Sunday, 29 September 2013

Mini-view: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) - Sarah J Maas

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 king's 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, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. 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.
I've been reading a lot of YA books recently and I love a good fantasy novel so when a friend gave me a copy of Throne of Glass I couldn't wait to get started.

Perhaps a bit of a strange choice for what is primarily a romance blog, I enjoyed Throne of Glass enough to want to recommend it to others. Throne of Glass is Sarah Maas' debut novel and a heartwarming success story to boot. Beginning life on (a website for aspiring authors) Maas amassed so many readers that Throne of Glass became the most reviewed book on the site, leading Maas to attempt to get her novel published. There's nothing more promising than a book that was essentially published through reader demand.

Celaena is a strong, admirable heroine reminiscent of Buffy. Additionally, unusually for a love triangle I found both male members (snigger) equally likeable and developed, although obviously I have a preference as I am sure was intended. The dialogue and relationships between the characters was enjoyable and amusing and didn't feel forced at all.

The plot maybe a little overly simplistic but sometimes the best plots are. I think fantasy novels that try and be overly complex end up alienating half their audience, only reaching critical acclaim and widespread appeal when digested and visualised for their audience (cough, cough). The suspense level in the novel is well paced and kept me reading the novel long after I should have stopped and I'll admit to already having demolished the sequel. My only criticism would be that the mystical element of the plot, seemingly ubiquitous in fantasy novels these days this aspect was a little underdeveloped and clumsy at times.

For a young adult fantasy novel Throne of Glass excels in its category and is different enough from other recent YA success stories to be a refreshing addition to the genre.

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