Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Mass
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Pages: 404
Published: August 7, 2012
Buy it: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N |
Rating: 4.5/5
Throne of Glass
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 three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. 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.

Throne of Glass is one of those novels I found myself drawn to immediately as I started reading it. I thought the premise was interesting, though Celaena was obviously arrogant in her skill, it was quite interesting and fun to read. I also just love reading about badass female characters like Celaena. I thought that overall, this book was a very good way to introduce us to the characters, to the big villain they're fighting against, and the world that they live in. Honestly, I think it could've stood on its own without any sequels, but I heard they're just as good as Throne of Glass.

While I was reading the book, I really came to enjoy Mass's use of somewhat period writing as well as some modern writing. It's not entirely Game of Thrones medieval writing, but it's not entirely contemporary YA writing either and I think Mass did a really great job at balancing the two. I personally love both styles of writing in their own right, but I found that GoT really tired me out by the end of the first novel, so having that kind of balance really made it somewhat easier to read and kind of a more quicker read given the fact that this was a whopping 400 pages.

The characters, oh the characters. I really enjoyed how we got to see all sides of Celaena and she didn't only stay as this static "I'm totally badass and can kill you in two seconds" kind of character that is really easy to do, just as Dorian and Chaol weren't total tropey and static characters as they could've been. We get to see all sides of them--well maybe 2/3 of Chaol--and we get to see how they change in over...six months I think. The only character I really have a complaint about is Kaltain. She was kind of the typical, power hungry female character that I see a lot and that was really all she was, which was kind of disappointing and I didn't really feel anything towards her character at all. Whether or not this is on purpose, I'm not so sure.

One thing I really, really, really liked about this book was how the romance was written. You guys know how much I almost despise the insta love trend that seems to plague YA. Throne of Glass, in my opinion, shows how to do it right. You can see the love triangle a mile away, but there's a buildup and there's a lot of intimacy that's written in and there's a lot of characters warming up to each other. Some of the scenes between the characters were just downright adorable and I couldn't help but smile at it. This is how I feel that romance should be written in YA. It's kind of the main reason I read a lot of shojo manga (manga aimed at middle/high school girls), they always have this slow buildup even though you can sense the relationship a mile away and that's what I love about romance stories.

In the end, I really enjoyed Throne of Glass and managed to finish the book within about two days--which is kind of surprising given my schedule. I thought the world building was pretty solid, though I'm sure I'm going to get more the farther I go into the series. I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters. I was on the edge of my seat reading the battle scene in the end and though what happens is a total deus ex machina, I still really liked it. I'm actually kind of upset I got into the series this late in the game.

This book was a really fun ride and I'm definitely going to try and follow the series.