| Part One |
Chapters 1 – 13
As one of the few people to have not read Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series, I couldn’t resist the opportunity of a read along, despite having heard very mixed opinions – ranging from extreme love to extreme hate! From the 8th – 18th January I will be reading Throne of Glass and posting my thoughts for discussion. The schedule has moved a day as alas! I couldn’t find the time to post yesterday! Here’s what the schedule looks like:
Discussion of chapters 1 – 13
Discussion of chapters 14 – 27
Discussion of chapters 28 – 39
Discussion of chapters 40 – end
Feel free to join in with the read along at any point and all discussion points are welcome (but no spoilers!!)… which reminds me:
| The Story So Far |
Celaena Sardothien, otherwise known as Adarlan’s Assassin, has been toiling for over a year in the Endovier Salt Mines after being taken prisoner by the King of Adarlan. When the Crown Prince and the Captain of the Guard unexpectedly arrive at the mines with a strange proposition, Celaena is whisked off to fight for her freedom in a competition of Champions. Win the competition and she will be granted her freedom. Lose and it could mean death.
Celaena is taken to the castle at Rifthold where, under an assumed name and identity, she meets the infuriating Kaltain Rompier and the engimatic Princess Nehemia of Eyllwe. After a brief introduction to the other Champions, she begins both her training for the contest and her navigation through courtly politics (where unfortunately murder is frowned upon). Will she become Champion of Champions? Will she kill Kaltain Rompier with a plant pot? We’ll just have to wait to find out!
| The Discussion |
Every time I embark on a new young adult novel or series I always have an immediate feeling of dread – Am I wasting my time? Will the characters be vapid and irritating? Will there be more romance than I can handle?! For the most part, this feeling is completely irrational as this could occur in any novel and I don’t actually read a lot of young adult fiction. However, just the barest suspicion can be enough to put me off completely… one can’t count on irrationality!
I’ll admit that when I first saw the Throne of Glass series I didn’t think it would be one for me. The varied opinions of fellow bloggers were often contradictory which, for the most part, seemed to be down to Celaena’s personality but, as ever, I wasn’t happy to stay out of the loop, so when I saw that Rinn was organising a read along I thought – why the hell not!
| The Cast |
Oh Celaena, I’ve heard some bad things about you – your overwhelming arrogance in particular – but I actually really like you! Yes, this is a woman with more than a little bit of an ego but she also comes across as funny, observant and charming. And I love a character who can worry about whether someone thinks she’s pretty whilst thinking about slitting their throat. I’ve already warmed to her so much more than I did Feyre in A Court of Thorns and Roses – clearly blood thirsty assassins are more my bag. However, I am only a short way into the novel so whether Celaena will irritate me in later chapters remains to be seen!
Enter Dorian. A charming and be-caped prince who is both devilishly handsome and sharp of mind… not to mention all the ladies he has overheating in their corsets. Whilst Dorian appears to have some wit and a good dollop of charm, I have a tendency to severely dislike literary males whose mere presence is enough to see all rational and intelligent females lose their heads. Some steaming under the bonnet is however acceptable. Play on – judgement not yet passed.
Gruff and a bit rough around the edges, Chaol is a man who isn’t afraid to drag Adarlan’s Assassin around by her hair if necessary. We’ve had the barest hints of his inner workings at this stage but he’s already a character I’m disposed to like. It looks likely that he will become an integral part of Celaena’s storyline. Oh, and he’s pretty nifty with a sword too.
This woman is an excellently irritating sort of character who may seem a teensy bit one dimensional at this stage. However, her encounters with Celaena are amusing and she may (and probably will) have more of a role still to play in the storyline. And you never know – the plant pot might not miss next time!
We’ve only just encountered the Princess of Eyllwe but there already seems to be a lot hiding beneath her serene exterior. Much of the devastating rule of the King of Adarlan is conveyed through her talk with Celaena, and we see the true extent of the destruction his armies wreak in order to rid the world of magic. In doing so, we also get to learn a little more about power extents and boundaries, along with the various cultural differences between lands. Nehemia is definitely an intriguing character who no doubt will play an important role. For good or ill? Who can say! (Not looking at those of you who have read it!)
At this point we know very little about the other champions brought along for the contest beyond one of them having an appetite for eyeballs and there being one big bastard who looks set to either be a worthy opponent or the first with a knife in his back. Celaena’s repeated references to the grey eyed fellow perhaps mark him out as something special – or perhaps even terrible. I’m definitely looking forward to the progression of the contest.
The King of Adarlan
Bitter and resentful, the King of Adarlan has sewn the seed of hatred throughout his kingdom and its continually expanding borders. His armies burn books, museums and galleries as they scour the land intent on the destruction of magic. Basically he’s a bit of a bastard. Whether Celaena would ever be granted freedom by him even if she does win remains to be seen – but I very much doubt that he’s a man of his word.
| The World |
Descriptively, this world is very intriguing. Maas has a lovely writing style which flows easily and engages you with beautiful, succinct descriptions. However it does throw up some questions as to the stage of civilisation that the world is at. But hey! It’s fantasy – you can do whatever the hell you want!
The Mines are an interesting location and the brief part of the novel which takes place here shows a harsh and unforgiving environment – though one can expect no less from a prison, I suppose. Celaena’s thoughts tend to stray back to this environment which helps to build a clearer picture, and I’m intrigued to learn more about its other residents.
Rifthold is a vibrant and rich location. The castle is described in wonderful detail, from the garish glass castle superimposed on the sturdy stone of the old to the disturbing clock tower with its menacing gargoyles leering down on those below. It’s definitely a fantastic stage to set a contest of Champions on!
What do you make of the world so far? Do you get any impressions or does anything conflict with your reading enjoyment?
| The Story |
Ohh, I really am enjoying this novel! If it continues in this vein, I have no doubts that I’ll be very satisfied by the end of it.
Hints of magic and a connection to Celaena’s past occur throughout this part of the novel and I fully expect them to become integral to the storyline as we read on. From Celaena’s removal from the mines to her instalment at the castle we get to learn a lot about her past, though many facts still remain a mystery. At this stage the novel is definitely concentrating on establishing its characters and conveying a believable world, along with building a good framework for the story to come. I particularly enjoyed the training practice between Celaena and Chaol, and her amusing sinister thoughts were a definite highlight throughout.
Celaena is definitely a complex character who has a wonderfully conflicted personality. The lack of care and emotion she displays when thinking about killing others should make her come across as cold but the hints of a different side to her background – her care for those imprisoned and enslaved in the mines, the destuction of books, knowledge and cultures by Adarlan’s army – definitely brings a bit of colour to her character and show two completely different aspects to her personality.
I can’t wait to find out what happens next – this novel already has me hooked! (And I did find it very hard to not read ahead before writing this post!). Despite my preconceived doubts, I’m so glad I picked up a copy! Thanks to those who recommend it!
What did you think about the story so far? Are you enjoying it? Does it capture your attention and imagination?
Stay tuned for the next instalment of this Read Along on 11th January