Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas (author website | blog)
Release Date: August 2nd 2012 by Bloomsbury Australia
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
My Rating:1 star2 star3 starHalf star

Blending elements of fairytale, folklore and fantasy, Sarah J. Maas’ debut, Throne of Glass, is a Cinderella story with a twist. A rather dark and deadly one...

From Goodreads:
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?

The Story

Twelve months in the dreaded, deadly salt mines of Endovier have not been kind to Celaena Sardothien—but she has not been forgotten. Then again, few were likely to forget the land’s most lethal assassin. Celaena knows her death from the hard labour, freezing winters and brutal beatings won’t be long, but then she’s given an offer she can’t refuse, by none other than the Crown Prince himself: compete against two-dozen hired thugs, criminals, assassins and thieves. Compete and win, and become the King’s Champion. Be free.

Celaena joins the secretive competition, and quickly adjusts to a new life of luxury and comfort in the Palace. She forms unlikely friendships with Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall, and the Crown Prince himself, Dorian. But as fellow champions start turning up gruesomely mutilated, Celaena discovers the competition is not her only concern...

The 101

Beautiful and deadly, meet Celaena Sardothien: girl assassin. Beautiful, deadly, and remarkably girly, Celaena is Adarlan’s most feared assassin—and rather obsessed with clothes. She’s a strange, lovely mix of innocent and worldly, lethal and gentle, cultured and brash. She’s also alarmingly cocky, but it’s based in the sound knowledge she truly is as good as she believes. While much of Throne of Glass is dedicated to the maneuverings of court life, and the subtle, Celaena shines when she’s doing what she does best: kicking ass. A fabulous feminist role-model, Celaena shows that badassery doesn’t have to come at the cost of femininity. However, at times I wished she’d take her future and position more seriously than she did the stitching on her dress, or the state of her hair.

Those coming into Throne of Glass expecting the typically ‘epic’ from the epic fantasy—the Heroic Battles and Valiant Quests and Noble Companions—may be surprised. Instead we have glass castles, mysterious puzzles and cryptic Elvin ghosts. Not to mention a heroine who can kill you with her bare hands faster than you can blink. Perhaps the greatest key to appreciating Throne of Glass is acknowledging its origins. Though Maas grants it has come a long way since, she explains the idea for Throne of Glass came when she asked herself, “What if Cinderella was an assassin, and went to the ball not to dance with the prince, but to kill him?” While the resulting story bears little in mind with the fairytale now, the influence is there, from the beautiful dresses and balls, to the charming princes.

Charming as those princes are, and as lovely the gowns, it’s less the haberdashery and couture, but the action and the bigger picture that are Throne of Glass’ strongest draw. Maas’ world is magnificent, from the shining glass castle and its labyrinthine hallways, to Adarlan’s war-torn towns and forbidden forests still whispering memories of magic long since vanished. The world of Throne of Glass is rich, vivid, brimming with tales to be told. But... I longed for more action, more from Celaena, more of the mystery, and the players’ motivations; more of the magnificent world it all takes place in. Maas teases in Throne of Glass, showing glimpses of what will come to pass, what Celaena is truly capable of, but never so much that I felt truly satisfied.

The Verdict

Throne of Glass was certainly not what I expected when confronted with the words ‘fantasy’, ‘assassin’ and talk of deadly competitions. But with a lethal girl-heroine, magnificent world building and deadly mysteries, it’s no less exciting. It boasts warm, layered characters, rich histories and remarkable detail, all of which promise a thrilling adventure as the series unfolds. Compelling, rich and beautifully detailed, I can’t wait to see what Celaena does next.

Want it? Get it:


An enormous thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for providing a review copy of Throne of Glass!

29 comments:

  1. Great review, Sarah! I was SO excited for this book, mostly because they said it was a YA book that had a Game of Thrones-like world which I was totally sold on. This book, however, disappointed me just a tiny little . . . but I still really enjoyed it. Especially those two yummy boy love interests!

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    1. My sentiments EXACTLY, Erin! I went into it expecting GoT type EPIC fantasy. I was a little dissapointed, but it was more because I had the wrong expectation--I wish I'd known the Cinderella inspiration BEFOREHAND, but I still REALLY enjoyed it :)

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  2. :) Fantastic review Sarah! I really can't wait to read this book! Hopefully as soon as it comes out tomorrow (well today in australia)
    I really love the sound of this world, and a great girl assassin who is also girly! Thanks for the info on how this story was originally based on cinderella.

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    1. Thank Rachel! I seriously hope you love it--I loved the Cinderella idea, but I wish I'd known before I read. It altered my expectations :)

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  3. Ohh, I love that she is an assassin and so girly! It totally adds something interesting and unexpected to her character. No matter how many reviews I read, I still don't quite know what to expect from this book, but your review just convinced me that I need to find out asap. I prefer puzzles over epic battles so I think it might be right up my alley.
    Wonderful review.

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    1. I seriously hope you love it, Maja! I think I went in expecting heavy, dark fantasy. It has elements, but it's also quite a girly story, because, well, Celaena's a girly girl--it just happens she's one who can kill you with her eyes closed ;D

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  4. FYI, you wrote in release date as DATE. :P I didn't read your review, only because I'll be reading this soon and I want to go into it with a relatively fresh mind. Of course, since I've been anticipating it for a while now, my expectations of it are wayyy up there. Plus I'm liking her e-novellas so far.

    ...I'll be back. How badass is that cover? I can't stop picking up my copy whenever it's nearby. Can you say UK wins?

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    1. Ugh. Seriously, thank you. Fixed. I hope you love it, Cass! The cover is BADASS. I'm seriously looking forward to book two, 'cos I think we're gonna see a lot more of that side of Celaena :)

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  5. Woot! Woot! I'm reading the novellad and it's so addictive!

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    1. Still need to read them, but EEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

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  6. I like how you say "girl-heroine" because despite the fact that she's a bad ass assassin she's still such a girl and I LOVED that above everything else!

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    1. YES YES YES! Exactly! Thanks, Danny! ♥

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  7. Lovely review, Sarah! I agree that Celaena was definitely an interesting mix of different qualities. I never quite expected a deadly assassin to be so girly, but I really enjoyed her nonetheless. I'm eager to read the next book now! :)

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    1. Thanks, Sam! I'm SO excited for book 2! Celaena has so much... promise in this book, and it seems like it's leading seriously exciting places for book 2!

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  8. Awesome review, Sarah! This sounds nothing like what I expected, and actually makes me more excited to read it! So looking forward to this! Thanks for the review! :)

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    1. I so hope you love it, Jo! Actually, I seriously think you will :D

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  9. You are disgustingly GOOD, Sarah. *carefully picks out your brain and sticks it in my head* I command your talent! MINE!

    You know I didn't totally love this, but you've actually made me remember more of what I DID enjoy and I kinda love what you say here: "Celaena shows that badassery doesn’t have to come at the cost of femininity." <3

    Still, even though my love doesn't reach the epic level of some, I think Sarah has a ton of talent and potential to woo me over more completely in the sequel. And.. um... honestly? Your effing review makes me want to go back and give the book another read. SEE? DISGUSTINGLY GOOD, YOU ARE!

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    1. I'll swap you with brainies? I WANT YOURS O___O
      "Sarah has a ton of talent and potential to woo me over more completely in the sequel."

      THIS. I mean, you know I still really enjoyed it, but I'm REALLY wanting that sequel--very high expectations :D

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  10. I totally agree about the thinking-more-about-the-future-instead-of-the-dresses thing but I somehow love that part of Celaena. SHe is so girly and in some ways, immature. I like that she is not perfect and that her young age is reflected in this. Of course there are many 17 years old girls who are very mature, but I don't remember being one of them XDDD. I guess I relate to Celaena in a way XDD LOL!

    Wonderful review my dear!! like always, your writing is so rich! you can describe your thoughts so clearly!! <3 Muah!!

    Hope you are doing awesome!

    take care ^.^

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  11. BEAUTIFUL REVIEW. I've got this one on my shelf and will be reading it soon :) I don't read much fantasty and my expectations aren't very high, so I'm hoping to be blown away! I'm very intrigued by the fact that Celaena, who is a badass assassin, is super girly... This makes me even more curious! A girly assassin? A Cinderella vibe? HECK YES. :D

    As always, fabulous review! <3

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  12. You had me at assassin. I want NOW.

    Cinderella as an assassin, it just can't get better than that. I don't mind that Celaena is kind of girly and deadly at that same time. I like that quirk.

    I must read this, like yesterday.

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  13. Sold! This is definitely my kind of book. Cinderella as an assassin? Pure genius. I recently had to put down Cinder by Marissa Meyer because it wasn't my thing so this book will be my retelling substitute!

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  14. Such a beautiful review; thank you very much for sharing!
    I've heard so many good things about THRONE OF GLASS already, but I think it's your review that makes me actually want to buy a copy. Thank you!

    Carina
    Fictional Distraction

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  15. I just reviewed this book on my blog, too! I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed it. THRONE OF GLASS was definitely not I was expecting either, and though the competition sort of reminded me of THE HUNGER GAMES, it turned out to be much, much different. The characters were great, too!

    Lovely review as usual, Sarah!

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  16. I am reading this tomorrow!! Can't peek at your review just yet. Love you gave it 4 stars!!!

    Awesome!!

    Mich

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  17. After reading a few reviews where the blogger was disappointed, I'm thrilled to see a positive review! I've been dying to read this book and I hope it pleases me when I get the chance to read it.

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  18. This is one of those books that caught my attention the second I heard about it. I'm excited to read it and see what all the fuss is about!

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  19. I am intrigued, though I wonder if possibly I would be extremely tempted to shoot her for going into detail about stitching :)

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  20. Haha, I've been reading this all over the place! Everyone seems a little taken aback by just how GIRLY the MC is and I think I would be too! It's AWESOME like you said that she doesn't have to sacrifice that for her "feminism" but still... not exactly what I picture the most lethal assassin to behave like!

    Still, this book sounds pretty amazing! It's a shame about the underwhelming action aspect but maybe the next book will feature more of that? Phenomenal review AS ALWAYS... Are you ready to give up that brain of yours yet?

    Sonia

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