Friday, 23 September 2016

THRONE OF GLASS (Throne of Glass #1) - by Sarah J. Maas

Year Published: 2012 - by Bloomsbury. 
Genres: Epic high fantasy/romance/action/young adult/adventure. 
Pages: 404.
Author: Sarah J. Maas.
Source: Library.
Goodreads: Throne of Glass

Synopsis: 
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?
 



Overall, the writing was vivid and gorgeous, but the main character let the story down.


I have wanted to read Throne of Glass for AGES. There's so much hype about Maas and how amazing her writing is, so my expectations were kinda soaring through the sky. Also, I was dying to read about a badass female heroine who was strong and feministic, etc, etc, and I was expecting that of Celaena.
Well, here's what I thought:  

The writing & setting/atmosphere: 
Pros: 

Maas's writing is gorgeously vivid and evocative.  The descriptions were painfully acute and original, and Celaena's chilling story swept around me in a seductive and frightening reality. The atmosphere was haunting and dark, with a mysterious world that crept steadily up my spine until the unforgettable climax. 
It was lavish and ghastly. Sensual and mesmerizing. All the time there's this icy foreboding shadowing the story, and I found the setting gripping and enticing.  

There were also very short chapters, which I appreciated, and yet they still allowed you to immerse yourself in the chapter's story and scenes before it was cut short. 

Cons:

This book was very dark. The descriptions of the dead Champions were very graphic and unpleasant, and yet those certain disgusting passages were easy to spot and avoid, which I did; I skimmed most of them.

Some parts were rushed. Actually, there was only particular scene I thought was a bit too rushed: the ball. I would have liked to have had more time to enjoy it and watch the characters flirt and dance and talk, but unfortunately this was hurried along without nearly as much time dedicated to this supposed-to-be Cinderella scene; a fairy tale Maas apparently drew inspiration from for this novel. This ball scene would have been the best chance to mirror Cinderella, had it stuck around for longer...... :( 


The story:

The premise is great. Awesome. It's a fantastic mix of The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, and even has some  of The Selection mixed in there somewhere. 
And yet, very unfortunately, I felt like Maas didn't take her premise seriously enough. The idea of assassins and fighters facing each other to the death is breathtaking, but frequently it seemed like Maas was treating it like "child's play". It was dark, yes, and the action was brilliantly choreographed, but occasionally I felt like the Tests were rather underwhelming and childish. I do, however, blame most of this on Celaena's character, which leads me to.....

The characters: 

First, the boys: 
I liked Dorian. But most of all, I loved Chaol. I didn't exactly find him swoon-worthy, but there was just something about him that I found much more attractive than Dorian ;) 
I also loved how Maas didn't go with the stereotypes; especially in regard to the love triangle (however minor it was). Each guy was unique and original, and Celaena clearly didn't have to choose or stress about which one she liked more. 

One character I really liked, and who was probably my favourite, was Kaltain. I felt like she had a lot of depth, and I hope to read more about her in the later books.  

Now for Celaena: 
Pros:

She was a strong female character. I loved and appreciated how she could be both badass and yet also love dresses and "girly" things; it was so nice to see feminine things not being ridiculed or thought of as "too girly". Celaena was a woman through and through, and she embraced that while kicking butts :) 

Cons:   
 I didn't really like Celaena, however capable or brave she might be. I did like how she had plenty of flaws and thus wasn't anywhere near a Mary-Sue, etc, etc, and so I guess my dislike of her isn't so much her personality (I found that her arrogance, however annoying, made for a much more realistic and original character; at least in this genre) , but rather her position: her job; her "given" in life. 
Basically, she did NOT - I repeat NOT - seem like an assassin. She was too soppy and romantic and although brave and capable, she was a lot "weaker" than an assassin should be. She just didn't fit the profile. Her bravo was there all right, but I cannot imagine her as a fearless assassin. I just can't. She's nowhere near as physically capable or brutal as the assassin I believe Maas was trying to depict her as. 
AND that brings me to Celaena's fighting skills. Once again, as unfortunately is the case with many action books I've read, too much time is spent saying how awesome the character is at fighting, rather than showing them in action! I was really hoping to see Celaena fighting more, but no; most of the time I was being told how good she was, and there was hardly anything to prove it    


I give it: 4 flowers!










8 comments:

  1. This is a great review and on my first read of this series my sentiments were very much in line with this. I'll be interested to see if you carry on with the series and what you think of it.

    Di @ Book Reviews by Di

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    1. Thank you :) Yes, I'm definitely hoping to carry on with the series.

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  2. Stunning review, Amy! I haven't read this yet but I will soon. I've read one other Maas book and her writing is gorgeous! :)

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    1. Aw thanks, Kyra! Yes, you definitely must! The language is simply gorgeous :)

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  3. Great review. Very well thought out. I'm still curious to see why you switched from Team Chaol to Team Dorian. I'll have to see if you've reviewed the others in the series that I've read (my reviews of the others haven't posted but I've already written them). Thanks for checking out my review.

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

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    1. Thank you :) I have reviewed the others in the series (up to Queen of Shadows so far) so feel free to check them out :)
      Sure!

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  4. I love this review. Thank you for linking to it. I agree about the love triangle. The two blokes are very different and the triangle is there but it didn't make me roll my eyes. And I might actually prefer Chaol over Dorian. I still haven't read the sequels but they are all on my list for 2017. (My list is starting to be far too long!)

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    1. Thank you :) Yeah I was also Team Chaol for the first book, but the sequels turned me to Team Dorian very quickly - though I like both guys.
      Hope you get to read the others soon! Haha yeah mine's also growing rapidly ;) Good luck with getting to all those books! <3

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