Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

In Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass, Celaena Sardothien, a renowned assassin, is pulled from her cell after a year of incarceration and given the opportunity to compete for her release. If she can survive a series of tests and fights against other competitors, she will earn a position as the king’s personal assassin and eventually her freedom.

Everybody talks about this series, so I’ve been meaning to get my hands on it for a while. It wasn’t my favorite read (For amazing fantasy YA, please refer to The Lumatere Chronicles), but I like it enough to forge ahead with the rest of the series.

I wasn’t a fan of Celaena’s characterization. I know that real people have a wide range of interests, but Celaena’s interests seemed almost too wide. She is a trained killer, she is an avid reader, she loves fashion, she loves music and she plays the piano? Maybe this would have bothered me less if we had ever encountered anything she wasn’t good at or didn’t love. The Captain of the Guard and the prince both become taken with her, but she didn’t feel human enough for me to believe and understand why they liked her.

I found I liked her more in the beginning of the book. She really feels like a killer in the first chapter as she plots escape routes and plans how she would take out the other people in the room. This stops after a bit, but I thought it felt the most true to what her character should be like. Once she’s in the castle, she softens in a way that’s not believable. I thought she bounced back too quickly, both mentally and emotionally, after being imprisoned for a year.

Of the parts I liked, the magic element was one of my favorites. It added a bit of mystery to the plot. I like that it’s uncharted territory and that (I assume) the rest of this series will likely deal with more people practicing magic and relearning how to control it, etc. This subplot was good for both setting up the rest of the series and adding a less predictable element to a fairly predictable story.

While I feel ambivalent about this first book, I’ve had this series recommended to me by someone whose book tastes I trust. Judging by what I’ve heard, I have a feeling that the characterization of the main three characters gets better as the series goes on. I’m hoping to enjoy the sequels more when I give the subsequent books a shot.

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers
My rating: ☆☆ (3 stars)
Recommended for: anyone who likes Katniss-like characters. Small and ruthless.

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