Friday, May 3, 2013

Falling Into Fantasy, Part Two

Recently, I was of the good fortune enough to pick up Bridget Zinn's Poison... and it was amazing! (Read more of my review, to that effect, here.) After completely devouring such a great example of modern YA fantasy, I decided to try on yet another of that genre, which has been generating rave reviews all across the internet all on it's own,  and, much to my amazement, I was definitely not disappointed. Yet again.

Does this mean I need to raise my standards in regards to YA lit, or are these books really just as great as I think they are? We'll go with the latter.

Throne of Glass, like I've said before, is a YA fantasy, gritty and real where others in this genre may fail to raise the stakes. But really, are the stakes high:

Celaena Sardothien (try saying that name three times fast) is a trained assassin, skilled at what she does, and unwilling to take any one's disbelief or disapproval. She is one kick-ass eighteen-year-old, and fresh out of serving a full year's hard labor in the mines of Endovier - of which the expected survival time is about four months - when the Crown Prince, Dorian, offers her freedom, on the condition that she enters the competition to find the new royal assassin as his champion. Not only much Celaena work up her endurance and stamina again, but now, she must contend with the royal family themselves. Most frightening of all is the King - the man responsible for driving magic out of their world - and the fact that she must not only tolerate him... but to earn her freedom, serve him, as well.

So, there's the genteel battles of polite warfare among the court - of whom Celaena is now unwillingly a member - and the harsher battles on the competition field, as thieves, assassins, soldiers, and a poisoner, all vie against one another to be at the position of the King's right hand. High stakes, high intrigue, and that's all without even throwing in the magic, warring countries, terrifying mystical creatures, and mysterious dead royalty coming back from the crypt to give Celaena yet more mysteries to solve.

But can we just talk about the love triangle, please?

So, there's the cocky and intelligent Crown Prince, Dorian, and then there's the strict and level-headed Captain Westfall. And NEVER HAVE I EVER approved of stupid love triangles, being that they are in almost all attempts, lazy plot-hole-fillers designed to create tension where none exists and to generate more interest in what are mostly half-baked, one-dimensional characters... but boy, did this one pan out well! The genesis of such a relationship configuration was totally organic, and while I have my own favorite, the fact that there wasn't a clear-cut decision - being that the existence of an obvious choice is also a red flag of the poorly-designed romance drama - made it all the better! The masterful construction of such a well-worn plot device into something that worked not only really well, but actually did just as much to strengthen the story as the mysterious symbols and dead bodies popping up everywhere, was the cherry on top of a tension-filled suspense-fest.

Really, I think I have to learn to expect more from this genre, because both this novel and Poison really captured my attention, though for totally different reasons! Throne of Glass was intense and dramatic, and the world within which it existed was masterfully built and filled with incredibly real characters! You can tell how excited I am about it, because of all of the exclamation points.

And bonus points for having the sequel coming out this August! Now, I just have to get my two younger sisters to read it before then. Because honestly, if I had to give this book a rating, I would give it four out of five fangirls. And I'd throw in a fairy or two, too... just because. :)

1 comment:

  1. I love, love, loved Throne of Glass. I wasn't a huge fan of the love triangle, but only because it didn't go the way I wanted it to go. The path that Maas chose was actually a much better one though, and I am really looking forward to the sequel.