Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, #1
Release Date: August 2nd 2012
Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Destined for greatness.
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.
Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
It took me a while to get around to finally reading this book, even longer when you consider I added it to my to-read list before it was even released, and now that I have read it all I can think is why didn’t I start this series sooner. I’d seen mixed reviews for Throne of Glass, a lot of people say the series gets so much better with the second book, well if that’s the case the next book is going to be amazing. My expectations were low for Throne of Glass and when I started this book I was completely blown away.
Celaena Sardothien made a name for herself as Adarlan’s greatest assassin, but she was caught and is serving a life sentence in the mines of Endovier. Until she is summed by the captain of the guards and brought before the crown prince. There Celaena is offered a bargain; complete in a competition to become the King’s champion, his assassin, and if she wins after four years of service she will have her freedom. With no other choice but death she agrees, and so begins her journey back to Rifthold to face some of the best and cruellest men around and win her place as champion.
Celaena doesn’t doubt that she can win the competition, even hiding her true name and who she really is under a fake past. She stays firmly in the middle of the competition but there is one competitor, Cain, whom she cannot stand, and at times she lets her anger and her emotions get the better of her.
But while Celaena is training day in and day out and facing trials that could kill her, and do kill other competitors, there is something more sinister at play in the castle. The champions are being slaughtered by a beast who tears them apart and takes their organs, one by one if they’re not eliminated in the trails they face elimination by death. But with the Ellywe princess trying to build relations who has secrets of her own, the secret passage Celaena finds which leads her to an ancient Fae Queen’s tomb, and the strange wyrdmarks which seem to be appearing everywhere Celaena looks, winning the competition is not her only problem.
Celaena is supposed to be Adarlan’s greatest assassin but I honestly didn’t see that in her, most times she appeared immature and arrogant. She doesn’t know when someone is sitting right besides her until he starts talking, she seems to care more about clothes than anything else, and she hates not getting the recognition she feels she deserves. She hates Chaol’s plan, a good plan to keep her under the radar of the other competitors, simply because she doesn’t like making herself seem weak in front of them. However she is strong and smart; she didn’t break in the mines and even managed to nearly escape, getting further than any other slave before her.
Chaol as captain of the guards is unfailingly loyal to the King and to Dorian. Even though his feelings for Celaena are becoming more than friendship he doesn’t act on them, or even let them show, because he sees how Dorian looks at her. He spends a lot of time training with Celaena and I really enjoyed their interactions. Where Celaena seems rash and hot-tempered Chaol is more cool, he comes up with the plan to make the other competitors underestimate her, but there is still a lot about him we don’t know. In spite of being told his past he still has a lot of potential as a character and I’m interested to see where Maas takes him.
Dorian is the crown prince of Rifthold and a very powerful ally for Celaena to have. Each of the Dukes have a champion in the upcoming trials and Dorian picks Celaena, retrieving her from Endovier and offering her the chance to compete himself. He is pretty much the opposite of his father whom Dorian seems a little cowed by. Like Chaol Dorian could do with some more development because he seems like a typical YA prince; compassionate, kind, good-looking, charming, smart. I’d like to see more of him but also to see his character develop into something different from the norm. His relationship with Celaena felt the same, a little too typical and polished.
I’d heard a lot about this book having a love triangle, possibly one of the reasons I put off reading it for so long, ad although there were hints of it it didn’t take anything away from the plot. If anything, while Celaena’s feelings for Dorian grew, she remained friends with Chaol for most of the story as he helped her train. There were hints of the growing love triangle but it was really well written and honestly, I wouldn’t have even said there was a love triangle in this book at all. I wasn’t a fan of Celaena’s relationship with Dorian, like I said earlier it didn’t feel real, but I am interested to see where her relationship with Chaol leads.
There are so many amazing secondary characters in this book as well, the story isn’t just about Celaena, Chaol and Dorian. I loved Nehemia who becomes a true friend to Celaena. Nehemia is loyal to her people, struggling to help the rebels and free them from the slavery they are being put under. She is an incredibly interesting character and I loved her friendship with Celaena. I even liked the characterisation of the Duke Perrington, Kalrain, and the King. They were not nice characters but they were well developed and their actions and motivations felt real.
While the world Throne of Glass was set in doesn’t really stand out much from a lot of other fantasy YA books I’ve read recently I adored the history; we learnt all about the different countries which were slowly being eroded as the King conquered everything in his path. There were hints dropped about Celaena’s history, and the life she lost in Terrasen, which were not fully explored. We also learnt about magic, the way it had disappeared from the land, and the wyrdmarks, which seemed to appear everywhere in the castle but which had a language that was complex and hard to pick up for Celaena. I also loved the way the Fae and their history was built on with Elena’s tomb and Elena herself. I had no faults with the setting itself; I loved the idea of the glass castle and I really loved the introduction of the secret passages hidden there. I just felt that the actual world-building was so much better and deserves a lot more praise.
This is one of those books, and I feel it’s going to be one of those series, where I kick myself for not having started it sooner. Yes there were some issues with the character development but if the reviews I’ve seen are to be believed the rest of the series gets a lot better and I cannot wait to find out how when I start the second book.
What did you think of Throne of Glass? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.