Review: Throne of Glass

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Throne of GlassThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on August 7, 2012
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 404
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Goodreads
four-half-stars

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.

First Sentence: “After a year of slavery in the Salt Mines of Endovier, Celaena Sardothien was accustomed to being escorted everywhere in shackles and at sword-point.”

Review:
Guys! This book was SO perfect for me. Like, seriously, how did I not read this sooner, because it is made of awesomeness. Believe that I don’t say this lightly: Throne of Glass is like The Hunger Games meets Grave Mercy. As with both of those delightful books, Throne of Glass features a powerful heroine, lots of action and some delightful, non-instalove romance.

The opening of Throne of Glass finds Celaena in the salt mines, where, after having been captured, she has been sentenced to work until she dies. Lucky for her, she now has another option: she can serve as the Crown Prince’s contestant in a competition to decide the new King’s Champion, aka personal assassin. An eighteen year old girl might seem an odd entrant, but Celeana Sardothien is actually the most feared assassin in the country.

I expected to have some trouble believing in Celeana as such an epically intense assassin, especially since she had quite the reputation by the time she was 17. However, Maas totally sold it. At every turn, Celaena strategizes possible escapes and considers the various ways that she could murder or maim the people around her. Her thoughts are bloody and focused. She has been raised to be an assassin since childhood, and she does it well.

Trust does not come particularly easily to Celaena, but she is still capable of humor and caring. In fact, if I had any issue with the book at all, it was that she seemed almost too quick to re-humanize after what happened in the salt mines. However, I want to believe that she could bounce back like that; it’s part of why she is so strong. Celaena has power mentally and physically, and, despite being a trained assassin, she’s a genuinely nice person, rarely mean out of spite.

The other characters are just as vibrant, if a bit black or white. I really appreciated Celaena’s friendship with Nehemia. What made it so delightful was that they seemed to bond over real things, not their situation or boys. Instead, they found common ground in both being powerful women forced into lives that don’t especially suit them. Also, they both hate Lady Kaltain, who fills the classic money-grubbing, evil bitch role perfectly.

Then we have the boys. Yes, Throne of Glass has a love triangle. Weep not, though, because this is a tolerable one. Interestingly, from what I’ve heard, the story didn’t have one initially, which is curious. However, it’s here now and I deem it acceptable. I really like both guys, even though there’s only one I would allow to guard my heart. Ahem. Crown Prince Dorian is sweet and passionate, definitely a bit of hopeless romantic, who’s undoubtedly going to have to choose between the crown and his heart. Chaol is gruff and obnoxious at first, but entirely loyal and wonderful on further acquaintance. He’s also definitely the kind of guy to encourage strength in a woman, rather than trying to protect her.

I thought the world building was fascinating, although I definitely think we’ve only barely reached the surface. There’s so much more going on here than has been described yet. I anticipate faeries and alternate universes, as well as more to be made of this glass castle. Still, I’m really liking the foundations that Maas has laid here. The world thus far is fairly typical fantasy, but well-written and with excellent action scenes.

Speaking of action, I haven’t explained the comparison to The Hunger Games yet. Well, the competition between the various assassins, thieves and soldiers is very reminiscent of the arena. There are definitely differences, but the similarities are stark. The training room scenes definitely reminded me of the ones in THG, as well as the fact that there were 24 competitors. Oh yeah, and some grisly deaths!

If you love fantasy novels like I do, you will most definitely not want to miss out on Throne of Glass. It comes out on August 7, so go get yourself a copy ASAP!

Favorite Quote:

“‘Guards are of no use in a library.’ Oh, how wrong he was! Libraries were full of ideas—perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

30 responses to “Review: Throne of Glass”

  1. Lilian says:

    Honestly, I skimmed this review because after I read “Throne of Glass is like The Hunger Games meets Grave Mercy” I was like “okay, this is going on top of my TBR once I get my hands on a copy, so I can’t read this review to spoil too much.” I’m a fan of all things with death games! WHOO HOOO! Throne of Glass wasn’t even on my radar despite seeing BEA haul posts with it…I got the fantasy vibe, but it just didn’t stand out amidst all the other BEA books.

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

    • Christina says:

      READ IT!!!! You will probably enjoy it. There is romance, but it’s not all happy happy joy joy, so I think you’ll not be too bothered by that. The US cover for it doesn’t really stand out, I agree.

    • Lilian says:

      OKAY! I WILL! *puts it on TBR list* Now..I have to wait for the thing to release. On a slightly unrelated note, the UK cover looks amazing too (though I thought it was a video game cover the first time I saw it)

      YAY FOR NON-HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY ROMANCE!!! (is this a sign I’m bitter at happy couples? O_O)

      Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

    • Christina says:

      It’s okay. I’m always torn on whether I want happiness for others too. Stormdancer also has romance that does not run a smooth course, so you should find that one satisfying too.

      I love the UK cover. I don’t like the US one much at all.

    • Lilian says:

      But Stormdancer doesn’t come out until LATE September…lucky Australians that get to read it in the beginning of the month. *pouts*
      Oh wells, good things are worth waiting for.

      I just read Cuddlebuggery’s review for Stormdancer, and I’m excited!!

      I find the girl on the US cover looks so much like the author. I had to hunt down a cover reveal to confirm that it wasn’t her.

    • Christina says:

      Haha, I’ll be giving away one copy of Stormdancer in my Dystopian August giveaway! Of course, it still wouldn’t get there until about the time the book comes out, but whatevs.

      Sarah J. Maas is blonder and paler. 🙂

  2. Casey says:

    This sounds right up my alley too! I’ll have to try and remember to track it down after it comes out!

  3. Yayy! I will be reading this later this week and am SO excited, especially after having read your review. It sounds so, so, so GOOD! I’m glad we finally have another strong female lead to follow in this series and I hope it only continues to get better.

    Great review! 🙂 <3

  4. It sounds like this book was written for me. Hunger Games AND Grave Mercy? Sold. I’ve wanted to read this for a long time, but kind of from afar. This is the first time I’ve read the synopsis. I’ve been avoiding it. But now… hdfhsdfjksfjg I just want to read this book so bad. Only a week longer!

    • Christina says:

      Haha, right? I was reading and just going…why has this not been done yet???? There is so much awesomeness in this book. Welcome to the world of fantasy. I doubt you will be able to escape its scintillating clutches.

      If it were more than a week, I would loan you my copy, but it would take pretty much as long for it to get to you as the library’s. :-p

  5. Suz Reads says:

    Wow! Glad to read that you liked this book so much! I loved the Hunger Games so if this is anything like that, count me in! I love a fierce heroine and Celaena sounds like she can kick some booty! Thanks for the great review!

  6. Amy says:

    I loved this book too!
    To be honest I didn’t think it was like the hunger games but I can see where you are coming from.
    Great review!
    Amy
    http://teenyreader.blogspot.co.uk/

  7. Nori says:

    I’m reading it now! And I’m loving it like crazy! Why are there so many fantastic books this year? I’m going to have so much trouble picking a top ten of 2012. It reminds me a lot of Tamora Pierce.

    • Christina says:

      Yeah, you are! I’m pretty sure all fantasy with a powerful heroine reminds me of Tamora Pierce, since she pretty much started that. The romantic relationships do remind me of Alanna, like Celaena + Dorian = Alanna + Jonathan (or however he spelled it).

  8. Yet another glowing review for this book. *sigh* You are making me SO antsy to read this book! I love assassin/medieval kind of books, so this one is right up my alley. And the fact that it’s a GIRL assassin intrigues me all the more!

  9. Celaena sounds like a character I could love! She sounds strong and caring at the same time. I will for sure be adding this to my must reads!

  10. Heather says:

    This sounds so great! Your post reminded me that I really need to read Grave Mercy, too. I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day. haha

  11. Jaime Lester says:

    I absolutely am going to go crazy until this book is in my hands. Between the cover (that cover!), the blurb and all of the amazing reviews that I keep seeing, seriously gonna go nuts. Throne of Glass sounds like the perfect book for me to curl up on the couch with for a day and just read and thoroughly enjoy myself while doing so. Thanks for your awesome review!

  12. Crissy says:

    i’ve been meaning to read this book and your review makes want to have it in my hands… like NOW.

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