Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
For those of you who have read my review of Queen of Shadows, you've kinda been spoiled for my review of this book - clearly, I love this series if I'm already knee-deep in the shit, right? :) Reading it for the second time, there are so many reasons to love this novel from the wonderful characters, to the expanding world to way the story was written. All reasons why I really vouched for this to be September's book of the month. I didn't want to be the only one obsessed. (And I'm not! I'm looking at you, Kristen, book twinsy <3)
Celaena Sardothien, the 17 year old deadliest warrior in the land, has spent the last year in the Salt Mines where prisoners are sent to die. When the Prince arrives with an offer, it's one she be a fool to refuse: compete as his participant in a competition to be the King's Champion thereby winning her freedom in a few years or die in the Mines. It's not a choice, but it's also not as simple as just winning.
The characters shine the brightest of all the stars. And I don't think the story's solely character driven, yet they leave a lasting impression. There's, of course, the arrogant yet still lovable Celaena "not taking none of your shit" Sardothein, along with an uber responsible Captain of the Guard with a heart of gold, a prince who will flirt and read books with you at the same time, and another princess that might be one of the strongest characters I've encountered in fiction in years. I like the diversity Maas weaves into this story in such an effortless and seamless way. It's so important but it's not stressed in a "hey, look at me over here, obligatory diversity" kind of way.
My only complaint is that I wanted more ferocity from this first installment (for the record, it's coming!). There were moments during reading where I found myself wondering "where is this bad ass assassin I was promised and why has she been replaced by this spoiled brat stuffing her face?" Then Celaena would hit me with something so truly kickass and I'd go "ahh, there she is!" while stuffing my face. When I think of assassin, I expect fighting and a few deaths and while Celaena definitely had moments where she showed me just how boss she could be, I like the gritty stuff and I wanted more.
Some reviews mention that Throne of Glass is a bit predictable. I do see what they are saying but I have to disagree with the idea that this should be held against the book or its rating. Saying too much here would ruin the book, I think (see my spoiler section below for my full thoughts). For now I'll say that although predictability can be an annoying feature of novels, for first books in a series I feel like an exception has to be made. Especially considering the fact that predictable or not, the excitement overshadows all of that!
If you are wondering whether you should start the Throne of Glass series, don't. You should. It's action-packed, mysterious, really fun, full of witty one-liners and characters you will want to invest your time into for volumes to come.
"Here's a lesson for you, Weapons Master," she said, stalking past him. "Give me real men to fight. Then maybe I'll bother trying."
"You could rattle the stars," she whispered. "You could do anything, if you only dared."
I don't have very much to say by spoilers simply because I don't want to slip up and talk about future installments (a series' story can sometimes bleed from one book into the next). I just wanted to comment on the predicability I mentioned earlier.
When you are beginning a series well into it's run or you know there will be multiple books released, it's obvious: the main character will live. I get that. I understand that in Throne of Glass it is obvious that Celaena will somehow defeat the darkness plaguing the castle, win the competition and become the Champion. But for a fantasy series like this one, it's not about being surprised by the setup, for that's essentially what the first book in any series is. The job of a series opener is to intrigue you enough to invest in the story and the characters despite the fact that you may know where it ends up momentarily. In my opinion, Throne of Glass does that and then some. It's my second time through and I'm still delighted by Celaena and the gang and the mysterious happenings in the castle. I like the story as it comes through Celaena's mistrustful yet hilarious psyche, Chaol's stern yet tenderhearted thoughts and Dorian's adorable banter. I may have known what was going to happen at the end, but I had no idea how. Watching Celaena make a new equally-kickass girlfriend that she desperately needed (one who is one of my favorite characters in the novel to this moment) was so heartwarming. Living vicariously through the Dorian-Celaena flirting made me smile. Reading about the morning runs from hell with Chaol, the huge bag of candy that she devoured and forgot to share, and all the different "tests" she passed not always with flying colors. I loved the how - getting to know these characters and this world and falling in love with it all.