Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fresh off my listen of the Assassin's Blade novellas, I listened to Throne of Glass. Definitely glad I did because I have zero memory of reading this book the first time around. Literally nothing other than things like Celena exists.
We come upon our heroine about a year after she's been sent to the salt mines to live out the rest of her miserable life. The crown prince Dorian swoops in and picks her out of the mines to come and fight as his personal pick for the King's Champion competition. Together with the Captain of the Guard Chaol, they transport and help transform Celena back into the fighter that she was prior to being sent away.
While she's living in luxury, she's also having to fight for her life and try not to get sent away again. No one trusts her and she's half miserable half ecstatic. On top of everything else, there's a creature that's disemboweling other competitors.
It's a lot. Weirdly it's not too much, but it is a lot.
So here's the issue I have. Having just listened to Assassin's Blade and reading what an arrogant bad ass she is, it's hard to read Celena played out so vapidly. One could argue that the contrast makes for a more layered character and you wouldn’t be wrong. But it feels like two entirely different people.
As female centric YA adventure/romance stories go, I still maintain that this is one of the better ones. While there is a romance aspect to the story, it's not so front and center that it swallows the rest of the novel in the longing looks and the anxiety over "does he feel the same?"
This is also something the Leigh Bardugo does exceptionally well. There's always room for romance in these books, but when that's ALL the character can think about it gets a little annoying for me.
Celena is still a bad ass and even though she's thinking things through more in this book. She's also helping more people and starting to let people in even though it terrifies her.
I've already started the next book and I'm still loving the series. And I'm still definitely glad that I took the time to listen instead of read them.
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