October 21, 2013

Spirit That Could Not Be Broken

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Pages: 404 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Kindle ebook
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Amazon | Goodreads

Summary (from Amazon)
In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass - and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

Thoughts on Throne of Glass
So, I've never been a big fantasy reader, but I'm finding more and more to enjoy about the genre since I started blogging. I remember seeing tons of reviews around the blogosphere when Throne of Glass was first published. I noticed that many of them raved about the book, but there were also a number of bloggers who found issues with Celaena's character and other aspects of the book. To be honest, I really wasn't sure how I'd feel about this one. The summary didn't really appeal to me, but I was intrigued enough to buy a copy for my Kindle. And, as is always the case, it just sat there for almost a year.

After seeing Alexa and Kelly rave about this series, I finally decided it was time to take the plunge. Did I mention that at this point Crown of Midnight had been released AND I'd pre-ordered it? Oh yeah, I decided to go ahead and buy the second book without even reading the first. I know, sometimes I have to shake my head at my own crazy. Now that I've read Throne of Glass, I can't believe I waited so long!

Four Things I Loved In This Book:

1. The World Building
Most of the fantasy I've read takes a while to get into the action. The beginning is usually bogged down by the world-building. But not Throne of Glass! This book starts off with a bang, and it just gets better from there. I loved that we're immediately thrown into the story because it kept me from feeling bored or overloaded with information. I was interested and invested in Celaena from the very beginning.

The world and the setting felt so real to me! I could imagine each different part of this place, which is something I really appreciated about this book. My biggest problem with most fantasy books is that world feels so foreign that I become disconnected from the story. Even though this was clearly an imaginary world, I still felt like I "knew" it, in a way.

The only weakness for me here was that the magic element didn't feel fully fleshed out. I know it's important to the story, but I didn't feel like I completely understood why magic had been banned and how it was being used within the world. It wasn't a huge issue - just something that felt like it needed a little more development in order for me to fully get how it fit into the book.

2. The Characters
I can see why not everyone will love these characters. Celaena is arrogant, self-absorbed and somewhat ruthless. She also loves clothing and is prone to dramatics. So, I get that she won't be everyone's cup of tea. But dang, y'all, I loved her! Something about her just won me over right from the start. I loved that she loved to read, that she could fight like nobody's business and that there's something a little off-putting about her.

I did want a little more information about her backstory, but I think I could have gotten it if I'd read the novellas. So, that little hole likely wouldn't bother me if I'd taken the time to read those prequels first.

3. The Romance
There's a love triangle in this one, which is something that can be hit-or-miss. For some reason, this one just worked for me. I don't think it's a perfect triangle, but I still loved the romance. I obviously had a favorite (Chaol! DUH!), but it made me excited to see how this element develops in the later books. I don't think this will be something that everyone will like, but I definitely didn't feel like it detracted from my enjoyment of the story. In some ways, it just enhanced it because I thought both boys were well-developed and intriguing.

4. The Plot
There's so much more to the story than the romance in this one. I really loved the idea of the challenge to become the king's assassin. The competition was intense! I don't want to say much more about the plot, but I really was so caught up in what was happening. From training for the competition to the evil lurking in the castle, there was no way I was going to be able to put this book down once I started.

I did feel like the book would have been a little stronger if there had been a little more attention paid to the competition. There were a few times that I wanted to know more about what was going on - feeling like I didn't get to see the full picture of what was happening. In some ways, there's so much more that could have been told about these events. But, at the same time, I also understand that Maas can only focus on so much without this book getting bogged down in too much detail.

It did take me forever to finally read this book, but I absolutely enjoyed it once I did. There were a few minor things that kept me from rating this as a "loved" - but it came pretty dang close. From the engaging story to the interesting characters, I found a lot to love in Throne of Glass. As soon as I'd finished this one, I immediately started reading Crown of Midnight. I had to know what was going to happen next!

So Quotable
"Library were full of ideas - perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons."

19 comments:

  1. *High five for Team Chaol members!* I agree about Celaena. I can understand that some bloggers dislike her, but there is something about her I really like. There was a certain click and she only becomes better in Crown of midnight (which is epic by the way) Happy reading ;)!

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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    1. Yayyy for Chaol! Yes, I understand why not everyone will love her but I just really enjoyed her. And totally agree that she just gets better in Crown of Midnight!

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  2. i STILL havent read this and own it. but im super glad you enjoyed it! I hear the name CHAOL and immediately think of Alexa's fangirling ;) Hehe!

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    1. Hahah! GET ON IT, CASSIE. And yes, Chaol always makes me think of Alexa haha!

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  3. CHAOL FOREVER AND ALWAYS.

    Also I can't wait for your thoughts on Crown Of Midnight, ugh. So pumped for that.

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    1. TOTALLY AGREE.

      And yeahhhhh Crown of Midnight. So, so good!

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  4. I myself have been guilty of buying a sequel while not having read the first book yet. Sometimes it's just hard to resist massive amounts of hype lol.
    I actually haven't read Throne of Glass yet myself. There's that love triangle and potential problems in Celaena's characterization that have been pointed out many times in reviews. But I'm curious! I do love my fantasies and Celaena could very well end up being a hit for me as well, characterization-wise. I guess I'll just have to try it out for myself! Glad you were able to get around to this one and enjoyed it, Hannah. :)

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    1. Haha! Glad I'm not the only person guilty of buying book two before I've even started a series!

      Love triangles are typically a deterrent for me, unless someone points on that it's really poorly handled. And I do understand why not everyone will love Celaena, but I found her really unique and enjoyable.

      Hope you enjoy it whenever you read it! Look forward to your thoughts on it either way :)

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  5. I bought this one based on Alexa's undying for the series....but haven't read it yet. Since you seem to be my go-to girl for books I'm wavering on (*ahem* Under the Never Sky) I'm happy to see that you enjoyed it! I'm torn on waiting for the full series to be out, or just diving in anyways....

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    1. Haha! I'm glad I can help convince you to read books that you're wavering on! I say just dive right in - then we can discuss! I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed this one :)

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  6. YAYYY :) I'm so glad that you loved this one Hannah! I'm not a fantasy reader either and hadn't thought I would pick up Throne of Glass but since you've loved it, I'm going to give it a go! I have a similar problem with fantasy and worldbuilding. I find it hard to picture the world or imagine it and then I get bored and put it down. I'm happy that's not the case here !!!

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    1. Yayyy! Yeah, I'm definitely not a big fantasy reader. I have gotten more into the genre since I started blogging, but it can still be a major hit or miss for me. I really hope you enjoy this one, too, if you end up reading it!

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  7. Scrolling thought the comments on this post makes me happy because most of the others LOVED Chaol too! As you know, I'm a big fan of this series. I'm so glad that you ended up enjoying it! It's a great start to the series, and I'm happy to be able to tell you that Crown of Midnight is EVEN BETTER.

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    1. I am SO GLAD that you kept pushing this series - you're definitely one of the reasons I read this series! I wish I'd realized how awesome it was because I wouldn't have waited so long to pick it up. And heck yes, CHAOL.

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  8. Another Chaol fan here! I thought the love triangle actually worked in this one and although her vanity might have been a bit annoying at times overall I thought Celaena was one kick ass character! I love Sarah J Maas managed to keep that aspect of her character up right the way through but still show she wasn't all bad! I think my friend has already bought me the sequel for Christmas so I have to wait until then! :-( Oh, and I LOVE Pride and Prejudice! How many copies have you collected?

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    1. Yeah, I get that about the vanity thing but it ended up not really bothering me that much. Like it was annoying, yes, but also realistic for people to have good and bad qualities so that's how I kinda got over it. And I really hope you got Crown of Midnight for Christmas!

      I'm not sure how many I've collected at this point, but here is a post I did earlier this year that looks at my collection: http://www.soobsessedwith.com/2013/01/i-was-in-middle-before-i-knew-that-i.html.

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  9. I went back to see what you thought of this one since our tastes are kinda similar, but we've found one to disagree on. I'm one of the bloggers, I guess, who just doesn't get Celaena. I lost trust in her as a smart character the moment she ate all the candy. Also, if she's such an amazing assassin, how can people keep sneaking up on her as well as putting candy next to her bed? When you have no proof of her assassinness (b/c the "trials" are kind of glossed over) and you hear over and over about the dresses, you start to wonder at the validity of the claim. I digress. Sorry to post so late on this, lol. I'm having issues with it. I hate feeling left out of loving a book.

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