Throne Of Glass is one of those series’ that I always turn to when I fall into the dreaded reading slump, and each time I pick these books up, I find something new to fall in love with. Because of that, I’m offering a small disclaimer here: this review is going to be long and gushy. I have so much to say about this book and I have no idea how to coherently put it together without writing for days. I’ll try not to go on for too long, but I have so. many. thoughts!
Throne Of Glass (Throne Of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Pub. 2012 | 406 pages | Fantasy
After serving out a year of hard labour 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 four 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.
I’ve noticed over the years that people either really love this series, or it makes them want to barf – and I think that comes down to Celaena herself as a character, for the most part. A lot of people rag on Celaena Sardothien, claiming her to be arrogant, conceited, and simply unbelievable as an assassin.
But that’s kind of the point.
Her self-centred, arrogant attitude is mentioned plenty of times throughout the books, especially later in the series, and it’s clear that Sarah J. Maas purposefully introduced her characters in a way that makes it obvious that they have a lot of room to grow. After all, badass characters with absolutely zero flaws are much less believable than an 18-year-old assassin being the best in the country.
But aside from the things people hate about her, who exactly is Celaena as a character, coming from someone who adores this series?
I think I can sum her up fairly simply by saying that she’s a survivor. It’s clear from the very beginning of this book that she looks out for herself above all else, and while some may perceive that as selfishness, I see a young woman who has spent a year not knowing if she would survive each night. I think she deserves a little “me” time, don’t you?
Her relationships with the other characters are as flawed as she herself is, but that’s what makes them work. At the end of the day, this girl is a notorious assassin, and the people around her need to watch out for themselves. It’s great to see her build up their trust slowly over time, and I think Maas did an excellent job of creating believable relationships that make you fall in love with every single character involved.
So who are these characters? Well, firstly, there’s Dorian Havilliard, Crown Prince of Adarlan. Having danger lurk within the confines of his pretty castle is a new experience for him. Celaena is a novelty – an assassin with a temper that he thinks can be tamed. But it quickly becomes clear that she has a lot more depth to her, and Dorian finds himself drawn to her against the better judgement of his best friend and Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall.
It’s obvious that Chaol is extremely wary of Celaena from the very beginning, and rightly so. Just because Dorian has made a deal with the devil doesn’t mean that Chaol won’t protect him from any backlash. They’ve been best friends almost their entire lives, and that’s more important to Chaol than some assassin with a snarky attitude and way too much arrogance for her own good. He spends a good chunk of this book not trusting Celaena in the slightest, and I genuinely think that’s one of the reasons why I love him as much as I do. He’s logical, patient, and mature (but not boring or stuck-up) – the complete opposite of Celaena’s wildness and unpredictability – and that’s definitely why their budding friendship is just so damn wonderful.
I could seriously gush for hour about the characters in this book, but I won’t bore you any longer. It all boils down to this: Sarah J. Maas has created an amazing fantasy world with great character development and a whole lot of witty dialogue. Though we don’t get to see much of the world in this first book, the things we do know are definitely intriguing. Why did magic disappear? Have the Fae really gone from the world? What is the connection between magic and the Wyrdmarks? There are just so many questions that need answering!
I know a lot of people have put this book down, feeling as though the start was ridiculously slow, but once it gets going, you’re in for one hell of a ride. Murder, intrigue, politics, romance, magic (or at least some ancient form of it)… this book has everything you could ever need in a fantasy novel. As far as the plot goes, this series starts off strong and just gets more epic as it progresses. Though this first book definitely focuses more on character development than anything else, the story itself is still compelling enough to keep you on the edge of your seat.
So basically, if you haven’t already given it a shot, you definitely should, especially if you’re a lover of YA fantasy. There’s certainly a reason why it’s one of my favourite series of all time!