As part of the BEA Book Club, we’re going to post thoughts on the books we’ve read, every now and then. Here’s what Alexa, AJ, Pixie and I thought about Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. You can also read my review, read Alexa’s review, read AJ’s review and read Pixie’s review.
Please do note, there will be spoilers!
Q: Alexa and Pixie - you both loved Throne of Glass, can you tell us a bit about why you loved it?
Pixie: I don’t read a lot of “high/epic” fantasy like that, so, it capturing my attention was pretty good as it was. But I really just loved the world-building and how I was fascinated in Celaena’s story most of all. I liked her.
I also love that it makes me sit and think about it after I’ve finished. I know I’ll continue on with the series because I’m invested in the character and story now. At first, I didn’t like her. But she grew on me the same way she developed throughout the book.
Alexa: What I loved the most was the premise, the idea of the whole competition, although I do wish there had been more competition-related scenes featured in the book. I also love Celaena’s character - how she’s tough, vulnerable AND girly all at once
Pixie: *nods* Yes! I liked the girly addition to her personality. It wasn’t always about being tough and gritty..
Assassins and Competitions and Princes, oh my!
In her debut novel, Throne of Glass, Sarah Maas introduces us to the deadly Celaena Sardothien, Adarlan’s Assassin. Betrayed and imprisoned she is forced to work in a salt mine, until she gets a visit from the Crown Prince, who choses her to be his champion in a competition to become the royal assassin. In return she gets her freedom and a clean slate. Faced with certain death or possible freedom, Celaena agrees to be the prince’s champion.
I got this book because I heard that fans of Hunger Games and Game of Thrones would like it. But, I think this is a bad marketing idea, especially for a debut novel, even if it already has an online fan-base from the original story. It really spoiled my reading experience because I felt I went into it with very high expectations. First, the things I didn’t like as much.
The competition wasn’t very exciting. We go into it knowing she will win, not just because she’s the main character and the possibility of her losing is small, but because everyone else believes that Adarlan’s Assassin is the certain winner. Added to this certainty, the competition didn’t seem hard for her at all, there was never a time where I doubted that she would win. This lack of tension made it seem very long and a bit boring.
Was that really a love triangle? I dislike love triangles in general, especially when most appear to be unrealistic and therefore annoying. The good thing about this love triangle was that even though the narrative alluded to one, it wasn’t a full blown angst-ridden triangle. Maas did a great job of steering clear of the typical. There is Chaol (the Captain of the Guard, who personally trains Celaena) and then there is Dorian (the Crown Prince). I would understand Chaol’s side, he spends a lot of time with Celaena, almost every day training, including eating meals together - which seemed unnecessary for a Captain to be doing with a prisoner. What I didn’t understand was Celaena and Dorian. We are lead to believe that Celaena hates Dorian, however, she changed her opinion rather quickly, and with limited contact. The speed at which she moved from hatred to fondness seems unrealistic, especially since Dorian didn’t perform any grand gesture. Other than that, the love triangle was more tolerable, even if it was still a bit unrealistic.
The writing style took some time to get use to. I’m not sure what it was about the way the story was written, but something in the sentence construction seemed awkward and often jarring. We kept jumping back and forth from different character perspective, which in itself wasn’t bad, (it was clearly defined and sometimes necessary to the storytelling) however, there were times when it would have been interesting to see Dorian or Chaol through Celaena’s eyes, as opposed to what they were thinking. At those points Celaena’s perspective and observations were lost.
All those things aside, there were a few things in this novel that I really enjoyed. Celaena is a good protagonist to read. She’s funny, independent, strong and even a little vulnerable - though, given her role this does seem odd sometimes. Her interaction with many of the characters in this novel provided some laugh out loud moments.
The idea of Throne of Glass is intriguing. Half-way though the book, characters start dying in horrific ways and the story picks up. The fantasy side starts developing and the mystery around the deaths is interesting. I was a fan of the fantasy in this tale and I definitely hope to see more in future works. I liked that the narrative was more than just the competition, that we saw relationships develop (Celaena and Princess Nehemia - who I kept calling Nehemiah in my head) and that there is an underlying fantasy side, which, while not overpowering, was strong enough to peaks my interest.
I’m not certain how many books this series will be, but, hopefully the story isn’t dragged out. When I finished, all the negatives stood out in my head, but, overtime the story grew on me. I liked it, and I’m hoping that there is growth in the writing on the next book. Fans of fantasy will enjoy.
[received an ARC at BEA]
Release Date: 7th August, 2012 || Publisher: Bloomsbury || Details →