Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's, 2012
Read for: Review
Celaena Sardothien has spent the last year in the brutal mines of Endovier, a punishment for her notorious reign as an assassin. However, the Crown Prince of Adarlan, Dorian, pulls her out one day and offers her a deal: if she can win a competition against 23 other criminals and assassins, she can work for his father, the king, for a few years as his Champion before being released into freedom. However, the competition proves to require more than just skill, as Celaena is pitted against illegal magic, demons, and her own heart.
Earlier this month I read the Throne of Glass novellas, and I am grateful that I did, as they are frequently referenced throughout Throne of Glass. If I hadn't read the novellas, I would have kept expecting more to be said about the events to which Celaena briefly alluded, and I would imagine they would not have been revealed. While Throne of Glass is a riveting, exciting read with a main character that I loved, I frequently felt somewhat out of the loop in this story. Throne of Glass is meant to be the first of six novels in a series -- it is clear that Sarah J. Maas has created an elaborate, multilayered world. However, I think occasionally Throne of Glass falls into a trap with this, as the author sometimes seems to assume that we know as much about this world as she does. It is clear that every character has a lot of history behind them, but I was frequently unsatisfied with the glimpses I received and wished that I had more information.
My other complaint about Throne of Glass is that at times, the writing and transitions seemed somewhat disjointed. This may have been partially due to the format of the book, an e-galley from NetGalley (I've noticed this problem with many books from NetGalley). However, I think part of the problem is just that occasionally the writing is jarring, shifting from one scene to the next without much warning or interlude. If these transitions had been smoothed over somewhat, I would have had a more enjoyable experience with Throne of Glass.
With that said, however, I found the plot of Throne of Glass to be every bit as exciting as the novellas that preceded it. Sarah J. Maas shows us many dimensions of the world of Erilea, including glimpses of other cultures and magic that were surprising and interesting. Magic is outlawed in the Adarlan empire, and it wasn't mentioned much in the novellas. In Throne of Glass, we begin to get an introduction to the magic of that world and how much Adarlan is missing without it. I also enjoyed the romantic aspects of the novel -- at first, I didn't see how Celaena could be enamored of either of her love interests (yes, there is a love triangle) but as the story progressed the relationships seemed to progress more naturally. I would have liked more depth and insight into the relationships, but as in this book they are both just beginning there is the promise of more depth and detail in future installments.
My favorite thing about Throne of Glass is the main character, Celaena. I love how prickly and snippy she is. I love the contrast in her character of being a seasoned assassin and yet loving pretty clothes, the piano, and books. I could especially relate to her love for the piano and books, and loved the scenes in which she disappears into music or argues with other characters about books that they read. I know some reviews I have read have not enjoyed Celaena's character due to the fact that she can be arrogant and spoiled; however, I thought this just gave her dimension. While she's not perfect all the time, I found it refreshing and realistic, and definitely loved when she put people in their place. I would continue with this series just to get to know Celaena better.
While Throne of Glass is not a perfect book, its exciting plot and main character definitely have me interested in reading more of the books in the series. Hopefully with future books, the transitions will have a bit more polish, resulting in a truly excellent installment of the series.
Warnings: Some graphic violence, mild references to sexuality