Part of me thinks that I may have been subconsciously avoiding starting this series. It looks so good, but I might have been worried that I won’t love it as much as everything else, that I’ll end up being too critical.
Like quite a few books I’ve read recently, Throne of Glass surprised me to no end. I’m very happy it lived up to the hype. Read on for my thoughts!
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.
Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
Offered her freedom in exchange for four years of service as the King’s Champion – his personal assassin – eighteen year old Celaena Sardothien can almost feel the possibility of liberty. But first, she must compete against some of the most dangerous and deadly criminals in the land for the role. As the weeks pass by, contestants are eliminated and picked off one by one, and Celaena begins to realise that not everything is as it seems. It appears that magic, supposedly destroyed by the King, is in use – and not necessarily in a good way. Now she has to deal with supernatural enemies, as well as her human competitors in the tournament’s difficult and harmful challenges.
Throughout this journey she is accompanied by her guard and trainer, Captain Chaol Westfall – he finds her interesting, but attempts to keep her at arm’s length, he knows she can be dangerous. Also on the scene is Prince Dorian, her sponsor for the championship, who can’t seem to drag himself away from her, no matter how many warnings Chaol gives him. In true YA style, Celaena is torn between them, but only time will tell who she runs to when she needs someone.
Now, is it just me, or does anyone else want just one series where the main female protagonist is entirely badass and attractive and important to fighting whatever world-threatening problem there may be, who doesn’t get distracted by men? I mean, really. I do enjoy the back and forth between Chaol and Dorian in this book, I can’t deny that. I ship her so hard with both of them. I want them to get married and have awesome little babies. I’m distraught I’m only so far into this series that I can’t seek out the fandom and fan art and fan fiction created because of this love triangle… That doesn’t stop me from wanting her to be entirely aloof and uninterested in either of them because she is just too damn busy, and unromantic, and in complete control of herself around men. If a girl wants to fall in love with a guy, that’s totally fine, but for once I’d love a depiction of a young woman who is just entirely un-wooable. Is that so much to ask?
I still want them to have babies.
So other than that little feminist rant I may have veered off towards… I have little to complain about with this first instalment in Maas’s very popular series. The world building is pretty descriptive, but not over-bearing. I feel like I know wthat I need to know about Erilea, and the further I get in the series I imagine I’ll learn more about the world as and when it’s necessary.
Celaena is a complicated character, but I love her flaws, her loyalty, and her wit. She’s sort of the exact representation you’d expect of a young woman, orphaned at eight and trained for ten years to be an assassin, who was then locked up in a salt mine after betrayal. She’s sarcastic but considerate, intelligent, brave in the face of her fears (which I am appreciative that she has been written with fears). She’s bookish, which is a quality that definitely comes at an advantage when she is faced with a need for intense research. I am always hyper-aware of bookish characters however, as I worry they’re written in such a way to appeal to those reading the stories. Either way, I like her all the more for it.
Throne of Glass is quite fast-paced. There was no part of it that bored me, only propelled me on to find out what happens next, or why particular scenes were relevant. There’s not a terrific cliff-hanger at the end of Throne of Glass but the extended plot slowly revealed throughout is enough to have made me run out the day after I’d finished it to pick up the rest of the series.
Four stars is pretty apt for this book, I think. I have been giving out mostly 4 stars lately. I think that’s because I’ve just been reading such great books, I’ve been picking the ones I’m most excited for from my TBR rather than the ones I’m unsure of. I’ve not been getting on with galleys/ARCs. I’ve also not found something I feel is perfect recently. I think I’m pretty stingy with the 5 star ratings. 4 means something’s exemplary and a definite recommendation, but could have been better. Hopefully the next in the series will hit it out of the park and achieve 5 stars from me. Only time will tell!
My personal rating: 4/5. Amazon average: 4.3/5. Goodreads average: 4.19/5.
Publication Date: August 7th, 2012.
Follow the author on Twitter: @SJMaas