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Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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.

I can say, without reservation, that I love this book. The beautiful-yet-deadly heroine, political intrigue, magic, mystery, and romance present combine to create something wonderfully epic and compulsively readable. I truly could not put down Throne of Glass... not that I wanted to. There was never a dull moment and, even though I was well aware the book wasn't going to disappear if I took a few hours to sleep, I couldn't tear myself from Celaena's adventures. 

I often find that a trilogy's first installment can be a bit slow due to world building, introductions, etc. Thankfully, Maas finds a way to subtlety weave the large amounts of background information necessary for a well-rounded fantasy novel in without sacrificing the flow of the story or leaving the reader to sift through a huge influx of jumbled information. Determined readers might not have an issue sorting through details and recollecting pertinent information, but I liked the accessibility of Maas' writing. I felt like I could easily hand Throne of Glass to someone who doesn't read a lot of fantasy and they wouldn't be overwhelmed.

I liked Celaena from the start of the novel, but I came to enjoy her voice even more as the novel progressed. She's a strong heroine: independent, motivated, and deadly smart. And, though she tries to hide it at times, desperate for companionship and understanding. Though to some, maybe even Celeaena herself, this could be construed as weakness, but to me, it only made her stronger. And a much more relateable character. 

There didn't seem to be any extraneous characters in Throne of Glass. Each character had a distinct purpose and I found myself forming attachments to those with recurring appearances, especially Captain Westfall. I was a bit surprised when I wasn't a huge fan of Prince Dorian. I'm not sure what it is about him - or if it's just my stubborn mind believing I can only like either the Captain or the Prince - but I found him annoying. It seemed like he often tried to coddle Celaena, who, to me, is much more capable than he could ever dream of being. I like Westfall much better for many reasons, including the fact that he challenges Celaena.

I always thought I'd enjoy Throne of Glass, but I really wasn't expecting the depth and reach this novel would have. Every time I thought "Wow. I can't believe that just happened!" something new and equally intense would occur. Epic is the only word in my vocabulary to describe the scope of Throne of Glass.

I could probably go on and on about Throne of Glass, but I won't. Simply put, I have a new novel to list among my favorites. As I read, I was reminded of Maria V. Snyder's books and, interestingly enough, the video game Oblivion. I love, love, love the idea of these two things merging and that's exactly how Throne of Glass feels to me. Maybe I'm one of the few who are excited by this concept, but it's definitely how I'll be pitching this novel to my friends.

Bloomsbury, August 2012, Hardcover, ISBN: 9781599906959, 416 pages.

And don't forget to check out the trailer below!


  1. Oooohhh... I'm SO excited for this book. And knowing that you liked it gives me even more anticipation.

  2. Great review :D ! I can't wait to read this book ! Everyone is talking about it right now. Fantasy is my favorite genre so i'm sure i'm gonna love this book. And it's the first time i'm seeing the book trailer I love the music !

  3. This is my first time reading a review of this book, and it definitley sold me. Now I can't wait to get my hands on it! Awesome review! :)

  4. I read the draft while it was on and i couldn't stop reading...for me from the first few pages of throne of glass it became my favorite book ever, honestly. It is amazing and what i love about it is that it not only has an incredible female lead but it simply mesmerizes you and transports you to their universe. I can't wait to read it again because i have missed Celaena so very much.

  5. Thanks for this review! I preordered the book last month and I am very eagerly awaiting the publication date! I think it sounds absolutely amazing. I read the excerpt that's available on Facebook (the first two chapters) and I'm already completely hooked!

  6. I have this ARC in my TBR pile, I may need to move it near the top! I love high fantasy.

  7. :) Sweet review! I love the sound of this book! I'm glad to hear all the great things about it! Especially how the world was introduced in a special way to keep the story going!

  8. I've got this one on my shelf and am really anxious to get to it after your lovely review :) I'm not a huge fantasy reader so I'm especially lookiong forward to not being overwhelmed by everything. Great to hear that Calaena is a strong character and that her voice is enjoyable. Will hopefully be reading this one super soon!

  9. Great review! I've wanted to read this book for a very long time, but I did not really know what to expect, so thanks for clearing it up:) I'm kind of stalking all your reviews btw, they're so good :D

    Cleo Rogers (Bankruptcy Lawyer Chicago)


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