Book Info: YA Fantasy, ARC via NetGalley, Hardcover 416 pages
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
I’m thrilled to be the next stop in the Throne of Glass blog tour, brought to you by Bloomsbury Teens! Today I’m sharing my review of the book as well as an interview with author Sarah J. Maas.
I have to say sometimes it takes me a while to get swept away by fantasy books, but I found Throne of Glass to be compulsively readable. The fantasy, mystery, action and romance elements worked well together and there was always something exciting going on to keep me reading. It kind of reminded me of Maria V. Snyder’s Study series, one of my favorites. The heroine Celaena is headstrong, confident, and crafty and I just liked her right away. In short, this is my kind of fantasy read.
Celaena Sardothien is at the young age of eighteen a famed assassin who is serving hard time in the salt mines of Endovier. Prince Dorian offers her an opportunity for early release if she joins the competition to be the King’s Champion, and puts her assassin skills to work for the royal court. She must first though defeat a group of other thieves and assassins vying for the same chance at freedom through tests of skill.
During the competition Celaena lives and trains in the castle along with the other competitors, an unsavory bunch (one of them is disturbingly called the Eye Eater.) Captain Choal Westfall is her trainer/protector and has increasingly friendly feelings for Celaena. Celaena also intrigues Prince Dorian, though at the ripe old age of nineteen he’s under pressure to choose a bride from a Queen-approved list of potential wives. There are bigger things to worry about in the court though– some of the fellow competitors are turning up dead in quite a gruesome fashion. Celaena tries to keep a low profile, but worries she might be the next victim.
Celaena is cunning and a skilled fighter although she’s a little out of shape since her imprisonment. Besides the competition, Celaena is a girl after my own heart and loves to read. She’s had a rough life and hasn’t had a lot of friends, but she meets the visiting Princess Nehemia and they have an instant rapport. Though Celaena is a skilled assassin she also appreciates music, fashion, flirting, and dessert, and she has a quick wit. I can’t think of another heroine quite like her.
The world building sets a good foundation while also leaving some mystery. I haven’t yet read the prequels but I’m eager to pick them up and see if they fill in some of the missing pieces.
There is a hint of a love triangle in Throne of Glass, though since I liked both Choal and Dorian it didn’t bother me too much. They both have good qualities, though I have my favorite for Celaena.
Overall, Throne of Glass is a good choice for casual fans of high fantasy – it is not a hardcore high fantasy so don’t let that scare you off if fantasy is not your thing. I liked spotting the subtle references to Cinderella sprinkled throughout the book too. Throne of Glass is an entertaining read with standout characters and a fast paced plot. I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel.
Interview with Author Sarah J. Maas:
1. I love the story on your blog about the first inspiration of Throne of Glass, that you speculated what if Cinderella was as an assassin off to kill the prince at the ball. Even though Throne of Glass is not a retelling of Cinderella, are there other fairytales you’d be interested in putting your own spin on?
Sarah: Well, I actually have a Beauty and the Beast retelling in the works right now—it’s a YA fantasy where “Beauty” is actually a huntress. It’s also a mash-up of the legends of BatB, “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” and “Tam-Lin.” But it remains to be seen what I’ll wind up doing with the book!
2. Throne of Glass has been in the works for ten years. What has been your favorite part of your journey to publication?
Sarah: Meeting such extraordinary, wonderful, and interesting people. Whether they be fans, or authors, or other publishing professionals, the people have made this journey the greatest experience I’ve ever had in my life.
Sarah: Oh, hard question. My favorite is a little spoiler-y, so I’m just going to say any scene with Celaena and Chaol. <3
4. If Throne of Glass had a theme song what would it be?
Sarah: Agh! Another hard question! The book has so many elements that one song doesn’t really sum it up. I do have a playlist, though, up on the Mundie Moms website.
5. I was able to meet you at Comic-Con this year at the Remixed Fairytales and Superhero Lore book signing. What was your favorite Comic-Con moment?
Sarah: Honestly? It’s a toss-up between meeting James Clemens (AKA James Rollins), author of WIT’CH FIRE (which was a huge reason why I got into writing fantasy), and meeting Melina Marchetta (author of the LUMATERE CHRONICLES). But on top of all that, my favorite part of CC was just getting to spend 5 days with my best friend, Susan Dennard, author of the amazing SOMETHING STRANGE & DEADLY.
6.Your protagonist Celaena is a kick-ass heroine who is strong and cocky. If she had more time to read, what current book would she pick up?
Sarah: Hmmm. If we’re sticking to current/recent-ish books, then right now, I think she’d love CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein, FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK by Melina Marchetta, LEGEND by Marie Lu, ALPHABET OF THORN by Patricia A. McKillip, ANGELS’ BLOOD by Nalini Singh, and DRAGON BOUND by Thea Harrison.
7. What’s coming up next for you that we can look forward to reading?
Sarah: Book Two of THRONE OF GLASS! No title or expected publication date yet, but I think we’re aiming for Fall 2013.
Thanks so much for the interview, Sarah!