Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
So I've realized that when I write a review by just spilling my thoughts, it ends up being very messy and kind of all over the place. In order to remedy this, I am going to start using/ re-using my review format that I was using earlier in the year. This way, I can keep things straight and more concise and it won't read like a jumbled mess.
Celaena Sardothien, a notorious assasin, is taking place in a competition to be the King's Champion in order to win her freedom.
The Nitty Gritty
After a year of serving in the salt mines, Celaena is offered a deal by the Crown Prince of Adarlan, Dorian. If Celaena agrees to be Dorian's champion in a competition the king is hosting, she will be granted her freedom, after winning and serving for 4 years as the King's Champion. Celaena agrees and is brought to the castle where she is competing against the likes of soldiers, thieves, murderers and other assassins. Not long after, some of the champions are found dead and no one can figure out the why and how and who of the situation. Celaena has to solve the mystery before she ends up dead as well, all while trying to win the competition.
Celaena Sardothian- known notoriously as Adarlan's Assassin. She is a no-nonsense kind of girl who also happens to have an affinity for reading, candy, and clothes. Celaena was raised and trained by the King of Assassins from the age of eight when he found her on the verge of death. There is still much that is unkown about her and her past.
Dorian Havilliard- Crown Prince of Adarlan who comes off, initially, as a typical spoiled prince until you realize that he likes to read, loves dogs and is very much a romantic. Dorian is trying to get his father to take him more seriously which is why he chooses Adarlan's Assassin as his champion in the competition. Little did he expect that he would end up falling for her.
Chaol Westfall- Captain of the Royal Guard who has a hard shell, at least when it comes of Celaena, but there are definite hints of a softer center. Chaol trains Celaena during the course of the competition and in turn also develops an attraction to her.
For me, the ending can either make or break the entire story. A bad ending can change really tinge the rest of the novel. Fortunately, Throne of Glass, had a pretty good conclusion. It was by no means the best but I was pleased with it because it gave me a little taste of the things that I was wanting to see the entire novel. I wanted Celaena to really be an assassin and to live up to her reputation. Celaena basically spends the majority of the novel holding back on her abilities so as to stay under the radar. So, when she lets herself go, she is amazing! I was rooting for her more than ever before and after just that one scene she became the strong female character she was supposed to be all along. The other thing is that this series is supposed to be high fantasy but in this world the king has banned magic and ordered for all the fairies and fae to be killed. You can imagine how this could lead to a pretty low fantasy/no fantasy start to the book. There is more of a hint of fantasy and potential for it than anything else. After about half way through, there are a few more fantastical elements introduced but none are nearly as big as at the end.
The Overall Opinion
First of all, let me just say that I get it. I get the hype. I get the excitement. I get it all. I get it! Reading a book that is so talked about and hyped up always comes with the risk of disappointment. People build up the book so much that your expectations for it are through the roof and when you read and it doesn't quiet blow your mind, you're left feeling a little disappointed. My expectations for this book were really high and yet I was not disappointed (I might have wanted more in certain parts but I don't consider that disappointment).
The biggest criticism that I have is that I didn't feel like Celaena was the assassin that she was being built up as. She's supposed to be this notorious assassin who's name alone incites fear in people but I did not feel that at all. Celaena's character comes off as being a very normal girl who also happens to be a notorious assassin. While this might have been the point, that she is in fact a very normal girl who was brought into the world of assassins without a choice, it kind of bothered me and made me like her less than I wanted to. I expected her to be a total bad ass which, in my mind, doesn't involve an affinity for books, candy and clothes. There were points in the story where I had to remind myself that she is an assassin and a very dangerous one at that. I just really wanted her to be assassin-y.
I also did not like that Celaena develops more of a romantic relationship with Dorian rather than Chaol. I feel like it would have made more sense for it to be with Chaol because she spends so much time with him training and barely even sees Dorian. She has very little interaction with Dorian and hates the royal family yet she is able to develop a relationship with him pretty quickly. I get that Dorian is more open and friendly towards her while Chaol is much more serious but still...
There is so much that we don't know about the world and about Celaena but that is to be expected in book one of a series of six. My experience with high fantasy novels is that the second book is always better than the first. Once the foundation of the world is set the building can begin. This series has so much potential when it comes to story, characters and the world, in general. I fully expect that Sarah J. Maas will live up to her hype. Celaena can only get stronger from here and I can't wait to see where she goes and what she does. I'm hoping that both Celaena and the series soon make it onto my list of favorites.