Book review, Dystopian, Magical, Science fiction

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas Book Review

I started Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas about five months ago, and took a break from it for a while because of other books that kept coming out and needed to start… Sorry, NOT sorry!

Blurb: When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King’s Champion and be released from prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien. The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she’d have again: a friend.
But something evil dwells in the castle–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival–and a desperate quest to root out the source of evil before it destroys her world.

There are five official books to this series that I have had a chance to read. I’ll only be reviewing the first book of the series because of the lack of interest I have towards the series.

I was intrigued by this book especially since the author mentioned that she had juxtaposed the Cinderella fairytale with a story of an assassin. So when given the opportunity for reviewing this book, I immediately agreed to it. I wanted to see how the author developed the story and so while doing some background searches about the book, I also found that there are four prequel novellas that were released previously:

1) The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

2) The Assassin and the Desert

3) The Assassin and the Underworld

4) The Assassin and the Empire

These four novellas provide the crucial background information about the protagonist as well as give the reader a clear cut idea as to how the protagonist came to be in the situation she is described in the book blurb. The author suggests that reading them beforehand will be helpful however I wasn’t able to and while they do reveal a lot about the background. This book can be easily understood without reading them at all. I will of course be reviewing them at a later period.
This story is set in a Young Adult setting and so I have to alter my perception for it as often I find myself disliking YA novels if they haven’t been marked or marketed as such. YA books have a different style to them and it’s the rare YA novel that transcends its genre and makes adult readers besotted fans as well. I was wondering how this book would stand. The story opens with the protagonist Celaena Sardothien languishing in a horrid prison called the Salt mines of Endovier. She has spent a year over there and has all the mental and physical scars to show for her time there. The reason for her presence there is the focus of the last prequel novella The Assassin and the Empire. She is surprised to know that there are people who are seeking her and her deadly talents. Chiefly Prince Dorian Havilliard who has brought a whole contingent of guards to force/entice her with an offer for her services and if everything goes smoothly, her freedom as well. She will however have to showcase her skills in a tournament and prove herself worthy to be called the best and bequeath upon herself the title of the King’s Champion. The biggest drawback being that this very king was the one to decimate her homeland and put her in her current predicament.

The romantic angle added to the story is something which is all too predictable and for adult readers will be completely ho-hum however for a YA reader it might not be so predictable. There are some truly fun twists inserted by the author into the main story and this of course helps in setting up the climax of the story as well set pointers for the future books. I enjoyed this aspect of the book and of course with the huge dollop of back-story that’s seems to exist between the King and Celaena, it will be fun to read about their interactions in the sequels to come.

Overall this book is very much a good read and should be remembered for the genre and public it has been written for. One thing I need to point out is that I have seen many reader claims about this series being comparable to A Song Of Ice And Fire by G.R.R. Martin, this is very funny and absolutely untrue. ASOIAF cannot be truly written for a YA audience as it will lose its complexity and moral ambivalence, a more reasonable option would be to think of this series as a YA version of Robin Hobb’s Fitz Chivalry series but without its moral complexity and vivid characterizations. This is a decent debut and I’m sure the book will find its fans.

Goodreads rating: FOUR STARS!

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