10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2014
Throne of Glass focuses on a young woman named Celaena Sardothien. She has been imprisoned for her crimes against the crown – she is the youngest and most deadly assassin the land has ever seen. But after getting caught and given a life sentence to work in a salt mine, she is given the chance at redemption. Participate in a contest to become the King’s Champion, and her freedom will be granted, but then she must work for the king she despises. Celaena must fight to win the competition and her freedom.
This book seems very much to have divided opinion, it has hundreds of fans, but many people have said the book just wasn't for them. I for one enjoyed it, particularly because it is so easy to fall into, I definitely stayed up longer than I should have done reading it, and it’s the sort of story you continue to think about long after you've put it down. Immediately I was hooked! There’s plenty of mystery and intrigue, especially towards the second half of the story in which the various contenders begin to mysteriously die. There’s plenty of sword fighting, magic and romance to appeal to every kind of reader. The story flows well and it’s a very easy read it. The characters are written very well, although I will admit that the arrogance of the protagonist did get a little grating. One of the things I particularly enjoyed is the clever ways in which Maas demonstrates Celaena’s skills. Practically anything can be a weapon and there are some really great scenes where even a hairpin gets her out of trouble.
A large chunk of the story also focuses on the love triangle between Celaena, Dorian and Captain Westfall. If you aren't a fan of this sort of story arc, then perhaps I’d stay clear of this one. Although a large part of the 400 odd page story is focused on the love triangle, it doesn't take away from the story, and I for one wasn't as bothered by it as I have been with previous young adult series.
I recently also read a novelette set previously to this story – The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, it’s a pretty quick read but it’s really interesting if you’re enjoying the series so far. The story is set before Celaena gets caught and is sent to broker a deal with an infamous pirate lord. It highlights that while Celaena is deadly, she has a very strong moral compass and she stands up for others. Overall Throne of Glass is a really enjoyable read and I would love to see more scenes in which Celaena actually assassinates people, the story being focused on the contest leaves little room for that, but with a second book already out and a third coming September 2nd I’m sure there’s plenty more of that on the cards, a highly addictive young adult read.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2012
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas received some pretty spectacular reviews prior to its recent release. Based upon these reviews, I went out and purchased a paper copy of the book, something I rarely do as I usually purchasing ebooks. My bookshelves are reserved for keepers and based upon the reviews I figured Throne of Glass would be a keeper. Unfortunately Throne of Glass didn't live up to the hype. Whilst it wasn't a bad book or anything like that, I was disappointed.
Throne of Glass tells the story of Celaena Sardothien a master assassin who has been imprisoned as a slave in a salt mine following a betrayal. Celaena has survived for a year in the brutal environment of the salt-mine where the average life expectancy is1 month. Her life is pretty bleak when the crown prince of Adarlan offers her a chance of freedom. If she competes and wins a competition to become the Kings Champion, she will eventually gain pardon and her freedom. The stinger is, should she fail, she will be returned to the salt-mines, plus her competition are the most gifted thieves and assassins in Adarlan.
My biggest gripe with Throne of Glass was the inconsistencies with both the world and the characters. Celaena was a mass of contradictions. She's billed as a master assassin with a heart of ice and a will of steel but I found her to be a teenager girl fixated on the cute guys surrounding her instead of her rather awful situation. Yes, she's a kick-ass fighter but she's also pretty soft hearted. According to the story, she has lived a difficult life but IMO I thought it had little impact on her - she opens up emotionally to those who have imprisoned her quite easily and wants to believe the best of her friends. Surely, such a difficult life would affect Celaena's ability to trust.
The lack of chemistry between the leads disappointed me. And to honest, I didn't particularly like the prince. He's almost like a spoilt child. I don't like to ruin plot details for readers, so I won't go into specifics but I thought he was weak. Also a pretty one dimensional villain didn't help.
All in all, I loved the premise of the story but I was disappointed with the execution. I've previously read some pretty brilliant books that are somewhat similar, so perhaps these spoilt me.
My Rating: 6/10
76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2012
I've been waiting for this book to be released since I read some of it on FictionPress.com more than 5 years ago. If its original hook of 'What if Cinderella had been sent to the ball to kill the prince?' had been kept, it would have made things a lot simpler. It's a great read, but not quite for the reasons it's been hyped up to be. It's an action-packed coming-of-age romance set in a fairytale world, with all the intrigues, impossibilities and archetypes that that implies.
If you like that sort of thing, buy this book. If you read and liked the original version, buy this book. You're guaranteed to love it, so I'm going to write this review for people who don't know what to expect and who are a bit hesitant or sceptical. If you believe the hype and nothing else, you might find the story a bit too much, but if you go in knowing what you should REALLY expect, you'll find it an enjoyable, perceptive, read.
The facts are these. Celaena Sardothien, previously Assassin of Adarlan, is retrieved from prison camp by Captain Chaol Westfall, to represent Crown Prince Dorian in a tournament devised by his father, the despotic king of Adarlan, to find a Royal Champion. If she succeeds, Celaena will be the king's personal assassin for 4 years before being pardoned and freed. But as well as winning the competition, there is something evil lurking in the glass castle, that Celaena must destroy...
Now, what makes Celaena a fairytale heroine rather than a kick-ass warrior? She not only boasts the status of greatest assassin (and when I say boasts, I mean: Celaena herself boasts, and then some), she also happens to be a stunning 18-year-old girl, complete with a blurry past, a sense of honour that (she feels) distinguishes her from street criminals, and a dislike of corsets that (she feels) distinguishes her from backstabbing courtly ladies. 19-year-old Prince Dorian is THE stereotypical exception to the rule: he's a pampered, unassertive idealist, but his pseudo-scholarly charm is a great threat to Celaena's would-be populist prejudices! Proof of their shared exceptional status? THEY LIKE TO READ.
Luckily, once you're armed against these two rather insufferable personages, the book is actually a lot more intelligent than it sounds. Celaena and Dorian are off-set by the exceptional Chaol (the Captain), who alone makes the book worth reading, and Nehemia, a visiting princess from a conquered land. Chaol - totally un-archetypal and instantly likeable, even if it's ridiculous that he made it to Captain at 22 - persistently reminds Dorian that he's a privileged prince whether he claims to like it or not, and Nehemia is learned and captivating, a grounding influence on Celaena whose naive self-righteousness might otherwise have been unbearable. It's also quite bold to give the characteristic, undiluted arrogance of the villain to the heroine. Celaena's constant bragging is vindicated by her struggle to make her weakened body match up to her own glorious notions about her abilities, and by Chaol's faith in her, reluctant but 100% sincere. And surprisingly enough considering both the genre and the characters, the romantic element of the book is extremely well played.
I won't go into the pros and cons of the story because the plot followed the pattern of 'I can see what's coming from a mile away but I still can't put it down'. As for the writing, it's full of vivid descriptions, plain but acute characterisation, and some extremely witty remarks and exchanges. There were occasional anachronisms, and the inevitable, but still depressing, 'from whence'; but overall, the book is charmingly written. The author has talent and a likeable style, and this is a novel she started when she was 16; I expect she'll become a real gem of YA Fantasy with her subsequent books.
Like I said, if you like character-driven fairytales, buy this book, you're guaranteed to love it. If you don't HATE them, it's still worth a try for its perceptive take on its own clearly defined genre. The story's origins are betrayed by the fact that its view of its well-drawn world, with an empire in chaos, is limited to the perspective of beautiful, important people (and by the 'glass' retained in the title, which is, otherwise, not very relevant), but that shouldn't, and doesn't, condemn it. As infuriating as the characters may sometimes be, and despite the obvious plot, this is a pretty accurate portrayal of what Good But Flawed people at the top are likely to feel. I won't lie, it's not for people who can't stomach characters who are superior to their peers in class, motives and ability; but for people who are interested in the struggles of characters in that situation, this take on it is deceptively resonant.
The characters that drive this story are ridiculously young, but the book knows that, and gives them room to grow, and learn. If I could give this 3 and a half stars I would, because it's far more than average, but it clearly needs its subsequent instalments to round itself off perfectly - as far as I recall, the original story really got going after the tournament. But that isn't to say I didn't enjoy this book, because I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting. It's a promising and charming introduction to an ambitious series, and I for one am certainly interested to see where Celaena will be going next.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2013
I did enjoy reading this book, and finished it quite quickly, but there is a feeling that it could have been much better.
With the entire premise being about a female assassin, and a tournament to find the new "Kings Champion", I expected chapters full of violence and tension, exciting fight scenes and spectacular deaths.
So I was disappointed when the book turned out to be more of a teen romance than anything else, with the protagonist spending most of her time thinking about love interests and pretty items than the fight that was supposed to be ahead. As it turns out there is hardly even a fight at all, and most of the contestants are eliminated in basic and dull tests like rock climbing and archery.
That's not to say that there's no real storyline, because there is an ongoing plot of murder and evil found throughout, but again it's overshadowed by the romantic and girly elements for the majority of the time. The big revelation about "who and what" was behind the murders, which I feel the author intended to be shocking, was really quite a non-event because to me it had been obvious what was happening from about six chapters beforehand. At times it felt like the intelligence of the reader was being underestimated by the author, as in some places such blatant explanation just wasn't necessary.
The world of Erilea appeared to have potential, but none of it was explored other than in brief memories or anecdotes from other characters.
I also found that once I'd finished I didn't feel emotionally attached to any of the main characters, I simply didn't care what happened to any of them because I had been tired of the love triangle as soon as it was hinted at in the first few chapters. The supporting character of Nehemia, the rebel princess, was much more interesting and I felt that her personality would have been far more fitting for "Celaena, the worlds greatest assassin" than the overly feminine one that the reader is subjected to.
In short, it's not a bad book, but if you're expecting an action/adventure novel in the style of The Lord of the Rings or even The Hunger Games, this really isn't the right one for you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 August 2014
So I've been staring at my screen for days no trying to review this, not because I didn't enjoy it, but the opposite. When I first read The Fault In our Stars, it was so hard to review it because how could I truly put into words what had gripped me about the book? how could I review it and say anything that hasn't been said before? the answer is I couldn't. When I first started to read Throne of Glass I knew very early on that I was going to have problems reviewing it, and boy was I right.
High fantasy wasn't a genre I really took notice of, that was until a while ago. I've always had a very soft spot in my heart for fantasy, slowly but surely though I'm starting to ride the high fantasy train, and it's books like these that are pushing me on it. Normally when a book is hyped up I'm very cautious because I expect so much, though this book was hyped up to the max, it's completely justified because this book had me hooked from start to finish.
One thing I loved the most about this book was the characters. Each one, no matter how big or small a role they played in the book, had their own personalty and story. Each one was needed and the sub character were in no way overshadowed or forgotten about. But the main characters? just shut up. There isn't a single thing I could say about them that would come across as negative. One of the hardest things for me to find these days when it comes to the fantasy genre is a strong female lead. (if you can recommend me a book you think has one, I'm happy to have a look at them) Celaena is one hell of a girl, we are promised a female assassin in the summary and boy does Sarah J. Maas deliver. She was a strong minded, hot headed at times, deadly 18 year old and I loved reading about her. I think one of the things I loved the most about her was that even though she had a lot to complain about, she wasn't a woe is my type. She got on with it, which is a lot more than I could have done haha.
And lets not forget our leading males. Though I loved Choal more than I loved Dorian, they both were such likable and at times relatable characters. They were well thought out, well developed and just all around brilliant. I loved the playfulness of Choal while still acting professional, I loved how Dorian knew he was good looking and desirable and flaunted it at times, I just loved them both.
And of course we can't have a book without some sort of romance right? well this yet again got high marks for me. Everything about it was subtle, with a slow build up. They weren't fighting one minuet and clutching at each other the next. I suppose you could say there is a bit of a love triangle in this book, one that at first isn't exactly obvious. It isn't over done, it doesn't take over anything else or overshadow what would be the main romance and there isn't a stupid competition between the two males for Celaena's attention. It was such a mature love triangle. She wasn't bouncing between the two either, she didn't declare her love for one only to go running to the next, and from the time the triangle became apparent there was no real indication as to who she would end up with or who she had the stronger feelings for.
The only thing I would say about this book is the trails in my opinion could have been a little harder, given what was at stake. I know that towards the middle of the book the story was more focused on what was going on in between trails then the trails itself, but as the first book is about her may or may not working for the king, I still feel like they could have been more to them. (and I could be the only one on that)
Overall, as you can tell, I really liked this book. I can't wait to see what happens next and I'm so excited for the rest of the series that is looking to be a rather long one, and if it isn't then I'm thankful for the plethora of novella's to keep me going for a while. The book is over 400 pages, and I wasn't bored once. Well done Sarah, well done.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Doesn't the description and blurb of Throne of Glass sound amazing? YES! Did Throne of Glass live up to expectations and hype? HELL NO!
I have to admit I was sorely disappointed in this book. Instead of a tough, fight for your life tournament filled with badass criminals and assassins, you get a watered down sports day, an awkward love triangle and the preliminary tests for Miss World!!
Celaena had the potential to be one of the strongest female characters in YA books, she could have even rivaled Katniss from Hunger Games and Tris from Divergent, BUT, she's too cocky, shallow, and just plain unlikeable.
The author spends way too much time telling me how deadly Celaena is, but not nearly enough time actually showing her in action or demonstrating her dangerous skills. There was also too much focus on her many ball gowns, various hairstyles and general moaning how she's not pretty enough to have any real depth in the book.
The only things that saved this from being a one or two star review were the scenes with the elven queen and her powers, and the battle at the end of the book. We finally get to see a some action sequences from Celaena, and a glimpse of what she should have been through the whole book. Although an action packed ending doesn't make up for the rest of the book, it did make me glad I didn't give up halfway through.
I highly doubt I'll ever read the sequels in the series though. Honestly, I was expecting Game of Thrones type action, when what I actually got was more Disney princess.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Celaena is the world's best assassin but after getting caught she spends a year in the mines of Endovier, a place where most don't survive beyond a few months. She's given a chance of life. She must fight as the Crown Prince's champion and, if she wins the contests and defeats her opponents she'll become the King's Champion and will be freed after a few years of service. To make matters worse someone is killing off the Champions! We follow Celaena from her removal from the mines to the great glass castle of the King where she slowly befriends guards, makes close friendships with Nehemia (a Princess from another Kingdom) and even falls in love. The most interesting thing about this book is the contest of the champions, the tests they must suffer through and the end duels that the winners have to fight. Bizarrely the focus is instead on the love triangle between the main character and the Captain of the guard and the Crown Prince. None of the characters (bar Nehemia) are very interesting at all and its even more disappointing that this so-called assassin acts more like a silly teenage girl, going on about her appearance, boys and dresses. The amount of times people manage to scare the assassin by their sudden appearance (even sitting next to her at one point without her noticing) is frankly stupid. The author appears to believe she's written a strong female character but in reality Celaena is no such thing. She's frightened all the time and there's simply not enough emphasis on her skills as a fighter and on her stealth abilities. I simply didn't believe Celaena was a assassin, she talks about killing people in the past and has this silly arrogance about her but its all show and no substance and it makes the story seem juvenile. This is also the case with the dialogue which is at times very bad, awkward flirting scenes between Celaena and her love interests that the book could of done without. There's no doubt the book is too long, 50 pages could easily have been cut and the book would have been all the better for it. The question of magic and the mysterious marks that appear with the bodies of the murdered Champions aren't given enough attention and while I suspect this will be elaborated on in the next book the lack of detail is frustrating. I kept reading the book because the actual story is quite intriguing and I was content to ignore the stupid romance sub-plot that really shadows everything else far too much. As the book draws to an end things start looking hopeful, revelations abound and I'm hoping that in the next book Celaena will actually start to behave like the strong powerful fighter she's meant to be.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I was hoping for this to be an enjoyable and gripping YA thriller along the lines of The Hunger Games or Divergent, but I was very disappointed. I found this novel almost unreadable, and had to struggle to get to the end. The central concept - a trained female assassin who has been put to prison labour for the last year enters a contest to win her freedom and become the King's Champion - seemed promising, as I love contests and tests in fiction. However, I've concluded that the sheer unpleasantness of the protagonist, assassin Celaena Sardothien, scuppers this idea in its tracks. Celaena was so arrogant and ridiculous about her own skills, I couldn't warm to her - and although I considered that this might be a deliberate device by author Sarah J. Maas to create a flawed heroine, this seemed unlikely for two reasons. Firstly, there never seems to be any attempt to paint Celaena's selfishness as a real flaw - the characters she opposes are supposedly undeserving and silly, and the other characters gradually warm to her. Secondly, Celaena's flaws would have made her a terrible assassin, as she seems determined to flaunt her own abilities at all times, chafes about taking on a disguise as a jewel thief rather than being able to boast about her infamous reputation, and laughs at the idea of using poison as a weapon. None of this seems particularly promising for a career based on secrecy. Aside from Celaena, I felt that the book was poorly-written as a whole; one particular irritant was the incredibly short chapters, which needlessly broke the narrative up, even in the middle of action scenes such as Celaena's scaling of the palace. Not recommended, and I would suggest checking out Tamora Pierce's classic Protector of the Small series instead for a better training narrative featuring a female protagonist.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2013
There seems to have been a mini-trend recently for full-blown high-fantasy (rather than the more traditional paranormal) aimed at a broadly female and teenage market. I've read several of these sorts of books recently - Seraphina, Shadow and Bone, and Smoke and Bone (yes, the last two are different books!) and really enjoyed them, but these book was by far the weakest of the four. There was nothing actively wrong with it and nothing that wowwed me. Plot, characters, prose - it was all just okay, readable but instantly forgettable.
The plot revolves around Celaena, a young female assassin who's released from captivity in a hellish salt mine to compete to the death against various other murderers and thieves to become the champion of the despotic king. The main focus of the book is the months long death match, but there's also a romantic subplot (both the Crown Prince and the Captain of the Guards have a thing for her) and a plot around something evil stirring in the castle and portals to other dimensions.
I quite liked Celaena. She combines toughness, vulnerability and a taste for pretty dresses. Most heroic fantasy tends to have its heroes start from scratch. I thought the cleverest part of the book was making Celaena someone who's already become famous as an assassin but has since hit rock bottom and lost most of her physical fitness and mental drive. The author didn't shy away from showing her throwing up when she ate a proper meal after months or starvation, or struggling to keep up on a run. Unlike many similar characters, I thought that most of her decisions made sense, though at times I became frustrated with her refusal to share her suspicions and worries with people.
I've always said that I have a high tolerance for "Mary-Sue" type characters - I'd rather read about someone who is extraordinary than someone who is mediocre - but I've got to admit that at times Celaena tested even my patience. Fair enough, she had to be an amazing fighter for the competition and she (arguably) had to be beautiful for the love story, but did she also have to be a brilliant piano player and a great dancer? Also, she loves to read, but to me, this felt as though it had been shoehorned in to make her more sympathetic to readers and it didn't quite work.
The main weakness however was the romance. I just had zero interest in either of the two options and I didn't feel any real chemistry between them and Celaena, or any real tension between the two of them over who would end up with her.
The other plots were competently handled and quite fun in places, but I just felt like everything here had been done better elsewhere. Just because there's a kick-ass heroine and a love triangle, it doesn't mean that a book automatically has to feel clichéd. Shadow and Bone covered similar ground and made it feel fresh and new. But here, the plot just seems a bit old. It didn't help that I didn't really enjoy the author's writing style.
I think that this is much more squarely suited to teen girls than some of the similar books I mentioned, which seem to have more cross-over appeal - not that there's anything wrong with that, but if you're an older YA fan, consider yourself warned.
Despite my fairly critical review, I'd cautiously recommend this to people who like the genre and are in the target audience. It's a vaguely entertaining way to while away a few hours, just don't expect anything that amazing or new. And if you haven't read them yet, I'd recommend trying one of the other books in this genre before resorting to this. I'm probably not going to bother with the sequel.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2013
I picked up this book on a recommendation without really knowing what to expect from it beyond the basic storyline. Overall, I think I liked and disliked it in equal measure.
The storyline of Throne of Glass is solid, if not exactly ground breaking, and it moves along at a fast enough pace to keep you entertained throughout. The author does a good job of drawing you in to this fantasy world and the characters for the most part are well rounded and likeable, with one glaring exception; the lead character, one Celaena Sardothien.
We're assaulted to the point of annoyance with reminders of how wonderful Celaena is; how beautiful, witty and charming she is, not to mention the world's greatest assassin at the age of about 18. She also apparently practices the kind of waif-fu that allows tiny teenage girls to take down groups of burly men at least twice their size without so much as breaking a nail. However the writer doesn't offer up much evidence to support this. Calaena comes across as being, well, a bit of an idiot quite frankly. An idiot who can throw a punch, but an idiot none the less. Aside from falling for the poisoned wine glass trick again (as happened in one of the mini prequels), giving her mortal enemy not 1 but 3 people to use against her in later installments (which itself is asinine after the events of the last prequel) and seeming to spend most of her time fawning over pretty dresses, jewellery and the various men who cross her path, for someone who is supposed to be a master assassin, she is truly awful at concealing her identity. I think I may have given myself eye strain from rolling my eyes so much! For this reason, I struggled with the book (quite a lot at some points), aside from making for a pretty unlikable main character it smacked of juvenile and amateurish writing on the part of the author.
Overall, this is quite a strange book to review. I actually enjoyed reading it and blew through it one sitting, but the constant contradictions between the lead characters behaviour and what we're expected to believe about her were too much to swallow and pulled me out of the book on many occasions. I enjoyed the 4 mini-novellas that preceded Throne of Glass (maybe it's a case of "alright in small doses"), and will more than likely read any sequels, but hopefully the author will dial Calaena down a bit in the next one!