Book Review: Throne of Glass

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Yes, I’m just now reading this book. 😛 I was very late to the Sarah J. Maas train, only discovering her books after the publication of A Court of Mist and Fury. I was intrigued by reviews I saw of THAT book, and on the strength of those alone I read A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first in that series (which I wasn’t entirely on board with but then there was a horribly cliffhanger ending sooooo) quickly followed by ACOMAF, and I’ve been obsessed with the series ever since. Naturally I wanted to read her original series as well, but to be honest I’ve been a little scared. What if I don’t like it as much? What if I just think it’s crap compared to ACOTAR? Such high expectations. Honestly though, I was kind of braced to not like it, as everyone kept saying (as with ACOTAR) not to judge the entire series off the first book. So, SJM, I love you, but something about your first book game isn’t quite meshing with me…or maybe I just take a long time to fully commit to characters. Hrm. Anywho.

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This is my Treat choice for the Halloween Read-A-Thon!

I have done my best to avoid spoilers and there are definitely no plot spoilers! However if you don’t want to know ANYTHING about the characters you might not want to read.

Throne of Glass launches us into what promises to be an epic fantasy adventure. I love the way we’re immediately thrown in with Celaena in a dangerous, scary situation because I, naturally, want to know HOW THE FUCK she ended up there. Also how she can seem to be so young and yet so skilled, so brutal…and yet so obsessed with frilly dresses.

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Both of these are totally Celaena. I’m still not sure how she does it or why, especially as she even notes that all the layers of skirts hamper her fighting skills. Only somehow she doesn’t seem to get caught in particularly bad situations while all dolled up. Hmm.

The forest was different here. The leaves dangled like jewels – tiny droplets of ruby, pearl, topaz, amethyst, emerald, and garnet; and a carpet of such riches coated the forest floor around them. Despite the ravages of conquest, this part of Oakwald Forest remained untouched. It still echoed with the remnants of the power that had once given these trees such unnatural beauty.

Maas has created a beautiful world that is by turns thrilling, intriguing, and terrifying. I would like to visit, but retain the option to return to my own world with the push of a button. 😛 Because Cain and those demon things were scary AF, and the king gives me nasty chills. I want to know all about it though, and I feel like there is SO MUCH that still needs explaining. Where did the current King of Adarlan come from? What happened to Celaena’s family and why? Why is Dorian so very unlike his father? Who is Chaol, really? How did the magic of Adarlan just…die? Where did the Faery people go?

The plot really moves along at a good clip. I loved the constant suspense of waiting for each new test of the Champions, and seeing who would be eliminated or die trying. I also really enjoyed the continuous building of tension in the court, as Celaena tries over and over to piece things together as she gains new information.  It all flows smoothly leading up to the final duel…except that Kaltain’s part seemed rather forced and contrived, to me…of course there is someone like her in EVERY court (usually several), but it was just very convenient and felt a bit out of place.  Maybe part of that was due to the influences on her, I’m not sure.

There are a couple of tropes here, and I spotted them almost as soon as the book started. I took notes as I rolled my eyes around page 47. Verbatim: “Celaena is naturally the most gorgeous woman at court, both the captain and prince will fall in love with her, and the prince is possibly/probably not the prince at all.” I was slightly annoyed.

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Not this AGAIN.

HOWEVER. The love triangle was handled much better than a lot that I’ve seen, and the special snowflake turned out to be a special snowflake through much hard work, not just being born to it. Why does she have to be so gorgeous that practically every man falls at her feet? With the exception of the other Champions, thank the gods that be. But the constant references to her beauty in the first part of the book were really annoying. Blah. The love triangle was slow in the build-up, and if I hadn’t already seen so many memes and fangirl sites over ToG I might not have been so sure about it early on (thanks, interwebz), but I still feel like it was pretty obvious.

As I’ve said many times, characters are what really make a book for me. This one is STUFFED FULL of wonderful amazing people that I want to go live with. They are flawed – each and every one of them. They do annoying things that make me want to choke them. (Chaol, anyone?) They also have pasts that I am DYING to find out about because they are such strong people but they have scars and tender spots that show through now and again and yet NO. Apparently I must wait for the next book (which, not to worry, has already been requested from the library).

“Second place is a nice title for the first loser.”

Ah, Celaena, our heroine. Despite her annoyingly perfect body and face (even with her time in the mines and the abuse to the rest of her body, her face was somehow left alone), she’s definitely someone I’d want in my corner. She’s got a backbone of steel, a quick mind, and…well, she’s The Assassin. She’s been hurt, and horribly. But she hasn’t entirely hardened herself again the entire world yet. She is, however, a badass with a flair for the dramatic, and she likes attention.

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”

Also, she loves books and good food. Seriously, the descriptions of the library in Rifthold made me feel lightheaded and all delicious food she was forever gobbling down kept me feeling hungry. Thankyounotreally.

 “I can survive well enough on my own— if given the proper reading material.”

Girl after my own heart, I’m telling you. Such a fighting and adventurous spirit – and yet she loves books.

She had often wished for adventure, for old spells and wicked kings. But she hadn’t realized it would be like this – a fight for her freedom. And she’d always imagined that there’d be someone to help her – a loyal friend or a one-armed soldier or something. She hadn’t imagined she would be so…alone.

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No, they’re not brothers, but they might as well be.

Dorian and Chaol – best friends consisting of the crown princeling and captain of the guard – are…well, they’re just sweethearts and good guys. Dorian more openly so. Chaol is, to be honest, something of an ass, but underneath it is a soft heart that shows through from time to time and I just want him to be able to open up and trust SOMEBODY. Geez Louise, but the man seems to wear his tough guy armor 24/7 . Dorian, on the other hand, needs to grow a pair (he’s working on it, I know I know but come ON). I am solidly team Chaol, at the moment. Also, not going to spoil for anyone that hasn’t read it but…Celaena NAILED IT towards the end of the book, when dealing with these two. HATS OFF. YOU GO GIRLFRIEND. Now that, took guts.

Oh, but back to other characters. There is of course Princess Nehemiah, who is very intriguing indeed and has me dying of curiosity about her country and magic and all the sparkly creepy things she seems to know about. I’m sure we will see more of her. There’s also Nox, who I’m NOT sure we will see more of but I hope we do. The most intriguing side character by FAR though, is Elena…who I can’t really discuss without giving stuffs away. Mph.

“You could be great. You could rattle the stars. You could do anything if only you dared.”

SO MUCH POTENTIAL IN THIS BOOK. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Now that the competition is over but ALL the dastardly schemes are just getting started.

That said, I’m giving 3.5/5 stars. It definitely got better as the story progressed, but I did a lot of eye-rolling during the set-up, and still feel like the love triangle itself was/is unnecessary, even if the characters are definitely not. Also I’m still not sure on the prince thing, nothing else ever happens to make us think that Dorian isn’t the prince, but for some reason it’s still in the back of my mind.

 

 

Returning to Normal

My crazy two weeks of work are over. We were sent home early today. I am exhausted, but eager to return to my normal life with all the reading, writing, and creating I love to do. Hold on though. PSA.

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I have heard people talk for almost 12 straight hours a day for the past 2 weeks. Desperately need a little time in my theoretical blanket fort.

That said, a review of Imprudence is half-written and should be up tomorrow! I’ve missed my books and book bloggers…I’ve only read maybe half a dozen blog posts in the past 2 weeks and it’s made me sad!

Time Out of Mind

I’ve had a lot on my mind the past few weeks. Actually the last several months, but as my time in school is almost finished my thoughts are shifting more and more to home, and my family. I’ve been away so long. The worst part is, I’m not even sure we’ll get to be together when I’m finished. It’s all still up in the air. We’ll be together eventually, and it’ll be worth it, but right now…we’re still waiting. It might be another year or more before we can be physically together again, and sometimes that really feels like too much to take. Like I’m asking too much – of them, of myself. My heart hurts. I have a little hope that it might get better sooner, but I’m bracing for the worst.

Since I don’t have much to say, here are a few of the little inspirational things that have given me a lift recently. Some are from FB, some friends sent to me.

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Distance also means you don’t mind dishes in the sink or socks on the floor, because you know it means there was someone there to make the mess.

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I had this taped up on my mirror for a long time.

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Hard work, work…

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This is so true…because in the end it really is worth it.

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And this one I really want to buy and hang up or put on my desk.

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2014 Finish

This is my one and only finished project of 2014. I’m pretty happy with it, I can’t wait to have it framed! I took a little artistic license with one of the pics, I like playing with the camera filters too much. Hehe.

The pattern is Truth, from Monsterbubbles.

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The idea was to frame it and put it up in my creative space, but I think if I can manage a frame – it’ll take a custom one for its awkward size – I’ll put it on my desk.

A New Year

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'” ~Mary Anne Radmacher

I’ve been feeling a bit down over my “accomplishments” in 2012. Or rather, the lack thereof. I had two goals for this year, and only one of them was completed.

Obtain a passport. The passport never materialized (yes Heidi, that was one of my goals for LAST year…and I never got around to it), mostly because a quick check of everything else revealed going anywhere out of the country wasn’t going to work in the foreseeable future. Still, I should have done it, just because of the time it takes to process the darn thing.

Read 75 books. I’m cheating a bit on this one. According to GoodReads, I only read 59. However, GoodReads doesn’t have a way to count magazines, of which I read A LOT. National Geographic and Outside Magazine are regulars, along with anything else that catches my eye. I love magazines and have ever since I could read. I feel a bit guilty counting them, but considering the amount of info in most of the ones I read, and the fact that I read them all cover to cover, I think they should count. Even if GoodReads doesn’t approve.

A lot happened this year. I was promoted twice, we lost Timmy, I got my first tattoo, we moved, Alfie found me, I harvested my first edibles from my own garden, I became Reiki certified, and finished many quilt and knitting projects. We explored the Roanoke Valley on many local hiking trails. Really though, most of what really happened this year isn’t quantifiable. It can’t really be measured. I can’t explain how I feel like I found more of myself this year. I can’t explain how I feel like I found my creative self by accepting my own forms of art. I can’t explain how or why I finally don’t feel silly when I say the trees and the land talk to me.

So…while I don’t have a long list of accomplishments, maybe I don’t need to feel bad. And you know what?

I will try again tomorrow.

Protecting the Ocean’s Creatures

This is absolutely horrifying. I’m daily appalled by how much waste – much of it plastic – the medical industry (yes, it is, sadly, an industry) produces because I see it all the time. Add to that what we use in our homes and just “for fun” like the balloons the blogger is talking about…what sort of permanent damage are we doing to the ecosystems we can’t see?

Check out Ocean Conservancy, just to learn about various issues affecting the oceans. Knowledge is power.

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” ~Socrates

 

Dare You to Move

This is kind of where I am today. Been doing a lot, a lot, of thinking.

Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence
Everyone’s here
Everyone’s here
Everybody’s watching you now
Everybody waits for you now
What happens next
What happens next

I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened before

Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
Tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be

Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here

I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened
Today never happened
Today never happened before.

Blissfulness of Nothing

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“When you follow your bliss… doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.” ~ Joseph Campbell

This morning I’m sitting here, relaxing in the calm state of blissful relaxation induced by the realization that –

I have nothing to do today. Nothing that has to be done, nowhere I have to go. I can spend my entire day sleeping if I wish. I can take time to enjoy a now-rare cup of coffee, I can read all day, or sew or knit all day. I can play a game. I can do whatever strikes my fancy. If I go anywhere it’ll be because I genuinely want to. Today I’m going to do whatever makes me happy at that moment. As far as the quote – no, doing nothing is not always my bliss. 😛 But after a long week, my mind and soul need the decompression time.

Sorry, just had to get that out. After an almost 60-hour work week, it’s amazing to be able to relax in bed and realize that I can savor the earlyish morning time in my comfy clothes, because I don’t have to report for work in half an hour. I genuinely enjoy my job, but it’s very consuming and often stressful – all while being a large part of my bliss. 🙂

This Life Is Yours

This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy. ~Susan Polis Schutz