Friday, April 4, 2014

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas Review

"You could rattle the stars," she whispered. "You could do anything, if you only dared. And deep down, you know it too. That's what scares you most." -Throne of Glass

My Synopsis: This is the story about a girl and an assassin, whom happen to be the same person, Celaena Sardothien. She is a very flawed human being with a lot of unrevealed baggage, but she also has the potential, unseen by most, to be a hero. A prince with daddy issues, Dorian Havilliard, tracks her down where she is in a prison camp in order to sponsor her as his champion in a competition put together by his father, choosing her mainly to annoy his father. The winner of the competition will become the King’s Champion and after serving a term of years will be freed and forgiven of all crimes. She comes to the castle to win her freedom. She is trained and carefully watched by the Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall, and she befriends a foreign princess, Nehemia Ytger. However, things are complicated when Celaena’s competitors begin being brutally murder and for some reason it falls to Celaena to do something about it.

            I think it is very fitting that since this is my first official book review I use the words of some of the characters I fell in love with during this book to explain a philosophy I always follow when critiquing anything whether it be in judging some competition or reviewing a book.

What's the point in having a mind if you don't use it to make judgments?"
"What's the point of having a heart if you don't use it to spare others from the harsh judgments of your mind?
 ” -Throne of Glass

            Put simply when I critique something I like to give at least one example of something that was bad or needed improvement (because I have a mind to make judgments and nothings perfect) and at least one compliment (because I have a heart and there is something good in everything).

            So, since I loved this book, I will start with something I didn’t like. So many unanswered questions! Now this book is not a stand-alone but the first in a series that is supposed to be like 5 or 6 books, so obviously not everything could be explained, not all questions could be answered. However, particularly with Celaena, the main character and assassin, there was a lot of background information that was hinted at without going into any detail. I assume that her past is going to be a big deal in the future, but I would have liked just a little more. Or if there was really nothing else that could be revealed about Celaena’s past, I would have liked to hear more about Dorian or Chaoll. I’m always big on back stories, so… I have the bind up of the novellas so hopefully that helps. And of course I have already started Crown of Midnight, the next book in the series.

            Easily my favorite part of this book is Celaena. Honestly I loved all of the characters! At least all of the characters that I was supposed to love. I thoroughly hated the characters that were, well, evil. But Celaena… I have not identified with a character that was so unlike me ever before. (Not that I’m perfect by any means. I’m just differently flawed.) There is a blurb on the back of the book by USA Today that says “[Celaena is] a truly remarkable heroine who doesn’t sacrifice the grit that makes her real in order to do what’s right in the end.” I could not put it better myself. Celaena is vain, arrogant, competitive, angry, overly distrustful and selfish at times. This is a girl who was complaining about how dirty she was while she was chained up in a death camp! Yelled at a cue ball because she missed! She is an assassin! Still you fall in love with her. She is very flawed, but more precisely, she is beautifully flawed. Like the worn cover of your favorite book.

            While Celaena now has a comfy place as one of my favorite characters of all time, she was not the only thing I loved about this book. I loved Dorian, the prince, and Chaol, captain of the guard. Both of these men could easily be any girl's prince charming, but what I found so interesting about these characters was how Maas used them to show this world she created, and Celaena specifically, in two very different and both accurate lights.

            I don’t want to have any spoilers in this review even if they are pretty obvious one, so I won’t say much about the villains in this book. The villain, at least the true villain, you don’t really see much in the book, but when you do… you feel it, physically feel it. There is just enough of this evil presence in this first book that you can began hating and, honestly, fearing him or her ;). I think that is what I loved about how the villain was presented in this book. You always have someone you can hate, but I can’t think of the last book where I actually feared the bad guy.

            As for Erilea, the world where all these wonderful characters live, I want to see more. This first book takes place largely just in the castle, so understandably we haven’t seen much. The characters also seem to have a lot to learn, so we can’t as readers know what they do not. A lot is hinted at and some history is reveal, but I just want more. So I’m going to get off here so I can start reading Crown of Midnight!

Oh! And any book that both recognizes the power of books and the power of music wins for me. =)

“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.” 

"It was a mournful piece, but it made her into something clean and new...She forgot about time as she drifted between pieced, voicing the unspeakable, opening old wounds, playing and playing as the sound forgave and saved her." 
-Throne of Glass

Here is a link to my video review: Throne of Glass Review & Discussion

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