Monday, September 28, 2015

Series Recommendation: Throne of Glass

Last week, there were several days when I almost got to bed early. And if you know me, you know I love sleep. But I didn't go to bed early. Why? Because I had a 650-page book to read! As I was heading for my bed, this book was just sitting there, like, "Read me. Reeeead meeee..." So I did. And it was fantastic. What is this magical book that took priority over sleep? Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas.

Queen of Shadows is the fourth book in Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series (The other books are: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire. There's also a prequel: The Assassin's Blade). Because this book is so far along in the series, I don't want to say too much about major plot points. BUT I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the books in the series, so I'm going to tell you why you should read the series.

*I will try to keep spoilers out of this. But as I start talking about the second, third, and fourth book in the series, there may be spoiler-y moments. You've been warned.*

Throne of Glass follows an 18-year-old girl named Celaena Sardothien. She's been imprisoned as a slave in a salt mine for a year, an occupational hazard when you're a ruthless assassin. But now, the Crown Prince, Dorian, tells her she can be free as long as she becomes his champion in a competition to become the royal assassin. Since she'll only have to work as an assassin for three years and then be free, she accepts.

The sell: Do I even have to say any more about this? Celaena is one of my favorite characters in YA lit. She's an assassin, she loves reading (she and Dorian talk about books a lot. It's like a little book club), and even though she's a strong independent woman, she really likes living in the palace and having pretty clothes. This book has action, romance, and fantastic female characters (pretty cool male ones, too).

I have heard that the first book is hard to get into for many people (However, I loved it and read it in one night). I think this is mainly due to the world-building and the establishing of all the characters. But if you're starting a new series, I think you have to expect a little of that.

The stats: 404 pages, 2 covers (except most people ignore the first one), and for me, 5 stars.

Crown of Midnight is the second book in the series. Celaena now works for the king, but she's pretty sure he's evil. Her friends--Dorian, Chaol, and Nehemia--have their own secrets, and Celaena's trying to figure out who to trust. But then something happens that forces all the issues out into the open (Look, I really can't be any more specific than that. The spoilers!).

The sell: From what I've read on Goodreads, the people who didn't love Throne of Glass but still read this book loved it. I think in this book, Celaena really gets to show how awesome she is. Like I said, the first book has to deal with establishing the world and the characters. In this one, they start getting developed more.

The stats: 418 pages, 1 major plot twisty reveal, and 5 stars from me!

Heir of Fire. What can I say about Heir of Fire without spoiling anything? Not much. Celaena goes to a different land to learn about her family's history and herself. She goes through training to become even more awesome and tough because there are evil forces threatening the people she loves.

The sell: We get two (three? You decide about Sorscha) new major characters in this book, and it's a bit odd. Celaena's in one land, Dorian and Chaol are in another, and then there's Manon, who's in a different place. The Celaena/Dorian and Chaol separation was fine, but I had some trouble getting used to Manon. All of a sudden, she's just there. But by the time I got through the first half and Manon was starting to develop as a character, I started to love her. Push through the weirdness, people! It's worth it!

The stats: 562 pages, 1 tear-inducing ending, and another 5 star rating from me.

And now we're up to Queen of Shadows. I'm still not over it. I feel a little bad for the book I'm reading now (Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon) because I'll be reading, and then I'll just stop and say, "But remember when Lysandra saved the day? That was SO COOL." Celaena is back in Adarlan, and she's not messing around. She's got the gang together (If I was assembling an army, I'd want Aedion, Rowan, Chaol and Lysandra to be on it, too), and they're going to get the king. It's so cool. Every character (except, you know, the creepy evil ones) is fantastic. Manon! Asterin! Kaltain! My heart!

The stats:  648 pages, countless audible gasps, and 5 stars.

(Hmm. I knew I loved the series, but I didn't think I really gave each book 5 stars. I think the endings are just SO GOOD that I couldn't possibly deny them five stars.)

Overall, this is a series with a lot of plot twists, action, emotional moments, romance, and clever characters. Highly recommended. And once you've read it, please let me know--I need to talk about spoiler-y things with someone! Those last 150 pages were insane.

Happy reading!

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