Fantasy series are so much fun. From Terry Goodkind’s The Sword of Truth to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, LOTR, His Dark Materials, you name it I will read it. I love elves and dragons and weird symbols and chants and magic. To me fantasy > science fiction any day of the week (although I still love sci-fi too!). So when I came across Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series I figured jumping into another universe to play would be soothing.
Something to remember when beginning a fantasy series of this length is that the first book can feel a bit name/concept heavy. If the author is planning for more than just a trilogy, you’re about to meet a hell of a lot of people or you’re about to get a full history of a location/religion/war(s) and it’s going to be a little bit discouraging. Maas provides us with a map inside the cover of all the places we will likely need to know about, as they have been conquered by the King who is holding a contest to see who will become his right hand assassin. As you read this book, you see all the pieces that will probably be brought into play in later books, and see small glimpses of a rebellion.
Celaena has been sent as a slave to a mine in Endovier, where “criminals” are sent to their deaths. She has been there for a year when the crown prince Dorian comes to fetch her to fight on his behalf in the King’s tournament. Maas decides to stick to the YA formula of giving our heroine two gentlemen who will pine for her: Dorian and the Captain of the King’s Guard Chaol (Kyle?) who is tasked with guarding and training her during the tournament. I like that they agonize over her instead of her agonizing over choosing between them, but I bet that happens later in the series. Dorian gets the upper hand in this book and we get some kissing – definitely not as hot as the Darkling/Alina action in the Grisha trilogy but it’s nice.
The cover of the book boasts that fans of Game of Thrones and the Hunger Games will LOVE IT!! Eh *shrug* I think it is it’s own thing. Just because people are competing doesn’t make something the Hunger Games, especially since the losers of each round don’t get murdered, and sometimes rounds are just skipped altogether. This book is nothing like Game of Thrones. Period. Jacket accolades tend to be alternate facts more often than not, but I do enjoy seeing how wrong they are sometimes.
The one mystery we have that I am looking forward to exploring more is this darkness/Wyrdmarks plot device. There is a spiritual In-Between where dark and light spirits alike lurk and seek to help or hurt those in the real world. Magic has been outlawed by the King but as we all know, just because you outlaw something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The use of ancient symbols and magical abilities must be on the horizon.
It wasn’t a great book on its own, but it sets a decent foundation for a longer series and it was good enough to keep me engaged and I’ve requested the next book from the library. If you’re looking for a good YA (well, she’s 18 and the gentlemen are in their early 20s, so late-YA) fantasy series headed by a badass chick who loves to read, consider picking up Throne of Glass and meeting some new companions who will keep you company.
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