Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) By Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 3.5~4 stars
I was very looking forward to the release of this book. I wanted to read it so much that I even got an ARC of it before its release. At the end I had both an e-ARC and a hard copy (I ended up reading the hard copy XD). I love assassin stories, but most of the assassins in books I have read are guys (e.g. Valek from Posion Study), so having a girl assassin as the main character was even more intriguing. After I finished, I can say that I did like the story. It was interesting and well written, however I was a bit disappointed and it was a bit under my expectation.
The most important reason of why it was disapppointing was: while it was an assassin story, AND the main character Celaena was supposed to be the most fearsome/best assassin of the entire continent, she never assassinates anyone or even attempt to in the story, and she wasn't portrayed as a slightly bit fearsome at all! Every exercise/trick she did was always very ordinary. All she does was some muscle exercise, we didn't see anything that was suitable for the name of such a great assassin. Also, Maas glossed over the parts of her exercise and the actual competition of her competiting against other criminals to become the King's Champion. All we really read about it Celaena's feelings toward Dorian and Chaol and what she saw in the castle. While that part was interesting to read about and written beautifully, I didn't see how this matched the idea of having an assassin. Most of this book was revolving around Celaena finding the unusual things in the glass castle about magic, not much was involving real action.
Aside from my complains about that, I actually did enjoy reading the book. I liked the fantasy landscape Sarah J. Maas created. I also really liked the idea of having an entire castle made of glass. I sure wouldn't want to live in there (just like Celaena) but I did think it was a very innovative idea. The writing was also rather beautiful, I liked the word choices and the sentence structures. She didn't have too many run-on sentences which I found very typical in YA books. I liked the descriptions of colours and clothing, as well as the landscape. I could imagine all the characters and the places they were in very well, which I thought was quite important in a book -- to bring out the world it was set in.
I didn't particularly like the character of Celaena. I didn't know why, but although the book was mainly written from her angle (it's written in third-person perspective), I didn't seem to get to know her very well and didn't connect with her emotions very often. She was quite suspicious of other people's motive, understandable due to her circumstance, but she seemed to always make the wrong assumptions. She wasn't very emotional. I totally didn't get how she really felt about either Dorian or Chaol. Did she ever love Dorian? I don't know. And, did she love Chaol now? It was all very confusing, and I didn't like the fact she delved into a relationship without understanding how she felt. One thing I did like about her was that she was independent and always took up a challenge. She strove to be the best she wanted. She was proactive and she liked reading! XD
I liked Dorian, apart from him being a sort of a womaniser. He really changed through the story and he became a better man. He was very loving and determined to do the things he set his mind to do. He was gentle and not at all like his father, but he still knows how to put up a great fight. I want him to stay that way in that respect, and not develop a cold heart in the next book. One thing I didn't like though, was how much he depended on Celaena. He didn't believe in himself enough.
Chaol was an interesting character. I liked him and didn't like him at the same time. He hid his emotions from the reader too well. I liked how he stayed strong and observant all the way through story. He was also suspicious of other people's motives and was bent on protecting the people he cared about. His attitude and opinion towards Celaena changed significantly in the book and I liked him better because of that too. However, he could seem cold and hurtful at times. Lastly, Nehemia was an admirable character. She was an awesome friends who would help her friends no matter what it cost her. She was strong and knew when to keep herself closed off from others and when to open up to a friend. As a foreign princess, she actually CARED about her people. Many princesses I had read about rarely did this, they were always so head over heels into their own business (usually their love lives). I liked the rebellious quality Nehemia has too.
Overall, it's a good book, but not a great book. I liked it. But if you are not really into fantasy and magic, then this is probably not your kind of book. The ending wasn't abrupt, but I just felt like it was only half the book. The pace was a bit slow and not too much really happens. I thought Maas could have written more into this book and made it more memorable (especially the ending). I'm still interested in reading the next book and I hope the characters will develop to be better and Celaena will actually become a proper assassin under Maas's hand.
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.