Throne of Glass
Sarah J. Mass
August 2nd 2012
Celaena Sardothien is a daredevil assassin with unrivalled fighting skills. After a year’s hard labour in the salt mines of the kingdom of Adarlan, Celaena is offered her freedom on one condition—she must fight as handsome Prince Dorian’s champion in a contest sponsored by the king, facing the deadliest thieves and assassins in the land in a series of set-piece battles in the country’s stunning glass palace. But there is more at stake than even her life—for Celaena is destined for a remarkable future...
I have been in a huge fantasy mood lately, because of a certain amazing TV show that I will not name for fear I'll get all sad about it having finished (Monday's suck now), so as soon as I got the email about Throne of Glass I leapt at the chance to read it. I always used to think I didn't like fantasy, but as with contemp, it turns out that I really do like it. A lot. Otherwise I wouldn't keep on reading it, now, would I! And Throne of Glass was all that I expected it to be: Bad-ass.
Initially, for about the first 10 odd pages, I guess, I thought that Calaena was really going to annoy me (I think she's going to annoy me most now though - worst thing about fantasy; annoying, hard to spell names...) because I guess she kind of came across as arrogant, but after a while you learn that a) there's a lot more to here beneath the bravado and b) you kind of like her self assurance! It's kind of weird reading about characters who know that they're attractive and aren't afraid to say about it, (which is pretty bad, and I guess it's also really bad that that's the main reason I didn't like her at first, but that's for another time) but I wasn't going to complain because she is really pretty and there's no shame in her knowing and flaunting that, and also because she's a freaking assassin. Like, the most famous assassin in her whole country. And she really is badass, in every single way. But not only that! Behold, she has a heart and human feelings too! And her loyalty, and how much she cared about her friends was one of my favourite things about her.
The love triangle was also fairly well done, and it didn't have me wanting to throw the book at the wall like most love triangles do, which is a bloody high compliment coming from me. For a while I was genuinely torn about who I wanted her to be with, though about half way through I realised who I was backing and that it wasn't exactly going in his favour, but the ending was leading up to a series SO WE SHALL SEE (because I am determined that she should not be with Dorian! I like him and all, it'd just be so complicated. Chaol all the way!) Another thing I really liked about it, though, was that even though they obviously liked her because she's pretty, they got to know her too, and it was actually a pretty slow building romance for all of them.
While the beginning and ending were jam packed with action, I did feel that the middle dragged a little and I found myself wanting to read more about the training sessions and the Tests, but it was all necessary to the plot because, well, it kind of was the plot! And after it really got into shape, I started to enjoy the whole discovering-what's-going-on-with-these-creepy-dead-bodies thing. And I know that they needed a break from the action to develop relationships, but still I think I would've preferred just the teeniest bit more. Saying that, I really enjoyed the more magical aspect of it, even though the Wyrdmarks weren't technically magical or anything, that was still really cool, and it added the perfect amount of darkness to the story.
The world building was really great in this book, and I really hope that in the next book we get see more of Adarlan and Erilea, and that it focuses more on the King and whatever he's up to, because what ever he is it's obviously bad. What is it with all these corrupt kings, eh? Why can't they just do stuff for the good of their people instead of because they have some sort of power complex! Oh well, wouldn't be a plot without them. But yeah, even though you hardly ever get to actually see places beyond the castles walls, you get a really good sense of the world it's set in, and the state of things and what's going on. Also, I sense lots of THINGS will happen in the next book! World buildy, evil king, people's rebellion kind of things. And I am excited because I love it when stories get put on to a bigger scale and they work! So I hope it'll work, and that it will go to the scale I'm predicting, otherwise I think I'll be a bit disappointed.
Throne of Glass is a must read for YA fantasy fans as it'll give you a whole new world to fall in love with, with awesome characters, and non-irritating love triangle, and a tiny bit of dark magic because what would any fantasy be without it! ;)