Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)
Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass
Volume: 1
Genre: High Fantasy
Release Date: August 7, 2012

A Quick Introduction: Celaena Sardothien was the kingdoms most feared assassin before being captured and enslaved in one of the kingdom's salt mines for her crimes. Now the Crown Prince has come to her with an offer that could lead her to freedom: act as his champion in his father's contest to select the royal assassin, become the King's Champion for four years, and then she will have her freedom. It is an offer with high enough stakes, even without other champions turning up savaged and disembowled, hints of something evil stirring in the castle and Celaena's own interest in both the Prince and the Captain of the Royal Guard. Navigating the dangers that lay in  the palace might be too much for even Adarlan's Assassin to face.

Out of Ten: 6/10 

Review at a Glance: A decent series opening, though the lack of emotional connection to the characters hindered the reading experience somewhat.

Review: Overall I found Throne of Glass alright. The story didn't consistently carry me, and frankly the love triangle could have been improved by not existing at all (as is typically the case with love triangles), but I still found it reasonably enjoyable.

The characters were interesting enough, though I didn't find myself emotionally connecting with or investing in them. There was just something that was missing that stopped that level of emotional connection for me. That said, I found Celaena and interesting character, and she certainly had traits that I could appreciate, and some that I didn't. She's an assassin, trained from the time she was eight years old, when her parents were brutally killed, and has spent the past year enslaved in a mine after her capture. Despite the fact that she is trained to kill, and had killed before, she's also feminine and aware of her own attractiveness (which made a nice change). Sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my head around her as an assassin, though- she just doesn't seem ruthless or manipulative enough. While I didn't really feel an emotional connection to her, I still enjoyed reading her story for the most part. Same goes for the two love interests, Dorian and Chaol. I feel like I need to see them develop more as characters. Nehemia, a visiting princenss whom Celaena forms a friendship with would benefit from some development as well, since she still came off as somewhat flat at times, but has potential as a character. I think that they all do.

The relationships between the three of them weren't something I was completely invested in- likely a symptom of my lack of emotional connection to the characters. While I gripe about love triangles (and don't get me wrong I still think that they are a worn out plot device that is very rarely done well), this one was at least well balanced. Sometimes the endgame is so obvious that it is pathetic, but I'm not sure what will happen with this one. My degree of caring about it will likely be determined by whether or not I develop an attachment to the characters. I just didn't really feel the romance in this one (again, this is probably an emotional connection thing).

I was a bit strange about plot and pacing of the book. I don't know. This is going to sound really strange, but despite the fairly consistent action, I sometimes felt like things were moving slowly. I think that it was a combination of the intervening romantic scenes and that somehow the action didn't quite pull me in completely, though it generally managed to hold my attention. 

The writing in this book was fine. There wasn't anything that stood out to me. The language was typically modern, but fairly consistently so. The world building was decent (I do so love a map, as we all know), though I could have done with more description. It was more fantasy-lite than I was hoping for, but that was more personal than a flaw with the writing, I think. This is to be a six book series, so not everything has been revealed about the world so far. While the plot of this book on it's own was fairly predictable, the arc of the series itself could go any direction.

In conclusion, I enjoyed  Throne of Glass despite it's having some elements that I didn't like, namely the lack of connection that I felt to the characters, which negatively impacted my reading experience a bit. While I am picking up the next book, I'm not sure at this point if I would be in for the rest of the series. I feel like it could have a lot going for it, depending on how the rest is carried out.

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