Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

From Goodreads: After serving out a year of hard labor 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 kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Chaol 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.

My Rating: 2 hearts
 
Thoughts on the Novel: One of the books I’ve been most excited about reading this year was Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Each time I saw another four or five star review for it, my excitement level ratcheted up. So, when I finally got approved to read it on NetGalley, I eagerly downloaded a copy to my Kindle and made myself comfy, expecting a novel that would suck me in.

After finishing Throne of Glass however, I can’t help but be severely disappointed! Here’s why:
  • I realized I’d have trouble liking Celaena right from the start. How could I warm up to a girl whose first thoughts after meeting the prince whose father was responsible for sending her to Endovier be how attractive he is and how she looks like utter crap?! Thinking that perhaps I was being a bit hasty in judging Celaena, I tried to be more open-minded. Unfortunately, my opinion of Celaena didn’t improve. Not only did I continue to think that she was kind of shallow, but by the end, I also thought she was an incompetent assassin for three reasons:
    1. She boasts about how she can kill people in various ways … and yet never kills anybody. I did not read 400+ pages about an assassin for no reason!
    2. She finds a possible escape route … and never uses it to run away.
    3. She manages to become attached to Dorian and Chaol awfully quickly. If I were an assassin, the last thing I’d be doing is forming attachments to people in positions of power (because you never know when they might need to be eliminated)! 
  • It’s not just Celaena who displays ridiculous lapses in judgement though. Dorian, for example, decides that it’s okay to visit Adarlan’s greatest assassin in her bedroom without bringing any guards! Oh, and not only does Celaena have a bunch of rooms to herself, but she also gets to wear pretty dresses and seems to be able walk around in the castle with minimal guards. I had no idea that this was a successful method for dealing with notorious criminals and assassins!
  • I found the romance to be rather lacklustre since it seemed like Celaena was only attracted to Dorian because he was good-looking.
  • The Tests – one of which Celaena cheats in – that were discussed in Throne of Glass were covered with little fanfare; and in between, competitors I barely got to know were brutally murdered by the blatantly obvious villain. It just seemed as if a significant chunk of the book involved Celaena admiring her clothes, thinking how attractive both Dorian or Chaol were, and being petulant about not getting invited to fun gatherings like a feast or a masked ball.
  • The world building was weak since anything that couldn't advance the storyline was either only hinted at or mentioned in passing. In fact, even Celaena’s relatively little backstory was hard to figure out and had to be pieced together.
Throne of Glass wasn’t all bad though. I liked Chaol and the Eyllwe princess Nehemia; and despite guessing who the suspected killer was, I managed to remain interested in the mystery and read the book in one sitting.

Although I can see the potential in Throne of Glass; ultimately, it didn’t live up to my expectations. If you’re in the mood for a novel featuring a female assassin, I’d recommend reading Robin LaFevers’ Grave Mercy instead.  

Throne of Glass will be released by Bloomsbury UK on August 2, 2012.

Comments About the Cover: I like how badass the model looks (even if her outfit looks kind of modern). It’s too bad she doesn’t fit the image of Celaena in my head.

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Bloomsbury UK) for free via NetGalley.

11 comments:

  1. Z! Finally! I was beginning to think I was alone in my thoughts on this one, but yours mirror mine almost exactly. Especially this:

    "She boasts about how she can kill people in various ways … and yet never kills anybody. I did not read 400+ pages about an assassin for no reason!

    She finds a possible escape route … and never uses it to run away. "

    I just couldn't believe in her as an assassin, she was all talk for me until the very end. Like you, by the time I reached the last page, I was involved in the story and enjoying myself, but it took me a long time to get there and I just wasn't completely on board with any of the characters:( I feel like such the odd man out with this book!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hate when books that you eagerly anticipate reading make you disappointed. I felt the same way with "Fracture" by Megan Miranda.

    Looking over your points of frustrations, I've decided to hold this one off despite the hype. When I saw this on Netgalley, I couldn't muster up any excitement. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one, Z! Hope your next read is better.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've been seeing mixed reviews for this one! The lack of assassinating part has been brought up before and it's so true. There really isn't much killing here but I hope the next book rectifies that. I enjoyed this one a lot but can see why others didn't. I enjoyed reading your honest review. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can understand why you didn't enjoy this based on your points. It's interesting how different people read things in different ways. I really enjoyed this so it's a shame you didn't like it more. Thanks for the honest review though! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. *High five* Your review touched upon many of the issues I had with this book as well. :) I also really disliked Celaena, and thought it was odd how she was so infatuated with gowns, beauty, and men. And the love-triangle! My god, I felt like stabbing my eyeball out; it was so irritating!

    Excellent review. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one more. I loved it, but I can see your points. Sometimes I feel I can be enjoying a book so much that I can become blind to some imperfections.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That bad? Wow. I was really excited to read this book, but now I'm not that excited anymore. She doesn't kill anybody? that's just weird, she's an assasin, right? This doesn't sound that awesome anymore. Great, honest review.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's a shame you didn't like this one as much as the masses! I quite liked it myself, but it wasn't until you pointed out that Celaena doesn't actually do any assassinating or showcasing of her skills that I've even realized that. And that is pretty disappointing and kind of silly, now that you've made me realize this! I would like to think that we get to see more of Celaena doing her thing, as well as more world building, in the four prequels currently out now, so I'm eager to read those because I think it could really enrich my experience of this book.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh man another not so glowing review of Throne of Glass. It's always disappointing when a book that has a ton of buzz surrounding it doesn't do much for you. Thank you for the honest review, though! :) I may be putting this one farther in the TBR pile.

    ReplyDelete
  10. After reading your review, I decided I'm not going to read this anymore. What really got me excited for this book is because the protagonist is an assassin. I imagined this was going to have some hell of fight scenes, so I'm disappointed that Celaena doesn't kill anyone in the book. *Sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  11. OMG! I love this review! Yeah, doesn't sound like Celaena will be wining any Jason Bourne of the Year awards any time soon. I mean, come one! The best thing about assassins is how 'hard core' they make themselves by NOT forming attachments and making quick escapes.

    I haven't read any reviews for this one, and I don't think I'll be reading the book. Instead, I'm going to write a memoir of my days as an assassin, to hopefully teach others my killer swooning methods. :)

    ReplyDelete

I love comments and will reply back via either email or stopping by your blog. Please note that this is an award-free zone.