on 14 February 2016
I read all the books and thought they were a cracking read. Fast paced and full of action. It is nice to see a female lead to encourage female readers into the fantasy genre but it is good for both genders (not that I think there's any split or should be). My one gripe is that whilst the main protagonist has gone through a lot of personal trauma to develop into the person she is, she just seems to be too perfect at everything for me to really like her. Also, her switch in love interests is none too pleasing - I'm a reader who likes old fashioned romance in the stories one love interest ending happily ever after. If I want realism and chopping and changing (yes I know that's more like real life) then I'd read gossip magazines.
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.
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men--thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
I'm going to start with Celaena. This is one spitfire, kick ass chick. She's gone through a lot. She's suffered, and suffered, and suffered some more. But she's survived and she's still got all this strength to continue on. Even when she's afraid she doesn't allow it to blind her or affect her. She continues on. She says what she thinks and feels although she's smart enough to hold her tongue when she must (like when speaking to the king who could hang her at any moment). I loved Celaena. She is a character that I truly loved completely. No annoying habits, no ridiculous behavior, nothing. There were times when I wish she'd tell someone of these secrets she was figuring out, but I understood why she didn't, why she couldn't, tell anyone. And Celaena might be a trained assassin, but she knows who her friends are and she'll do what it takes to protect them. Even if she knows they should be her enemy.
I also couldn't figure out what era the book was written and I don't recall it ever being stated. In some parts it read like it was old, obviously with kings and queens in the court, and yet in some instances it seems very modern.
I really enjoyed the training sessions between Celaena and Chaol and seeing Celaena physically get fitter and stronger. It was also really nice to see their relationship grow and that I could read more of. Celaena relationship with the Prince was also interesting to read about and as already mentioned, it was great reading every ones point of view.
My only complaint is Celaena made a decision towards the end of the book that I wasn't happy with, but I understood why she did it.
The characters are well-developed, and there's a great element of mystery and danger. I'm very much looking forward to the sequel and seeing where Sarah J. Maas takes her series!
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.
on 18 September 2012
I'm a massive fan of young adult/fantasy fiction and Throne of Glass looked like a promising read. As usual I read the reviews but the good far outweighed the bad so I went ahead and bought it. Big mistake.
The writing is stilted, the dialogue is awkward, the characters are annoying... if there was a "Bad Book Checklist", this book would be ticking all the points. The one star I have given this book is for the idea - I still think it sounds like a great book! It just isn't.
I always like it when reviews (especially bad ones) go into a little bit more detail so let's discuss the heroine, Celaena. She's meant to be a highly trained assassin - cunning and brilliant - but I just don't get how that could possibly be true when she's just so stupid. She can't keep her mouth shut, is terrible at reading people and situations and is terrified of the King (who she was apparently on the way to fearlessly assassinate when she got caught). These might be kinda cute features in any number of characters but she's not just meant to be any assassin, she's meant to be the best. Huh, now I'm writing this review it does sound like she would be the perfect bad assassin in some comedy/fantasy and yes, she might be funny if she wasn't just so annoying. I spent the first half of the book screaming at her in my head to be quiet, or get a move on, or listen to what someone was saying and I began the second half of the book in a sort of exhausted, hopeless silence until I realised the book was making me so cross I should probably just stop. So I did.
Read it at your own peril.
on 1 June 2016
I was looking for a change after reading a lot of contemporary romance and this was just the ticket. Sarah J Maas has created a wonderful fantasy of good versus evil, with amazing characters. I was hooked from the first chapter and can't wait to start on the next in the series.
on 15 September 2016
I am rather dumbfounded, nay astonished, by other (glowing) reviews of this book. I was left wondering if we had actually read the same product. I hasten to add, I am a massive fan of Sarah J Maas' more recent Court books; they are, in fact, what led me to pick up this earlier series, eager for another fix. I am a long-time reader of high, epic and urban fantasy novels, with an eclectic taste in fiction. Nothing, though, pleases me more than a fantasy tale led by a strong female protagonist with a sharp wit and sharper sword, battling to overcome epic evil against the odds. I am very sad to say that I found little evidence of wit or epic adventure in this book, or even a strong female protagonist: I can see from the latest series of novels that the author has demonstrably matured, honing her writing style to produce a really stunning story in Court of Mists and Fury, down to vivid well-drawn characters, tight dialogue and a fast-paced and gripping plot. This book, however, is a very different story. For me, the story was slow-paced, turgid and strangely opaque, as if it didn't know where it was going until the second half of the book; it was also very hackneyed, relying on tropes including young orphan girl found at an early age, trained as an assassin (she's the best, don't you know!), arrested and thrown into a mine for a year (er, wasn't she the best sneakiest assassin around?!) eventually getting a chance at redemption in a really weird contest cum murder mystery. The plot is horribly stunted by immature dialogue, odd, inconsistent, shallow and illogical characterisation (as well as actions), on top of a plot which, to me, meandered and failed to grip. I managed to make it through 64% of the book on Kindle, only by gradually skipping pages to reduce workload and irritation, and finally gave up when it became abundantly apparent that it wasn't going to improve. *When I get a moment, I will edit this review to cite examples to support my criticism of the book.* I wanted to love it. I ended up loathing it, and regretting the time and money spent reading it. A friend and I ended up laughing over the awfully stilted dialogue, it was just that bad. Really, really glad to see the author persevered to produce her latest series, which I would *highly recommend* and suffers from none of the problems I perceive lie here. I was dismayed to see a quote in SFX about Celaena being "as epic a hero as Frodo or Jon Snow" (says author Tamora Pearce, who has evidently read neither any of Tolkien's sacred LoTR trilogy nor George R R Martin's dark, gritty and revered tomes). Very, very bad and misleading comparison to make, which raises expectation to a rather terrifying level. One of the most disappointing things about the overall quality of the book was that a lot of this could have been rectified/prevented by a decent editor and thorough critiquing of the book. This is my honest and very frank opinion of a book I paid full price to read.
on 23 March 2016
i liked it well enough.
my only gripe is that for someone who had been imprisoned and tortured for over a year she sure does seem to take to her new captors rather easily and begin toying with and falling for them a bit callously for my taste but otherwise it is a good first book.
on 2 March 2016
Throne of Glass is rife with tropes and cliches. The protagonist is utterly flawless is every aspect: strong, witty, smart, special in some way, with two romantic interests. The other women of this novel are portrayed as shallow and petty, besides, of course, the one person the protagonist decides to befriend. And the worst aspect of this is the writing style; though the author originally published this on Fictionpress, it shouldn't still read like it was written by a sixteen-year-old on the Internet. Save that for the Internet. However, the plot is gripping enough for me to give this a decent review.
on 19 May 2016
What can I say? I am in love with this series. So in love that I've reordered the whole series in hardcover (I despise paperback). Personally, I love Mass' writing and the way in which she crafts both her characters and environments makes them come alive.