Underwhelmed after the hype. But the hype says it gets better? PLUS I LOVE ACOMAF SO I HAVE FAITH IT’LL DO SO.*
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J Maas
Published by Bloomsbury on August 7, 2012
Genres: YA Fantasy / Pages: 404
Format: Book / Source: Purchased
Rating: 3 stars
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 king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. 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.
*PLUS CELAENA LOVES FOOD. AND PRETTY THINGS. Therefore I will keep reading the series no matter what because I am easily swayed by yummy descriptions and shiny objects. 😉
The main characters
Celaena Sardothien has a really hard to spell name. Yes, that doesn’t really have anything to do with the actual book, but I have checked FIVE TIMES in this one sentence to make sure I spelled it right… is it Caleana.. nope… Celeana… NOPE. Rawr. So the bolded IS the right spelling and I had to point that out because I’m quite proud of my blogging diligence here. *pats self on back and looks for magical reward cake. No cake appears -> Glares at WordPress. Debates starting a rebellion so we all get cake when we write an epic post. Or, you know, check for typos. Too lazy. The cake rebellion is officially postponed until after my dragon nap.*
Soooo BACK TO THE BOOK. *ahem* Sorry about that. Anywho, Celaena (<-checks again) is a really interesting character full of quirks that are really endearing. HER OBSESSION WITH FOOD IS THE BEST! She also, mostly, holds her own in the fighting/assassining parts of the book. Assassinating? HAH! Spell check says that’s a word. One point blogger. There are lots of references to dark times in her past, even prior to her sentence in the Salt Mines, that affect her and influence how she reacts to other characters. You can clearly see that Maas has a talent for writing Strong Female Characters, but also lets them be feminine if they want (Celaena *point ME* also obviously loves her clothing and shopping!)
Dorian Havilliard has a slightly easier name and quite the loveable-ish personality. The Crown Prince of Adarlan (that I want to call Aslan but that’s not right….) whose father is a basically a fantasy version of Napoleon (but with a better physique) mildly rebels by picking Celaena (points: 3) to be his nominee in The Champion Games <- not the actual name as it’s a secret competition, but it does have a nice ring to it. He loves books and dogs.. for the most part.. and treats Celaena well even when she’s a grump-puss. Ladies like to fling themselves at him as if he were a chocolate buffet, but while we’re told he’s quite the ladies man, we don’t really see it as he has eyes only for… did you guess it? CELAENA (4 points for the blogger!)
Chaol, who I’m sure has a last name that I promptly forgot, is the Captain of the Guard… Westfall! Chaol Westfall. I looked up his title to make sure I wasn’t missing something and found his last name. *looks for cake. no cake. Rawr.* He’s…. not so loveable-ish? I know from bookstagram fangirling that there are people who adore him, so maybe his personality improves in later books, but he treats Celaena (FIVE POINTS) pretty roughly. To be fair, you probably should be suspicious of and on guard around the world’s best assassin, but it takes a LONG time for him to dethaw. Waaaaaay more so than Dorian even though Chaol spends waaaaay more time with her.
Nehemia is my favorite character, but I can’t really share anything without spoilers, except that she’s wicked smart and a perfect bestie for Celaena (aaaaaalmost got me there spelling! ALMOST).
The good stuff
- Quite the complex world building. THANK THE PUMPERNICKLE THERE’S A MAP!! We don’t get super complex descriptions of other cultures within the world outside of
AslanAdarlan and Eyllwe (Nehemia’s home.. and another thing I just misspelled 3 times…), but there’s plenty of political drama/background to build it up without bogging down the pace with lots of descriptive passages. (Aside from the obviously important details about food and clothing because ALL THE DETAILS)
- The Champion Games – while not as front and center as I expected, the variety of tests that Celaena (6!!) and the other possible Champions go through are really well thought out and were quite dramatic.
- DID I MENTION HOW MUCH FOOD THERE IS?!?!
- Solid girl friendship in the works – a lot of YA (and adult) books fall into the trap of girls who are friends running into jealousy or mistrust or who are really just not NICE to one another, but Nehemia and Celaena (Rawr. Misspelled that one >.<) don’t hit that particular pitfall. There are rough patches, but it’s never for too long.
The bad stuff
- The assassin this…. The Crown Prince that… The Captain of the Guard this… THE CHARACTERS HAVE NAMES, but there was SOOOOOOO MUCH of this!! Using this type of naming is fine in limited amounts, but I felt like I was being beaten over the head with their titles. (But yet, I still had to look up Chaol’s to make sure I had it right :/)
- Dude. The names. I’m pretty sure I recognized people/places for a good half of the book based on the first letter and last letter and the general context of the situation. PLUS THE SPELLING OMG THERE ARE SO MANY VOWELS. Adarlan, Eyllwe (which I still want to spell Ewylle.. and how do you even say that?!?!), Celaena (7!!!!!!!!), Chaol, Dorian, and many more. I appreciate the originality but at the same time my poor brain struggled with this.
- The conversation about unsociable dogs between Dorian, Nehemia and Celaena. Now, I don’t want to post anything spoilery, but these three were my FAVES of the book and the conversation in question BASICALLY SET DORIAN AND NEHEMIA BACK TO -50 on the liking scale. Chaol was beating them. <- impressive feat at that point as he wasn’t being nice either. In my copy, it’s pages 244-245 if you’d like to look it up. Dorian and Nehemia’s reactions in this conversation don’t really FIT with the rest of what we see from them.. so I’m wondering if the whole point was to a) let Celaena (8! WHERE IS MY CAKE?!?!) have a reason to get a pet and/or b) show another good side to her readers? I don’t know the answer to that, but IT MADE ME VERY UNHAPPY.
- The romance…. meh. There’s a love triangle. Not my favorite thing in the world, but nor did I believe much in their feelings. This may have also been because a lot of the conversation felt a bit… stilted. Not all of it by any stretch of the picnic basket, but I definitely remember glossing over some bits because the dialogue sounded fake in my head. But this also could be because I was expecting Rhysand in all his gloriousness.
What is your favorite book in this series?? Have you read it?? WHAT WOULD YOU SCORE IF YOU WROTE A POST FEATURING CELAENA’S NAME?!?! (RAWR no extra point for me. Lol)