Throne of Glass Book Review: The one with Assassins, Magic Ruins, and Royals

“You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”

Throne of Glass Book Review

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury USA Childrens | August 7, 2012

Pages: 432

Series: Throne of Glass Book 1 of 5

Genre: YA Fantasy

Format: ebook

Source: Own

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Shannan’s Summary

Celaena is given the chance of freedom from a work camp if she will compete to be the King’s champion.  Death is certain at the camp but she hates the king.  However freedom lies at the end of 6 years of servitude, and Celaena decides to take her chance with the king.  But the workcamp has made her week, and the competition is more trying than she anticipated.  But training is the least of her worries when someone starts killing off the contestants one by one.  Celaena is determined to get to the bottom of it before it’s her.

First Off…

My sister harassed me into reading this book.  

Thoughts as a Reader:

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book.  Once a book gets added to my TBR, I don’t reread the summary before I read the book.  So I go into most books blind.  However, it didn’t matter with this book because it had me from the beginning.  The assassin’s competition is a great new spin on the “death to the end” style story that has been popping up recently.  And it’s a strange one because even though all the people playing are “bad guys” you still care about some and at the same time think others deserve their fate.  Again, it’s the gray zone style story.

The story starts with Celaena being in a work camp and the prince offering her a way out through a competition to become the King’s Champion; aka assassin.  While Caelaena has no interest in helping the king, she knows her chances of escaping the work camp are slim, so she agrees, hoping to escape at her first chance.  While at the palace, she goes into training with Westfall, the captain of the guards, who is completely against her being there.  I loved all of the scenes with Westfall and Celaena, from their banter to their actual fights.  And it’s not done in a flirty insta-love kind of way.  It’s more two people that are just trying to figure each other out.  Westfall can’t understand how Celaena would become a world renowned thief and assassin.  Celaena doesn’t understand how Westfall could support such an evil king.

Everything seems to be going as planned until the murders start happening and the strange marks written around them.  These strange marks seem to show up around the palace as well, and supposedly, they have a connection to magic, which is illegal.  Caelaena decides since no one else seems curious about the marks, she would start learning their meaning, and maybe even discover the murderer.  The mystery of the magic still has me going.  I can’t wait to learn more about this piece of the world in the next books.

Maas develops a rich cast of characters through this book, major and minor, that make you want to know everything about them.  Celaena has a snarky wit about her, which I love.  But you can also tell she’s trying not to get hurt by caring too much, and you want to know why, and you want to see her open up to someone.  I liked that a true love triangle hasn’t formed.  There’s hints of it at the moment, but I like that Maas isn’t going for the insta-love method and will let the story between the three characters develop in a way where there truly are relationships. How those develop through the series, we’ll see.  The king is more of a minor character in how much the reader interacts with him, but his presence is thickly entwined to the other characters thoughts.  There are a couple other minor characters that still stick out in a way I know they will become more dominant as the series continues.

Thoughts as a Writer:

This book has a is a great first chapter.  My writers group talks almost every meeting about how to grab a reader from the beginning and this is a great example.  From the first sentence I was pulled in and wanted to know everything.  Maas does a great job stringing the reader along in a way where you’re always discovering something new and always being pulled along by something you want to discover.  And even with all the mystery of this book, it has a satisfying ending but still leaves enough questions that you want to immediately start the next book.

The way Maas develops the characters is well done.  Chaol has the quiet but stern demeanor of Captin of the Guard and Dorian the typical rich prince with no cares attitude, at least on the surface.  What is great is how they develop quickly into deeper characters, but it’s not through characters defending their personality or talking about their past necessarily.  Rather it’s through subtle interactions of how they react to their environments that develop the characters to more than a stereotype.  Which goes a lot to a “show don’t tell” writing ability.

In the End

I’m not sure why I didn’t pick this book up sooner.  Actually I know it’s because I didn’t want to have to wait for every book to come out, so I gave myself a little buffer.  But still.  I’ll be heading on to the second book soon.

10 Second Summary:

  1. In depth world: This world is new a different, and there’s still a lot the reader doesn’t know about it at the end of the first book, which is why there are a bunch more books.
  2. Characters: The characters are vivid and have great personality.  They really draw you into the story.
  3. Lot’s of action: I like that it’s a girl that likes to kick butt, is good at it, and has a little bit of an attitude.

Check the Shelf Review

Hardback, can’t wait to finish the series and have a lovely set on my shelves.

Want more books? Here are some like Throne of Glass:

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Snow Like Ash


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