February 18, 2013

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas (Author Site)

Series: Book 1 of 3

Published: August 2012

Edition Read: Traditional

Pages: 406

Level Recommended: Young Adult

Overall: I forget how I originally ran across Throne of Glass, but I was thrilled to read this book. I read all four novellas leading up to Throne of Glass. My only regret is that I didn't read the novellas before the novel. Celaena is a tough cookie to love, but somehow Maas really pulls it off.

Review: I just have to restate that you have to (HAVE TO) read the novellas before reading this novel. I feel that you will really understand Celaena and who she is walking into Throne of Glass. I feel like once you know what there is to know in the novellas you'll read Throne of Glass in a whole different light.  I reviewed the novellas before delving into what I thought about the novel. 

When we first met Celaena she is 18 years old, and has served a year of her nine life sentences in the salt mines of Endoiver. Most people don't survive this long in Endovier, and Celaena is given a chance to become the King of Adarlan's Champion. The Crown Prince has chosen Celaena as his champion in a competition created to chose the best candidate for the position. In a choice between the salt mines and sure death and becoming the King's Champion Celaena agrees to the competition. Celaena is sure that it will be and easy enough competition to win, and after four years of service she will be a free woman. The competition is a shining light in the darkness of her time in Endovier.
Celaena travels from Endovier to the Glass Castle where the King of Adarlan lives, and where the competition will be held. She is given a room of her own, fine food and clothes, and told that if she fails just one of the tests in the competition she will be sent back to Endovier and never given another chance at freedom again. Throughout the competition other champions, and mixture of thieves, warriors, and killers, begin to be found dead. Not just dead but mutilated, the next one worse then the last. Celaena takes it upon herself to find out just what is causing these deaths while at the same time restoring herself to health winning the competition. In the end, Celaena's arrogant and tough exterior is slowly chiseled away, and she eventually allows herself to care for others. She befriends the Princess Nehemia, and in her quest to learn the causes of such brutal deaths finds herself even more of a target in the competition. 

What I thought: I really found Celaena's arrogance to be off-putting. While I understood that Celaena had been hell and really had no reason to be sweet or kind. However, the author does not tell you why Celaena had been sent to Endovier. Or, if she did, I completely missed it. All we are told in the novel is how notorious Celaena was before being sent to Endovier, but somehow most people had no idea that Celaena was just a teenaged girl. Eventually Celaena's toughness is chipped away and you see a character you can connect with, but it takes quite a while to see it. This is is also the case in the novellas. By the end of both the novel and the novellas you really connect to Celaena and who she is. It just takes some time to get there. By the end I wanted to read more about Celanea and had already taken a side in the love triangle that had been pulled together in the novel.

Oh, my goodness, the love triangle! At first Celaena is not at looking to fall in love, and honestly why the heck should she? If you read the novellas you can see just how her last love ended. I kept reading the novel wondering just what the heck the summary meant by a love triangle between Celaena, Prince Dorian, and Captian Westfall. It takes some time, and little bit of forced mingling of feelings between Prince Dorian and Celaena, but eventually the love triangle takes place. I'm personally shipping Celaena and Captian Westfall, because no matter how I read it the relationship between Celanea and Prince Dorian seemed so forced. Captian Westfall on the other hand seemed much more authentic, and quite similar to how Maas portrayed Celaena and Sam's eventual love for each other. Chaol and Celaena gain a mutual respect for each other, and eventually fall in love. Celaena and Dorian just don't have that same relationship.

Overall the novel ended with quite a bang, and I ended up going back to the novellas to get answers about Celaena's past that weren't answered satisfyingly enough in the novel. It bothered me every time Celaena thought of Sam, Arobynn, and how much the King despised her enough to sentence her to Endovier, but there was no backstory written into the novel to understand why. Even so, I ended up loving Celaena, chosing Team Chaol, and wondering just what would happen next between Celaena and the King that hates her so much. I can't wait to read the next novel in the series, Crown of Midnight, in August of this year. 

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