Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1-#0.5) & Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

SummaryCelaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out. (Via Goodreads.com)

Pages: 435

Release Date: March 4th, 2014

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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SummaryAfter 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 exhilarating. 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.
  (Via Goodreads.com)

Pages: 404

Release Date: August 7th, 2014 

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Reviews:
     The Throne of Glass series had been sitting on my To-Be-Read pile for over a year. I have had all four books since Heir of Fire was released in early September of last year and I have heard nothing but good things about the series from everyone and their mother. However, I have been procrastinating to read the series.
     Usually I am able to get on a book bandwagon ahead of time or when the series is starting to pick up steam, but that was not the case for Throne of Glass. I had been pushing off reading the series because I was so nervous about all the hype surrounding it. I tend to love books that many people do not like and I tend to hate books that a lot of people love. For example, I read The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater way before all the buzz surrounding it and I absolutely hated it. I have only ever meet one person that felt the same way. 
     Anyway, I knew I had to eventually read Throne of Glass and the perfect window of opportunity arose when it was announced that the author, Sarah J. Maas, was going to attend ApollyCon, the release party for Jennifer L. Armentrout's The Return, in Philadelphia. I decided that I wanted to try to have at least read half of her books before I met her so I would not look like a fool. Thankfully, I was able to meet my goal and I got to talk to Sarah J. Maas about her books. We didn't talk too much about her actual book, but we discussed the cover pages. I thought the crystal looking images on the cover page was salt from the Endovier salt mine while Sarah assumed it was glass. After a couple minutes debate, we concluded that it looked more like Jello than anything else.
      Going into both The Assassins Blade and Throne of Glass, I had extremely high expectations. Thankfully, my expectations were met. Celaena is such a sassy and kick-butt character who is so relatable; although, I do not know about you, but I am not nearly as coordinated or intimidating as her.  
     I approached the Throne of Glass novels rather slowly. One of the hardest genres for me to get into is fantasy. I love a good fantasy novel but it takes me a while to get used to the world building and all the magical/fictional elements to the world. Once I am used to the world though, I am able to really indulge in the story and get taken away into their world. I took my time reading The Assassins Blade and the first half of Throne of Glass until I was really familiar with the world and did not have to refer to the map every five minutes. Once I got used to the world, I really got lost in the story. 
     On Sarah J. Maas' website I printed out the Throne of Glass pronunciation guide and the map of Erilea as references and I highly recommend doing so. I know I am not the only one that does not understand how to say half of Sarah J. Maas' characters and the pronunciation guide really came in handy. Now I can actually talk to someone about the series and not use acronyms or a name somewhat close to theirs in order to refer to them (*cough* Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy *cough*). I know there is a map of Erilea in on one of the first pages in each of the books, but it is inconvenient to constantly flip back and forth between the map and the story. I love when maps are included in books but I wish they unfolded so you could refer to the maps and still read at the same time.  
     The first thing that automatically draws you into the Throne of Glass series is the cover. They are absolutely stunning and extremely unique. I really want a glass display case in my room in order to display all my books that have beautiful covers. The only thing that somewhat freaks me out about the book is its size. Each of the books are bigger than my head. I do not know why, but for some reason, that really concerns me.  
     The Assassins Blade and Throne of Glass constantly had my heart racing while I was on the edge of my seat. I could not get enough of either of the books and I am so excited to continue reading the series. I would highly recommend reading this series if you are a fan of heart racing action, fantasy, or the novel Graceling by Kristin Cashore. 






    

     I do not know what to think about Arobynn. On one hand, he is a horribly manipulative person who arranged Sam's death, On the other hand, he is the only parent Celaena has ever had and raised her to become such a strong women and assassin. He has proven countless times to never double-cross him, but Celaena always does. I do not know if we should hate Arobynn for being himself or hate Celaena for trusting him. I am leaning more towards the latter because she has witnessed and been punished for double-crossing Arobynn several times but she has yet to learn from her mistakes. In both of the novels, she has been trying to talk herself out of believing that Arobynn was the one to arrange Sam's death and surrender her to the king. You can only pity Celaena for ending up in the salt mines for so long because she put all of this on herself by double-crossing Arobynn. Yet, it is hard to because Arobynn saved her life when she was a child and gave her a second chance at life. I would not want to believe that the person who raised/saved me would be capable of doing such horrible things. However, Celaena should be somewhat immune to Arobynn's cunning and deceptive side since she has known him for almost her entire life. What do you guys think of Arobynn? 
     A few months prior to reading The Assassins Blade I was scrolling down my news feed on Twitter when I stumbled upon a tweet in which a reader was crying to Sarah J. Mass about killing off Sam. Like everyone else, I HATE coming across spoilers online, especially when they are major plot twists. They normally ruin the book for me because I am so focused on trying to find the spoiled scene that I miss out on the beauty of the book I am reading. The spoiler I came across about Sam's death really put a damper on The Assassins Blade for me. Instead of flying threw the pages in anticipation of the unknown ending, I was savoring Celaena and Sam's moments together and dreading to finish the book. Surprisingly, when it came to Sam's death, I cried. Normally when I am spoiled about a character's death, I am perfectly fine because I was prepared for it to happen. Sam really touched me. He got under my skin and I did not want him to leave. 
     One thing I really wanted to address briefly in my review was the fact that Celaena had her period during Throne of Glass. Out of the hundreds of books I have read, this is the first book I have read to include a female character on her period. I could not stop laughing during the scene when she was feeling horrible due to her menstrual cycle and at first Chaol did not believe she was feeling sick until she vomited. Then he gets worried  because
 she is sick and all the while Celaena is trying to explain to him she is on her period without saying it. Like most guys, Chaol does not understand what she is talking about and Celaena had to tell him. The struggles of periods and males being oblivious to them are two struggles women face monthly and it was so funny to see it happen outside of my own experiences. 
     Along with all the hype for the series, I also heard a lot about the love triangle. I am currently on Team Dorian but I have not been exposed to both of the boys long enough in order to pick which one fits Celaena best. More than likely I will have a definite pick by the end of Crown of Midnight.
     My current reading schedule has not allowed me to continue on in the Throne of Glass series, but I hope to read the next two books, Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire, in April or May. I am currently satisfied with the ending of Throne of Glass and I can wait a couple of months for my schedule to clear in order to give the next two books my undivided attention. I at least hope to finish them by BookCon this year so if I meet Sarah J. Maas again, I can talk to her more in depth about her books. 
     I have no idea what to expect in Crown of Midnight. From what was featured/foreshadowed in Throne of Glass, I expect more kick-butt characters and dangerous missions for Celaena to complete as the king's Champion. I am also hoping for some more magic elements woven into the plot and, of course, romance.
     Overall, The Assassins Blade and Throne of Glass are two gorgeous books on both the inside and the outside. The books are packed full of action, fantasy, and suspense that leaves you wanting me.  













(Me, Sarah J. Maas)
Photo Taken at ApollyCon

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