Sunday, September 28, 2014
Fantasy and Fight: Throne of Glass
The salt mines of Endovier are a death camp, a prison, the place where the King of Adarlan sends those he hates. And Celaena Sarothien is the only person ever sentinced to a fate there to leave alive. Not because she has escaped, but because she has been chosen by the Crown Prince himself to compete in a competition. If she can defeat 23 other killers, thieves, and warriors from across the continent, win the title of the King's Champion, and serve him for four years, she will finally have her freedom. She may only be 18 years old, but it's a good thing that Celaena is the most feared assassin in the land. But in a land where magic has been almost completely eradicated and something is killing off contestants, Celaena isn't just fighting for her freedom anymore, but her survival.
Now that I've finally read this book, I'm kicking myself for not having read it sooner! Of course Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas's debut novel is a good example of a book you need to be in the right mood to read. While high fantasy can absolutely be escapist, it also takes a bit of work on the readers part (maps, colorful names, etc). When I first tried reading this, I just wasn't feeling a strong connection to Celaena, but once I read the prequel novellas published together as The Assassin's Blade, I couldn't wait to get back into this story.
Celaena is not terribly likable. She is an incredibly flawed person, and I'm not just talking about the fact that she's a professional killer. She's vain. She's arrogant. She's got a mouth on her that gets her into trouble more often than it helps her out of it. But then again, she's an 18 year old girl, and a lot of girls that age do have a tendency to focus on boys, romance, trying to make friends, and deal with the consequences of the circumstances life has thrown at them so far. By the end, I really did like Celaena because she's a person who absolutely will not say she's sorry unless she really means it, and I think there's something admirable in that.
Once I got a handle on this sharp Celaena, I devoured this novel, reading over half of it in one day. This book has action, adventure, a dash of romance (I predict a love triangle coming as the series progresses), an evil king, killings that will make you squirm, and a magic that all thought was lost forever which comes in the most unlikely of places. While some may find the pacing to be a dash on the slow side, I think that considering this is to be a six book series, it was spot on. This novel had an arc on its own, but it's clear to see that many of the themes brought up here have staying power and will not be resolved any time soon.
Should the mood strike for some high fantasy, I'd absolutely recommend Throne of Glass. But first I say read The Assassin's Blade if you haven't already - it's like a great running start into this saga and you won't want to slow down.
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!
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