15/08/2014

Mini Reviews: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight & The Assassin's Blade {Sarah J Maas}


Written by Sarah J. Maas

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught. Now the King offers her a chance to fight as a champion in a competition to find the new royal assassin. Celaena's opponents are thieves and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the King's council. And if she beats them, she'll be granted her freedom. But when the contestants start dying outside of the arena, Celaena has to figure out who the killer is before she ends up next on their list. As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could have possibly imagined.
This is going to be a little different from my usual reviews because, with Heir of Fire coming out soon, I wanted to review the story so far. Which means this will be three mini reviews of the first book, the second, and the collection of prequel novellas. So let's get down to it!

Throne of Glass

This was a fantastic start to a truly epic fantasy series. Sarah J Maas cannot be faulted on her amazing ability to build a world so rich with detail and depth. It was a truly unique story, made more real by Maas's vivid descriptions and genius explorations of not only the lands and the people in it, but their individual cultures and backgrounds.

Celaena Sardothien was a brilliant leading character, both witty and cold-blooded. It was great being thrust into her world and watching with bated breath as she fought it out with the other competitors, tried to get to the bottom of the murders and truly started to build some bridges of trust with the other characters (especially Nehemia and Chaol).

One thing I do wish, is that we got to see more of her ruthless side, as I didn't feel like she was quite as deadly as it was being made out. But that was my only gripe in a book otherwise full of fascinating characters and an equally fascinating plot, with both mystery and non-stop action! 

"Libraries were full of ideas – perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons."

 
 

Crown of Midnight

 This was a phenomenal sequel that cemented my love of this series! It far surpassed any expectations I had and sent me from fan territory to fangirl territory. I was truly a mess after reading this.

The writing was flawless, the plot so intricately twisted and complex and, best of all, if I ever doubted Celaena's ferociousness, this book fixed that. She was ruthless, murderous, and fantastically so. Plus I was so glad her background was finally revealed, as it explained so much about her character and really helped to fill in some gaps!

I also appreciated that Dorian's character didn't fall to the wayside and was given a VERY interesting sub-plot of his own. But, I have to admit, Chaol and Celaena were my favourite thing. I was happy to see their relationship as a balance to all of the bloodshed and backstabbing that was filling the pages. They shine individually, but together they make for a fantastic team who bounce off of each other so well, making each scene with the two of them an absolute delight to read.

Magic is a lot more present in this. It's woven delicately into each chapter, remaining a mysterious and enigmatic thing that we, along with the characters, regard as both dangerous and mesmerising.

This book was so full of heartbreak and brilliantly gory action, that I didn't know what to do with myself after it was done. Except maybe cry into my pillow as I counted down the days until Heir of Fire. 

"To escape death, she'd become death." 


The Assassin's Blade 

I'm not a novella person, we all know this, but The Assassin's Blade is the book I credit with completely changing my views on novellas. This, my friends, is how it is done. These short adventures provided essential information and fleshed-out an already well-developed story even more.

I was so grateful for the background knowledge and to see how Celaena became the person she was when we met her in Throne of Glass. It was also beyond wonderful (and heartbreaking) to finally meet the elusive Sam. He was glorious and I can't even begin to describe the shattering sound my heart made when the novellas caught up with our current Sam-less timeline.

These novellas made me laugh and scream, and they offered such a wealth of new information that I'm really going to find useful going into Heir of Fire. I was once again captivated by Maas's fantastic storytelling!

"She would tuck Sam into her heart, a bright light for her to take out whenever things were darkest."

 

Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart
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36 comments:

  1. I'm reading Crown of Midnight now and liking it SO SO much better than Throne of Glass, which I gave 3 stars. Although...nobody warned me it was so sad!! *sobs* Can't wait to read The Assassin's Blade and Heir of Fire :D

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    1. It really is so much better, isn't it? I think it's because the character development just reached epic levels. And, uhm, yeah . . . wait until you've finished it before you think about sadness, because it gets even worse!

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  2. I still have to read the novella's, but I loved Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight! :D

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    1. They're so worth the read, honestly. I wasn't expecting much but ended up being completely blown away!

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  3. I haven't started this series yet, but it sounds fantastic! Going to look for the first book the next time I go to the library :)

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    1. It's become one of my favourite series - it's just so detailed and amazingly written

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  4. This is by far my most favorite YA fantasy series ever. I am so glad you love it every bit as much as I do. And yes, the novellas are a must for this series. There is just too much in them not to read them.
    Great reviews!

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    1. Totally agree on that! The novellas, IMO, should've been released as an official prequel book, rather than just a combination of novellas. They tie in together so well anyway!

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  5. I totally agree with you about Throne of Glass -- while I enjoyed it overall, the assassin bit was a little unbelievable. Like you said, I wanted to see more of Celaena's ruthless side. She's supposed to be used to killing, after all. But other than that, it was pretty epic.

    As for Crown of Midnight, yours is only like the 90827411th review I've seen that had a five-star rating. :P Seriously, I have it on my shelf and I don't know why I haven't read it yet because everyone seems to love it! I'm glad to see that Celaena got a bit more cruel, too, and that the writing gets better; I don't think I ever found the writing to be that spectacular in ToG. And haha, I think I must be the only one alive who prefers Dorian over Chaol... Then again, a friend told me that reading Crown of Midnight will change that, so who knows.

    I'm not a novella person either, but I've heard that The Assassin's Blade provides some very good and possibly crucial bits of information to Celaena's past, so I think I do have to check it out. Plus, it's almost like a book since it contains all five novellas and is almost 450 pages long, so it's almost like a book itself. I'm glad that they made you feel that way, it really shows how awesome it is!

    Fantastic reviews, Allie :D I'm planning to re-read Throne of Glass soon, then get on with Crown of Midnight, and I really can't wait!

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    1. Crown of Midnight deserves every one of those 90827411 ratings, I promise!!! You need to check it out, because it's just such an immense story with so many fantastically well-thought details! The writing is amazing, the characters are fleshed-out, the character relationships are flawless . . . it's all just really awesome. And reading it will SO change your opinion on the Chaol / Dorian thing. Trust me :D

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  6. OMG I LOVE THE FCT THAT YOU LOVE THESE BOOKS LIKE OMFG YAYYYY
    I have to reread this entire series before Heir of Fire comes out (please note; I read them all minus Assassins Blade in January and suffered a two weeks book hangover afterwards because my heart what was:YOU ARE DUNNY JF TOU THINK YOU'LL BE ABLE TO WORK PROPERLY AFTER THAT MUCH HEARTBREAK) Yeah, my hearts a bitch, LOL

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    1. LILY THEY ARE SO AMAZING AHHHHHH.

      I'm reading Heir of Fire right now and I don't think I'm mentally prepared for how awesome it is going to be!

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  7. Throne of Glass: I think pretty much the only criticism people gave this was exactly what you said - that we didn't really see Celaena's skills as an assassin, so it was pretty much "Hey! I'm an assassin! But I'm not going to show off my stuff because this is YA!" ;)

    Crown of Midnight: I think virtually everyone liked this one more than the first, me included, so I'm glad you did too Allie! :) The plot is so much more intricate here than it was in Book 1, and everything is just...better - the writing, the characters, the romance.

    I haven't read The Assassin's Blade yet for whatever reason (probably because - like you - I'm not a novella person typically). But I REALLY want to meet Sam and see what happened to him and see the romance between him and Celaena. ;) I'm glad to hear it delivered! :D

    Thanks for sharing Allie, and fabulous mini-reviews! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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    1. Yeah, Throne of Glass, while still a good book, didn't rock my socks off as much as I thought. I'm so glad I read Crown of Midnight though because that book did a lot of rocking!!

      Definitely read The Assassin's Blade. It's really more of a complete book in itself than novellas, and while I was reading it I just thought of it as a prequel book rather than a collection of stories. They each tie into each other and flow together so well that it honestly doesn't even have the 'novella' feel

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  8. I'm thrilled that you're up to date with this fabulous series Allie! I loved the first two books too, Maas definitely went all out in the feels department with Crown of Midnight, I actually get really distraught when thinking of certain things. I actually bought a copy of The Assassin's Blade as soon as it came out, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I think I should maybe read it and Heir of Fire back to back for Bout of Books this week! Lovely reviews! :)

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    1. Definitely do the back-to-back thing! You honestly won't be able to put The Assassin's Blade down - it's so addictive

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  9. YESSS I am so glad you loved the series, CoM definitely was the best sequel ever and made us all fangirling hopeless about Chaol & Celaena! And The Assassin's Blade was the best set of novellas I've ever read, just the build up to Sam's fate and how they all kind of linked together was done so well. Lovely reviews Allie!

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    1. Best novellas I've read too! Though, considering I don't tend to read novellas, I don't think that's saying much ;)

      Oh, God . . . Sam's story . . . I just can't :( I knew it was coming and I still just wasn't prepared

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  10. I don't know of the other book, since I've only read Throne of Glass, but YES Cee (my nickname for her ahaha) was indeed a brilliant character but, unlike you, I didn't see her cold-bloded side very much. She seemed very normal to be. :P Like when she keeps helping people and makes friends. Anyhow, great reviews! ^^

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    1. Read Crown of Midnight and you will change your tune just like I did :D She is BAD-ASS in that book. Seriously. It's insane

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  11. I feel so left out of the loop with this series, but I'm epically frightened of love triangles so I've been holding back until at least book 4 releases. But I keep seeing such love and passion outpouring for the stories. I hope that Heir of Fire lives up to all of your expectations!

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    1. I am probably the most anti-love triangle person on the planet, so don't fear, because I can assure you that this series isn't a triangle.Once you get into the second book, that part is more than clear!

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  12. I haven't read the novellas but its a series that I really enjoyed the first two. I am halfway through heir of fire and there is a pov I am not liking as much but still liking it

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    1. I starting to read Heir of Fire now, interested to see which POVs I like. I heard from Zoe that HoF adopts about a million different POVs, so I'm guessing it's going to be a little crazy!

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  13. LOVE THIS! You have adequately summed up all my feels about these books. This series had turned me into a terrible fangirl, I just can't get enough of it. Chaol and Celaena are my favourite thing about the series. I was not expecting the novellas to be that amazing, Maas has definitely shown how novellas should be done. Heir of Fire is one I did enjoy, but it's my least favourite of the series if I am totally honest. I think I just miss Chaolaena!

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    1. Chaol and Celaena are absolutely amazing!!! I don't think we get much of them in HoF, but I'm holding out hopes for the next books.

      Have to say though, I was totally shipping Sam and Celaena during the novellas. I was like, 'uhm, Chaol who?' hahaha

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  14. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this series!!! Both books were amazing and I'm dying to get my hands on the third one! I haven't read the novella because I'm not really a novella person, but after seeing what you wrote I'm downloading it to my Kindle as we speak! :D

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    1. Definitely get the novella book, it's too good to pass up and if it can convert a novella-hater like me, then I bet you'll love it too!

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  15. I agree with you, girl! I haven't read The Assassin's Blade yet, but I absolutely adored ToG and CoM! I expected to love this series when I began it, but not that much as I do. I'm literally obsessed with these books, and I'm about to pick up my e-ARC of Heir of Fire really soon. Chaol and Celaena FTW! (Although I really want to hear about Sam in the novellas.) Gorgeous reviews! :D

    Michelle @ Happy Indulgence!

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    1. I'm reading Heir of Fire right now and ahhh I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I just don't get how she can create such an intricate story with SO many different characters, each with their own tales. It's amazing.

      Yeah, you'll definitely be a Sam-lover after reading the novellas. I definitely was! (Still adore Chaol though!)

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  16. So yeah I skimmed over your review because I really need to read this soon. However I'm glad that you really seemed to enjoy these and that the sequels are pretty solid!

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    1. Sequels actually surpass the first book, which is really rare! :D

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  17. Yay! So glad to see you're enjoying this series too! I enjoyed Throne of Glass, but it wasn't the best, but Crown of Midnight really blew me away! I still need to read novellas, but I decided to start Heir of Fire first, haha. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on that one!

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    1. Heir of Fire was my favourite so far. WHAT A BOOK. It completely wrecked me!

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  18. I'm glad you're loving this series too!! I was just caught up in the awesomeness of Throne of Glass that I didn't even think about it, but you're right, we don't see much of the ruthlessness or assassin much in Celaena in the first book. Crown of Midnight was fantastic though!! Those prequel books seriously broke my heart!! ;( SAM... Heir of Fire is totally amazing too; it's a bit different from the other books though. Great mini-reviews :)

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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    1. Heir of Fire was outstanding and definitely the best book IMO. It was totally different, but I actually really enjoyed that. Maas seems to make each book so unique!

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