Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas Review

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas Review Daisies and Delights

You know the feeling when you're reading a new book and can instantly tell that it'll become one of your firm favourites? That's how I felt during Throne of Glass, and my prediction was correct as I'm now absolutely in love with this book. I was initially quite sceptical, as this book was nothing like I'd ever read before, but I should've let the stellar reviews and insane amount of popularity be my guide. By the end, I was shocked that I'd ever been unsure about Throne of Glass and was dying to know what happened next. This book definitely made an impact on me and so it deserves to be reviewed in detail, so that's what I hope to provide you with now.

About Sarah J Maas

Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses series, as well as a USA Today and international bestselling author. Sarah wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now been sold in thirty-five languages. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. Empire of Storms, the fifth Throne of Glass novel, will release on September 6th, 2016. (Taken from Sarah J Maas's official website)

About Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas Review Daisies and Delights

After serving out a year of hard labour 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 king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. 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.

Characters

The characters in Throne of Glass are definitely complex and hugely developed, which meant that they really came to life and it almost felt as though I was reading about real people. We really got to see how characters such as Celaena and Chaol developed over time as more of their personality and true feelings were revealed, as well as seeing how there was much more to be explored in the future. I also think that this book perfectly balanced the amount of characters included, as there were enough people to add to the atmosphere and events, yet the number of people was also restricted to stop confusion and boredom whilst reading.

Celaena Sardothien is the main character in this novel and she intrigued me right from the beginning. She is the definition of strong-willed and determined, being an extremely fierce and feared assassin at only 17 years old. She definitely has a head-strong personality and is quite vain, clearly knowing that she's one of the best assassins in the country, but it's these flaws that increase her likability and make her interesting to read about. In contrast to this, we get to see a more tender and soft side to Celaena, which reminds us that she's just a teenage girl. Her love of chocolate, the pianoforte, clothes and books really hammer home how she's a typical girl who's been thrust into a world of killing and fighting for her life.

Celaena's past is kept as a mystery, but through slow reveals we learn that she is actually troubled and pained underneath her brave exterior. We can sympathise with her much more during these moments and we are able to understand where her sheer determination to win the challenge comes from. Spending a year as a slave in the salt mines of Endovier caused her to suffer and undergo pain to a level almost unbearable to humans, so this gives us an indication as to where her almost violent tendencies come from - it's like she's looking for a way to get revenge for her brutal past.

Dorian Havilliard is the Crown Prince of Ardalan, yet he is nothing like his father, the reigning king. He is a genuinely kind and caring character with a love of animals and books, whereas his father is a brutal man responsible for the death and suffering of many. The dissimilarity between them couldn't be more apparent. He seems to be an almost saintly character and is very close to being perfect, so once I heard that Throne of Glass was intended to be a Cinderella retelling, there wasn't a doubt in my mind that his character was inspired by Prince Charming. Although I found Dorian to be really pleasant and a refreshing addition to a book about assassins and thieves, I can't wait to see deeper into his character as we discover more of his flaws in future books.

Chaol Westfall is by far my favourite character of the novel, and I could tell throughout that he was really complex with a lot more to him than meets the eye. Although he can be quite stern at times, it's definitely necessary to keep Celaena in line and motivated in the challenges. He was also the only character who saw exactly what Celaena was capable of and never once undermined her abilities just because she was a girl. His character is almost tailored to be a lesser version of Dorian, with abilities that are slightly lesser, being slightly less handsome and one rank lower in job, but I actually preferred his character and found that he really grew on me throughout the novel.
Other competitors - We never got to fully know all of the other competitors and were instead only shown a few in detail, with the others taking more of a backseat in the novel. I feel as though this was actually beneficial, as I can guarantee that it would've become confusing and hard to keep track of the characters if each competitor had an elaborate personality and backstory. Cain was Celaena's main threat in the competition and was created to be the stereotypical antagonist, making us hate him from the very beginning. I really like how his character was used to push Celaena further and really make her work hard for what she wanted, which was the eventual freedom that she'd gain after being the King's assassin, and there were definitely some huge secrets that Cain was keeping from us throughout. However, I do think that it would've been a nice touch to give him some redeeming features or a more harrowing backstory, either to prove that he wasn't entirely bad or to provide reason for his actions.

Nox was another competitor that we saw frequently in the novel, although his character appeared to be the complete opposite to Celaena at a first glance. Shy and quiet, he was definitely underrated in the competition, but I think that he had more potential than others expected. I feel as though he really helped our main character to stay grounded and humble, and also taught her not to be selfish and to think of others in the competition. I really liked the conclusion that Nox's story had, and it really proved his inner trust towards Celaena. However, I often found myself expecting him to be a threat or hiding something that shown another side to the otherwise meek and reserved character. I guess I predicted his character majorly wrong, but I'm definitely curious to see more of him if he is in any of the sequels (as my prediction still has time to be correct!)

World Building

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas Review Daisies and Delights

Sarah J Maas did an absolutely incredible job in creating a world that was realistic and didn't feel at all fictional. In all honesty, if I was reading this book and had no idea that it was a fantasy novel, it's likely that I'd think the setting really existed, as that's how convincing it is. Throne of Glass starts with a map, which was particularly useful for referencing whilst I was reading, as it helped to give an overall feel of the geography of the novel. It also shows that Sarah has thought about the surroundings and how they affect the plot, rather than the events happening in an isolated bubble-like place which is the case in some novels. It really makes you feel as though the world is real and that you're a part of it, which is a sign of an excellent and skilled writer.

I definitely think that Throne of Glass does an amazing job of setting up the world and providing us with a rich and detailed history to it, which can easily be developed and built upon in future novels. I really enjoyed the more historical and factual elements included, such as Wyrdmarks and the history of Erilea in general, and I was yet again amazed that it was all fiction. I also loved the brief inclusion of magic and I definitely can't wait for this to be expanded on in the future (not because it was lacking in detail but simply due to there being much more potential and possibilities for further exploration).

What I Liked

I loved the entire concept of this novel and it was nothing like I'd ever read before. Assassins and thieves aren't usually up my street, but the elements of adventure, romance and humour that filled this novel really set it apart and made it such an amazing read. I quickly became engrossed whilst reading this novel and connected with the characters and events almost instantaneously, to the point where I was visibly stressed and outwardly sighing during the tenser moments of the book. Another thing that I really loved is how everything came together in the end and even the tiniest of details were resolved into a satisfying and epic ending. Although there's definitely room for sequels and a lot of possibilities, I like how the main dilemmas and issues of this novel have been solved, as it gives the book finality and a more pleasurable ending.

What I'd Change

It's incredibly hard to critique a book that you love and I really struggled to come up with some improvements for this novel. I think one of the main changes that I'd make would be to remove the degree of predictability running throughout the book, as I felt as though I could predict some aspects of the storyline and what would happen. Although there were many unexpected twists that left me in shock, some plot points were expected, such as how it was always mentioned from the start that Celaena would duel with Cain, so there was no huge surprise as this happened. Also, I found that it was sometimes unclear which character was speaking and the dialogue became a bit jumbled. Aside from these two changes, I feel as though this book was flawless and incredibly hard to critique.

Themes

Although there were a few passionate and loving elements included in the book, I'd by no means define it as a romance book. There's so much more to Throne of Glass besides a few possible relationships, so if you're not one for books about love then don't let this put you off. Any relationships that are included don't get in the way of the plot progressing and are definitely secondary to the fantasy elements, although they are a nice addition. This book has an inclusion of many different genres and themes, with magic, mystery, adventure and friendships just being a few that are in the limelight.

However, I have to declare that this novel has a love triangle running throughout, which was quite obvious from the beginning yet definitely left you surprised at times. Although this is definitely an overused YA trope, it doesn't mean it was unwelcome in the novel and I actually feel as though the conflicting relationships will add to it, especially in future sequels. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing who Celaena chooses (and as usual I'm actually rooting for the underdog character and not the most expected one, much like how I preferred Jem over Will in The Infernal Devices trilogy).

The Writing Style

The writing style of this novel gripped me throughout and the pace ensured that I was never feeling bored of the slow, monotonous events, yet at the same time it never felt like things were whizzing by out of control. It was the perfect medium, and meant that I could fully enjoy this book and watch the events unfold at a pace that created suspense yet didn't drag on. The writing is very rich in detail and filled with descriptive and creative choices of vocabulary, which is personally something that I love and feel as though adds much more flavour to the novel. It also aids with visualising the events, and this meant that it was much clearer to see the story unfold through Celaena's eyes and believe everything that she does, to the point where any plot twists were a huge surprise and really enriched the story.

Overall Opinion

In conclusion, I absolutely loved this book (although I'm sure that you've gathered that by now) and I can't wait to see what the rest of the series holds. I've become obsessed with the characters (*cough* Celaena and Chaol *cough*) and enthralled by the gripping storyline, all of which were complimented by the beautiful and witty writing of Sarah J Maas. This book is truly worthy of five stars.

I hope you enjoyed my review of this book and I'd love to know what you thought of it down in the comments. Although please don't include any spoilers for the sequels, as I can't wait to find out what happens yet don't know when I'll have time to continue with the series. I'll be back next Sunday so I look forward to seeing you then!

Love from Daisy x

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