With summer in full swing, there is a habit that has been engrained in me since I was a little kid. You see, being a librarian’s daughter, I was always “lucky” enough to spend my summer partially in a library, whether it be my mom’s school, or the public library. You can read all about my woes of falling out of love with reading during college here, but there is good news.
I love reading again!
At my local library, there is a summer program full of different prizes for reading. Every time you read 3 hours, you can turn in a completed reading sheet and get a prize AND get a chance to win $50 gift card. Seriously, if you are in the Madison County area, you should check out what is happening at our libraries. Unlike school libraries, they will even let you check out up to 37 books at a time! I’ve got a portion of the library here at my home at the moment.
Now here’s the slightly embarrassing part about all those books.
I am a 23 year old woman and a lover of literature, but so far this summer I cannot pry myself away from young adult books!
This is not the worst thing that could happen to me, of course. In fact, I consider myself doing research so that when students come and ask me what book they should read, I have a ready answer for them. I pride myself for being able to pair a good book to a student, based on their interest.
That being said, when you see any of the book reviews I write this summer, don’t be too surprised if most of them are young adult.
My first book review of the summer is a book I literally could not sit down. I was glued on the couch for hours, deperate to find out what happened next. A real page turner.
Throne of Glass, is one in a continuing series by Sarah Maas. I’ve decided to divide my review into three parts: a summary, my thoughts, and my favorite parts (which are obviously spoilers).
Summary (does not contain spoilers)
My general summary of this book is that it could be compared to a cross of Hunger Games and almost any fantasy book. If you like either you will more than likely enjoy this book. I certainly did. In an alternate world, Celaena is a slave of a concentration salt mine when the prince of the kingdom and his royal guard show up at her door step. Prince Dorian and his right hand man, Chaol Westerfield, offer her a proposition: she becomes the king’s assassin and gains her freedom back after four years of servitude. Oh yeah, this 18 year old, blonde-haired girl? She was the kingdom’s most dreaded assassin on the streets. And the catch? She has to compete against other warriors and criminals to gain the title the King’s Champion (a glorified nickname for killer).
Celaena accepts, with confidence she will win the competition and become free one day. Dorian and Chaol, although neither of them will admit it, are immediately fascinated by the woman. Some time goes by, as they travel back to the kingdom, Celaena loathes staying in the king’s castle made of glass, and Chaol the captain watches her every move, in fear she will one day snap and obliterate them all. This fashion-loving, book-adoring assassin, though, simply wants to win her freedom, despite all the opportunities she could take to escape. Apparently she is that good, and shows her skills off when the training finally begins.
The rest of the book is about Celaena’s battle throughout the competition, entwined with the growing friendship of a princess she doesn’t know if she can trust, mystery of magic woven deep in the castle, mystery of her higher purpose, and of course budding romance. In this aspect of the book, although there is a lot of fantasy and action going on, I couldn’t help but choose a guy I liked the most for Celaena and root for him throughout the entire book. I was a total fan girl. I’ll reveal more later, so I don’t reveal too much now. All I will reveal is that this book is laden with action, mystery, and romance.
My Thoughts: (minimal spoilers)
- I should begin by noting that by all means is this no difficult piece of high literature. I enjoyed to solely because it was fun to read. As far as I noticed, the story wasn’t allegorical or didn’t have a deeper meaning, but I felt like it was a good read still.
- I really enjoyed how this book had a little something for everyone. There was action, strategy, fantasy, mystery, and of course the famous one girl/two boys romance combo.
- The plot was very easy to follow along, which I really appreciated. There are some fantasy books that have so many complicated names and histories, but Maas laid everything out very plainly. In other words, I was rarely confused while reading this book, which I really appreciated. As an author, I know it must be hard to simplify an entire world, but Maas did a great job of making this alternate universe easy to obtain.
- I enjoyed being able to recognize the fact that is book is one of a series. There was a lot of beginning that had no endings, which would really annoy me if it was a solo book, but it definitely gave me something to look forward to in the other books.
- I compare this book to reading Twilight, except better. I was unashamedly rooting for one male character to gain the attention of Celaena, and the other one was meh. It reminded me of the Team Jacob and Team Edward days. Those dark, dark days.
- I’ll mention once again there was a lot
- I also felt like Celaena was one of those characters that you could easily want to be. She is tough, talented, beautiful, strong, funny, and witty. There were moments where there was a lack of character development behind her actions, but for the most part Celaena could easily be compared to Katniss Everdeen, just more deadly and with more confidence.
- I thought it was interesting and satisfying to see a glimpse of the occasional thoughts and individual moments from different characters. For example, sometimes you would get some of Dorian’s perception of what was happening in the storyline.
- The ending of this book seemed a little out of nowhere. Without giving too much away, the romance part kind of sucker punched you.
My favorite moments: (major spoilers)
Most of these are just complete fangirl moments.
- The immediate character development as Chaol was leading her around a castle in the beginning to get her lost. She wouldn’t be tricked that easily.
- The moment she saved Nox from falling to his doom in the absurd “test” the competitors had to face. I mean who doesn’t love building-climbing, free-falling action to save a guy from becoming court splatter? It really spoke to Celaena’s character.
- The friendship between Nehemia and Celaena. I’m glad there seems to be another strong female character for Celaena to bond with. During the part of the book where Celaena questioned her loyalty to her, I was so dreadful that Nehemia would turn out to be the villain!
- Did I mention I was “Team Chaol?”
- Chaol + Celaena forever please!
- Sorry, I didn’t know why I went there.
- Although Prince Dorian was described as very handsome, and he was definitely more kind than his evil father, Chaol and Celaena were so compatible. I mean he’s into the whole fighting then, she’s into the fighting thing…sorry, Dorian! I really hoped that he and Nehemia would hit it off, but it never happened…at least in this book…Celaena and Chaol’s sarcastic, witty relationship just paired them together so much better.
- I enjoyed the hints of magic that were placed around the book. The little footprints in the camp site in the beginning, the Eye of Elena, the “visions” Celaena believes she is seeing. I didn’t, however, like how the Wydricks produced a ridderak. I want to see some Fae!
I’m not going to rate this book, but I 100% recommend this book, not only to mature students (due to the murdering factor), but to adults as well!