Double Monster Review: Throne of Glass

Double Monster Review: Throne of GlassThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Published by Bloomsbury Juvenile US on August 7th 2012
Pages: 416
Goodreads

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 kings 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.

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Celaena Sardothien is an assassin, a darn good one too. Actually, she may be the best in the land. But being the best is doing her no good as she is stuck in the Endovier salt mines for the rest of her days. And despite her best efforts, Celaena knows that her days are numbered. Until… Celaena is offered a offer that she simply cannot refuse.

Throne of Glass is one of those reads that I am going to have a really hard time putting my words together with. The first element that drew me into this book was the Game of Thrones comparison. I love me some Game of Thrones. Seriously, I was and still am addicted to this show. The intrigue, the betrayals, the mystery that comes along with Game of Thrones, yum. But despite my love for the show, I was really hesitant about a book being compared to it. Part of me really wanted Throne of Glass to live up to the comparison. But at the same time, I was afraid that I would be reading a watered down retelling of sorts. All the elements being there, but in a censored, less exciting type of way. Surprisingly, in the case of Throne of Glass, I found the comparison is really unneeded. Oh, sure there are some elements there. But the ones that exist in the book, could apply to hundreds of other fantasy books.

Our main character, Celaena Sardothien, is a very complex character. I adored her tough side. But felt a bit torn by her softer side. It was almost as if that softer side came out of no where sometimes.All in all, she is fantastic strong female characters, but she needs more development. Throughout the book, Maas hints that Celaena is more than she appears. But what that is yet, we do not know. 

The romance side of Throne of Glass is probably the area that I had the most issue with. I will give Maas credit for not taking us to the dark side with some over-done love triangle. But will admit that the tale does, at times, come a little too close for comfort. However, that is an issue for another day. Throne of Glass and its romance irked me due to one strange change over. After reading hundreds of pages of the book only to have one guy disappear from the forefront was odd, to say the least. And it was bothersome that it is done with very little explanation. I am so conflicted.

Final Verdict:
Quite easily, Throne of Glass has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2012. Ever since I first read the summary, I have been dying to get my hands on this book. Did it live up to the hype? Sort of. And YES!!, in a lot of other ways that I was not expecting. But that is not to say that the book did not have its fair share of issues. Throne of Glass is one of those reads that you enjoy in retrospect, but upon contemplation wish so many little things had been changed. I will give the book a bit of slack due to it being the first in the series, but will admit I am a bit on guard for its sequel.

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Kate suggested I read this one sooner than later and said it was a solid fantasy read, so I dug into it this summer. I have to say, I was put off a bit by the Netgalley version, as it formatted it so horribly I had to scroll a lot more than normal just for a couple of sentences. I almost gave up, but pushed through anyways.

Celaena Sardothien is an assassin, the most famous and talented in the land. Unfortunately, you won't see her assassinate anyone anytime soon. She's been in the mines for a year doing hard labor and has been pulled out as the Prince's pick for the King's Champion in a competition that he is sure she will win. At the beginning, her voice really put me off. Although Celaena had been doing hard labor, she was sure she could still assassinate nearly anyone she ran into and that's what she internally voiced time and again. I think I called her "cocky" when discussing the book with Kate, which would be a good way to describe her. I was hoping she'd try to assassinate or escape to see if she really did possess the skills she was rumored to have. Unfortunately, it never happened.

I had quite a few problems with this book. I didn't like Prince Dorian at all. He kept saying he was different than the King, who was a conqueror and was always looking to squash a rebellion or take over a kingdom. Yet he was too much of a coward to stand up to his father at any point in this novel. The only thing he had going for him was he was good-looking and seemed to think he could rule better and more fairly. And still Celaena falls for him. I'm glad I'm not a big fan of romance, so I let that slide a bit. My next problem came with the competition. So there's over 20 thugs going for the title of King's Champion, yet the few competitions they show (besides the last) are a bit .. easy. Firing arrows, climbing walls.. nothing that really seems too perilous. For a bloodthirsty king, you would think that these competitions would be to the death but that is not the case. Although a few do die.. mostly due to something else that is going on.

So, what did redeem this book for me? The curious murders of the competitors by an animal-like creature. Although I really don't think the guard took it seriously enough when looking into the matter. The magic and intrigue part of the story really pulled me in more than the romance and competition plots did. I think the next book will be better as there were some hints of interesting things to come. And then the end of the book was quite a stunner and I like the way that played out. I don't want to spoil anything so I will leave it at that.

Final Verdict:
Overall, this one was a bit of a disappointment, but I'm hoping for more in the next book.

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