Saturday, 3 November 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: August 2nd 2012
Pages: 404 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

I stayed up so late last night to try and finish this book. Whilst it was gripping from start to end, the final 100 pages...I just couldn't put it down! I know I can say that a lot, but literally this time, I couldn't put it down. Every chapter ended on a cliffhanger, and just when I said to myself, Okay after I've finished this chapter I will put it down, another mystery was about to be unraveled! I have read many fantasy novels and fairytale retellings, but I have never come across a book as unique and as amazing as this. Maas, where have you been all my life?

Throne of Glass was initially a twist on the fairytale of Cinderella. In the interview at the back of the book, Maas said "The music that accompanies Cinderella fleeing the ball is pretty dark and intense, and I ended up thinking that the music would be better suited to the plot if Cinderella had done something truly bad...like if she'd stolen from the prince. Or , worse still, what if she was an assassin who had just tried to kill him?" Yes, you've got it; Cinderella - or Celaena -  is the land of Adarlan's most feared assassin. Not many people know her true identity - and if they did, what would they think, considering she is just a pretty eighteen-year-old girl? Taken from the mines of Endovier, where she was arrested when she got captured on a previous mission, the Crown Prince of Adarlan wants her to be his Champion in a duel to become the King's own personal assassin. If she wins the competition against 23 other competitors, she will serve the King for four years before being granted her own freedom - something she's never had before in her life. However, when she accepts this opportunity  little does she know that there are bigger things to be feared than just the other Champions.

I think something I have to mention first is just how unique this idea is. As I said previously, I have read a lot of fairytale retellings, including different take's on the Cinderella idea. However, as wide-spread and different as they are, this is the best I have read by a long shot. Maas hasn't just taken the idea and turned Cinderella into an assassin; she has created a whole new world, changing everything so much that although there are still elements of Cinderella in it, Throne of Glass is really a whole new creation. As you read, it is obvious about the amount of depth Maas has gone to to create this world - it has been so well thought-through and researched that it may as well be real. Although corrupted, the land of Erilea is a world I would love to live in.

Next up, the characters. The main character, Celaena, may as well be the personification of Marmite: you either love her, or you hate her. In my case, I loved her. Yes, she was obnoxious, vain, stubborn - but heck, if you were a notoriously feared and gorgeous assassin, wouldn't you be a bit like that? I think the reason I didn't dislike her personality was the fact that she was supposed to be beautiful - and she knew she was beautiful. A lot of heroine's spend a stupid amount of time in novels complaining about how "ugly" they are, when it's obvious from the several guys fawning all over them that they're obviously attractive. Maas didn't create Celaena like that - she knew she was attractive, she knew she could have any guy she wanted; she didn't linger on that fact for longer than necessary, and I liked her for it. She was confident, witty, playful, but she also had her more vulnerable side, especially surrounding her parent's deaths and her freedom.

I think I need a new paragraph to explain the love triangle - and in this case it is a proper love triangle, without Maas trying to force it onto us. The two main male characters are Captain Chaol Westfall and Crown Prince Dorian, and although they have been best friend's since they were young, they are incredibly different. Chaol can be quite shy, gentle and kind at times - but then he goes into guard mode, and can be quite harsh and demanding when it comes down to things like training. Dorian, on the other hand, is quite sarcastic and a major flirt, but alike Celaena, he has his vulnerable side. Usually when it comes down to love triangles, I pretty much immediately choose a side to be on. But with this novel, I just can't. When Chaol and Celaena were together, I wanted them to fall madly in love - but then when Dorian was with her, I wanted them to fall in love. This is a bit of a first for me - I'm usually quite opinionated, so it's quite rare for me to not be able to choose. But I kind of like that.

This is the first novel I was read and reviewed so far this month, and already I think this will have to be my all-time favourite read for November. It is going to take a pretty breathtaking novel to top this. If you love fantasy novels with a cold-hearted heroine, two sexy guys, and a whole lot of action, this is definitely the read for you. I know this has only been recently released (ish) but I am already eagerly waiting for the next installment.
Rating: 5/5

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