Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Every so often you come across a book which makes you realise how one aspect can make one book shine so much brighter than others. For me, that aspect is the setting. If you can really, I mean really, imagine the place you're reading about, if you can feel the rain on your face, see the mud and dark shadows the characters have to pass through, if you feel yourself remembering places the character have visited. For me the minute a book holds a map on its pages showing the reader physically the world they are about to enter, this book almost definitely promises to be good. It promises me that there might be some depth, some adventure, some wars, some cross country trekking, most usually some magic, a lot of fantasy and it definitely promises the author has put enough effort into creating a world where their story can take place.
Maps are both aesthetic and functional, it might be just as I've never learnt the art of reading them, but I find something alluring about the lines of a map portraying vast expanses of land in a small space whispering a whole lot of secrets to anyone who will listen..... Anyway enough about my admiration of maps; basically seeing a map of the world I was about to enter before I'd even started the story fills me with a great deal of hope!
And Throne of Glass delivered, when I received it in the post, I'd been a little apprehensive over where the story would go, but go it did! The first part of the blurb:
'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.'
At this I was intigued, to say the least, an kick-ass assasin, a girl at that, it promised to be good! But then the second part;
'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?'
Here my apprehensions started to form as it sounded a bit like a rip-off of the Hunger Games, with a bit of cheesy romance thrown in. I mean 'melted'??? It was a turn-off of a word to use!
However I am more than happy to give Ms Sarah J. Maas a thumbs up! I adored Throne of Glass and I read from beginning to end non-stop. Although the romance was a bit cheesy there were still some scenes which I wouldn't have predicted and thoroughly enjoyed. Celaena was a flirt and a tease with The High Prince Dorian but it wasn't in a way that meant the reader wanted to slap her but it made for some amusing exchanges between the two of them and I loved following them. Celaena and Captain Westfall was more predictable but I liked how the novel ended without any firm plans being set in Celaena's love life thus allowing it to further develop in the other coming novels.
The setting, as you might have guessed, was very well done, and Maas delivered a complex world with the countries at war, and rebels fighting back. This separate plot of the bigger picture was woven in well amongst the immediate story of Celaena and her Champions tournament. On the whole Maas has created a story that I adored, a right mash of the Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings and a bit of James Bond! I have bought the second in the series and also ordered a Kindle, for other reasons, but mainly the fact there are 4 e-novellas available on Amazon!
I think, and I don't think I'll regret it, but Throne of Glass will earn a Skinny rating (6 out of 5) as although it had a few minor faults the story itself was so enthralling that they slipped to the kerb!
It can be ordered from Amazon.co.uk for £3.85 and is published by Bloomsbury. It's been a while since I've read a series I've really really loved and wanted to buy the next book for reasons other than making sure the plot didn't change too far from what I'd predicted! In other words I've brought a Crown of Glass for the book and the story and the characters theirselves rather than the whole series!
I wholly suggest you invest, Sarah J. Mass, Erilea and Celaena deserve a huge fan following!