Monday, July 23, 2012

Love/Hate relationship: THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas

I like this cover better--very bad-assed
YA Fantasy
416 pages, hardcover
Available August 7, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Review copy provided by publisher via BEA

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing she never thought she'd have again: a friend. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world. (back copy via ARC)

There were times I LOVED this book, and there were times I just wanted to shake that conceited, self-centered beyotch Celaena. Oh, I do enjoy when a book plays with my emotions like that, even if the main character did completely drive me up the wall more than half of the time.

Bear with me here. First off, it's a very medieval, interesting world. There are hints of magic, which grow stronger as the story progresses. A power-hungry dictator rules the kingdom and wants to rule the entire world, burning and destroying it until it's shaped exactly the way he believes it should be. There are the stereotypical airheaded social climbers and mean girls as well as some very mysterious and intriguing characters, which balance the stereotypes out.

The main character, Celaena, is an eighteen-year-old assassin. She's trained for this role with one of the best since she crawled out of the river when she was eight. She's feared across the entire kingdom and, though she's been captured, tried, and sentenced to life in the salt mines, no one knows she's "just" a girl. She knows how to do most things so much better than anyone else in this crazy assassin competition the king's cooked up, she's practically filing her nails during the Tests. She's awesome and she knows it.

Of course there are two guys who like her, too. Her. A convicted felon and assassin. *sigh* One is the stalwart Captain of the Guard and the other just happens to be the kingdom's Crown Prince. She mostly lusts over the prince and, for the most part, ignores the much more interesting Captain. There are strong hints that she's much more than a lowly river rat but the two men don't know this. Oh, love triangle. How you muddy up the plot.

Don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed this story. I wanted to know what was up with the strange markings around the castle, who was killing all the combatants, wanted to know more about the odd foreign princess with a mysterious agenda, and about the magic that whispers around the edges of the kingdom. But this story also induced moments of eye-rolling on my part. Overall, however, THRONE OF GLASS is an action-packed, intriguing novel with a strong set-up for future stories.

12 comments:

  1. Great balanced review. It's nice to go into a book not expecting it to be perfect. Then I can enjoy it more easily for its good parts and not be as disappointed with the bad parts.

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  2. LOVE TRIANGLES!!! WHEN WILL THEY STOP?!?!? Lol. I'm intrigued by this one, but I really, really hate love triangles. **sigh** But like Alison said above, it IS nice to go into a book (especially one that's been hyped up so much) and know it's not going to be perfect.

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  3. Its weird, I saw other reviewers say Celaena annoyed them. But for some reason I wasn't annoyed by her at all. I loved her! I'm not sure why I wasn't annoyed though...
    The love triangle was a frustrating cause I loved both guys. I don't even know who to cheer for. But did she even have any romantic feelings for Chalk? I don't recall so. Though HE did I'm sure. Anyway, I guess I'm lucky - I loved this book!

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  4. I loved Celaena, but I see where you're coming from. For me, there was no hate. i just loved this book, I absolutely adored it!

    Great review:

    Jade @ Ink Scratchers

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  5. I agree with everything Natalie said about love triangles. I think I'm getting to the point where I'd willingly skip books with love triangles, no matter how interesting the book sounds (like this one).

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  6. I HATE LOVE TRIANGLES! I spit on them and want to introduce them to Inigo Montoya and let him kill them (the triangles not the people involved LOL) :)

    No seriously I just can't do triangles any more. I have read to many books where people are able to carry off suspense, issues, and such with just two people involved.

    Of course to be fair, I was never a fan of triangles :)

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  7. Even though I loved this one I'm that glad not everyone blindly adores it. Usually I'm the one saying "ok this was good, but _____", and I'm glad there are always at least a few reviews like that because it makes expectations a bit more realistic, like Alison mentioned. I did really adore Throne of Glass, but I did want to smack Celaena for mooning over Dorian when Chaol was clearly the awesome one. *sigh* Stupid love triangles. I don't see why there can't be a hot prince and a hot captain without both of them adoring the same girl.

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  8. I was stuck in the middle with this book. I really enjoyed the novellas (I found Celaena more likable in those, plus there was no love triangle), so I was surprised by how underwhelmed I was with this one. It did have some great aspects though, but like you said, there were some eye-rolling moments too.

    Nice honest review, Mary! :)

    Also, totally agree about the cover! It's more badass, and truer to Celaena.

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  9. I'm so glad for this review Mary! I was starting to think I was the only one that had any issues with it:( Overall, I enjoyed it, especially by the end with Celaena's final showdown, but I had a lot of trouble with her cockiness up until that point. I just didn't really believe in her as the greatest assassin ever. That being said though, I'm still looking forward to the next book:)

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  10. You know, I kind of want to read this book kind of don't.
    LOL
    I hear both good and bad things about it but from what you say I think Caleana or whatever her name is, would drive me up the wall too.
    The capitan of the guard does intrigue me.

    Anyway, thanks for this wonderful, honest review. :D

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  11. I keep seeing this book around a lot lately, and I'm super curious about it. Thanks for listing all the things you love and hate about it! Celaena does not sound like someone that I will get along with. LOL!

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