catch my attention is the cover.. i really like the cover. and now, i hope i can manage to read it soon. my TBR pile is way too high..

Eli Yanti said...

i thought that this book is very interesting (after i read your review) because the author seems to deliberately make the beginning of the story is rather boring but once in the middle part, the story began to stir reader's emotions and i suggest that at the end of the story, it will gives us things that we would not have thought before.

that's great and nice review :)

Rebecca Hipworth said...

Wow! This book sounds great. Lately, there have been some amazing high fantasy reads and I have a feeling that this will be one of them. :)

jwhitus said...

Another book I keep seeing everywhere. I'll have to add it to my TBR list. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

Zoe Crook said...

This looks amazing, I keep meaning to read this. All these great reviews keep persuading me. Thanks for posting! :)

Lady said...

Love the hardback cover so much! And look forward to read this! Nice review.. ;)

Jaime Lester said...

I just won Throne of Glass and I am so stinkin excited! I am very much looking forward to reading it, and I hope that I enjoy it as much as you have. And most everyone else! Thanks for a great review!

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