Friday, August 8, 2014

Throne of Glass: My Cheeky Assassin Friend

Title: Throne of Glass
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Author: Sarah J. Mass
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: August 7th, 2012
Literary Awards: Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2015)
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA; Fantasy; Action; Romance

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.

My Thoughts and Reflections:
I can't remember where I heard of this book, probably a list somewhere of great YA Fantasy books, but needless to say I  requested it from the library and read it over my vacation.
I feel like I should address the misleading blurb above.  In my opinion, Celaena's relationship with the crown prince is much more prominent than her relationship with Captain Westfall.  Despite the implications of a love triangle, (which really is a love square because of the presence of Lady Kaitlin), I never really got that vibe from these characters relationships.  Mostly because Celaena was never debating between the two of them, she never was pining over either of them at all.  She sort of just went along with her relationships in her own manner, hiding her emotions from her suitors and the reader.
Celaena was an interesting protagonist, and I mean that in the best way.  Her tendency to hide her thoughts and feelings added a layer of mystery to the story, because it was harder to grasp her perspective in certain situations, so the reader was forced to look at all angle to get an idea of what was going on.
Captain Westfall was my favorite character overall.  He was such a respectable man, and his inner struggle throughout the story is quite visible and fun as a reader to observe.  The Crown Prince, on the other hand, felt bland in comparison.  There was nothing significant about his personality, (of course he differed like all princes do from what their fathers say), except from his ability to hold out from Celaena for so long.  
The plot had a good, steady pace but the climax felt underrated as if there could have been more to it.  There were times when I thought certain things were going to happen, but the didn't.  However, those things would have fit better with the story.  Despite how bizarre the ending felt (and it was a tad bit rushed) I feel like it did stay true to Celaena's character.  I praise Mass' writing because it had a way of keeping my glued to the story, and when I was forced to pause the previous scene would linger in my mind for some time.  Mass also peppered in small instances where she implied that there was more story to come, which was great.  It was a perfect way to set up a series, because the reader knew that we didn't quite have all of the information.  To be honest, we don't really know Celaena that well at all.

I absolutely adored this book.  Anyone who is a fan of Fantasy, Actiony books, and lots of feigned romance will love this.  I can't wait to read more; Sarah J. Mass has passed with flying colors.

Dust Jacket Ramblings:
This is the redesigned cover (I'm not even going to talk about the original).  I think that this cover captures the book in such a good manner and this is a perfect example of a time to use an illustration over a model.

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