17 July 2012
REVIEW: THRONE OF GLASS
Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Bloomsbury
UK Release date: 2nd August 2012
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review
Celeana Sardothien is an infamous assassin. Yet the seventeen year old is living out the rest of her days imprisoned and set to work in Endovier’s harsh salt mines. All because she made the mistake of getting caught. So when the Crown Prince of Adarlan rescues her from the mines with an offer she can’t refuse, her freedom is finally within reach. She must compete as the Prince’s champion against twenty-three warriors, thieves and assassins to win a place as the King’s assassin and gain her future freedom. But as contestants start turning up dead, Celeana could be next unless she finds out who is behind them and what evil is lurking in the castle.
Throne of Glass was an easy and enjoyable read and I found it both captivating and fast paced. The world of Erilea and its surrounding countries is beautifully crafted and wonderfully written. The plot itself erred on the simple side, and in my opinion would have benefitted from more plot twists, action, and intrigue. However the story certainly had plenty of romance and sexual tension. There is also an underlying hint of fae and magic that permeates the story, although this has been squashed by the King of Adarlan and remains forbidden and lost. This exists as part of a huge backdrop to the story, where the king has been on a long campaign to domineer the surrounding lands. This aspect really intrigued me, and although we didn’t see much past the glass castle of Rifthold in this story, there is so much potential to find out about the political upheaval in these other kingdoms.
Celeana was a fiery, fierce and sassy protagonist. Her strength as an assassin meant she could be arrogant, daring and haughty. And yet her troubled and tortured past made her vulnerable as well as emotionally and physically scarred. The time she had spent in the mines left her starved and beaten but not broken. Her personality shone through, showing an incredible strength of will. This balance of courage and fragility made her an interesting and likeable character as well as a mysterious and attractive individual to both the Prince and Captain Westfall.
A big part of the plot was this love triangle between Celeana, Dorian the Crown Prince and Chaol, Captain of the Guard. I know love triangles can often put readers off, but her Chaol and Dorian are both great characters; both strong and kind in their own way. Celeana and Dorian shared interests in reading and had such witty and sharp dialogue exchanges; whilst with Chaol, Celeana was more like an equal able to challenge each other physically in training. As a reader I liked both men and did wish that Celeana would just pick one rather than continue to flirt with them both. I did however love the dichotomy these characters felt, not knowing whether to trust Celeana, and whether they should be locking her up or falling in love with her.
What really intrigued me about the story is how it began and developed. Sarah J. Maas started writing about Celeana on fiction press ten years ago and has written and published several prequels to Throne of Glass, all novellas looking at Celeana’s life as an assassin before her imprisonment. Sarah J. Maas admits that the story started by thinking what Cinderella might be like if she was an assassin. You can certainly pick up some classic fairy tale qualities and elements to the story, although here they are packaged in a dynamic, dangerous and epic style.
Throne of Glass is an epic YA fantasy debut filled with action, forbidden romance and magic, and a deadly heroine both dangerous and vulnerable in equal measures.