Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass

Summary 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, 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 imagine.

Chachic, a book blogger friend sent me her copy of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass, and that was the first time that I have heard of the book. I realized that it isn't out yet and that the book was an ARC. So, I was pretty excited because this is the first ARC that I ever laid eyes on and the fact that the book is under my favorite genre, epic fantasy and it features a kick-ass female protagonist to boot. Plus, the blurb at the back cover was pretty intriguing.

First, the bad news...

I like the romance in my fantasy novels to be subtle. Just a hint here and there. Not overly done to the point of distracting me from the novel. But sadly, I found too many statements like these: "she was all to aware of how close his leg was, but couldn't bring herself to shift away." or "she wanted to trace the line between his tan skin and the fabric." Or statements of how utterly beautiful Celaena is in her dress, or how "heart breakingly handsome" Dorian looked. I also had to skip through the long descriptions of Celaena's gowns as well. Such descriptions and statements were a peeve to me when I read paranormal YA and reminded me of why I politely told my friend that I can't read anymore of her historical romance pocketbooks.

I always love fantasy worlds and it’s ability to suck you in and marvel at the author’s brilliance of creating such a lush and rich make-believe place. But Thrones of Glass, kind of left me wanting. The whole idea of Adarlan and it’s glass castle, Endovier and it’s salt mines, the foreign land that is Ellywe has a very huge potential to be a breathtaking wonderful fantasy world. I wished to have heard a bit more of the people and their culture and history. I wanted to hear rich tales and folk lore about these lands. I so wanted to get lost in this world but instead it felt like just a world on paper.

Celaena, the female assassin and main protagonist, is certainly unlike any other that I have read. A fashionista, music and candy loving, teenage assassin. I get where the author is going with this, perhaps she wanted someone whom teens (especially the fashion living ones) can identify with. I didn't not really dislike her as much as I thought I would. But I didn't quite root for her. If she wins the competition, great. If not, I'm fine with it too. I felt kind of detached in a way. My support for her was not of the same fervor as the one I had with say, Katniss, or Harry, etc.

Onto the good news...(There might be spoilers in the next paragraph)

Despite the concepts being not new. Last-one- standing- fight- to- the- death- in-an- arena (Hunger Games), mysterious killings of a nasty monster, (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), Team Prince Charming vs Team Captain of the Royal Guard love conundrum (almost every paranormal YA book), Exceptionally skilled kick ass female assassin (Graceling), I think, I was engaged enough with the plot to not stop reading. I wanted to know who (or what) killed whom, who is the rat in the court, who will end up with whom, who will emerge as the king’s champion, what are the evil plans brewing between the king and the duke. I appreciate the author throwing the reader off the scent of the alleged perpetrator. Of making you think that the identity of the said perpetrator is not the obvious choice but then revealing in the end that it actually was the obvious choice after all. So, I think the plot is pretty engaging.

While it is not wholly my type of fantasy read, I can see teens eating this book up because like I said, it is pretty exciting, fast paced, and quite easy to get into and it has a romantic triangle in which they can take sides / pick teams. It’s not Megan Whalen Turner great but I still think it’s a pretty solid fantasy debut. I am excited for it's release because it is always the paranormal genre that dominate the YA shelves in bookstores and maybe with Throne of Glass, the fantasy genre might just find its way in the hearts of teens.

Mucho Thanks to Chachic for passing this copy on to me! :) See her review of Throne of Glass by HERE


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