Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: YA, Fantasy
In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
Once again I’m kicking myself over the fact that I put off reading a book that I ended up completely falling in love with. Throne of Glass had been sitting on my TBR for a while and was a book I kept putting off simply for the fact that I was worried I wouldn’t like it. I’ve heard a lot of mixed things, mainly about the first book not being that strong. Because of that, I went into this one with very low expectations. Let me tell you, Sarah J. Maas, once again, completely blew the roof off of my expectations! Full of flawed characters, rich history, incredible fantasy elements, and a mystery that I wasn’t at all expecting, Throne of Glass lived up to every bit of the hype that had me worried in the first place.
“You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”
Celaena Sardothien, Adarlan’s Assassin, is serving a life sentence in Endovier’s salt mines for her crimes against the crown, a sentence she doesn’t have much chance of surviving for long. That is until one day she’s hauled from the mines by the Captain of the Guard and put before the Crown Prince of Adarlan who offers her a bargain that could not only save her life but ultimately give her the freedom she craves. The bargain? Compete in a competition to become the King’s Champion and if she wins she’ll serve the King for four years and then have her freedom. Such a competition should be simple for Adarlan’s Assassin so she agrees. However, things become more complicated than she ever imagined whenever the other competitors start being mysteriously and grotesquely murder by something that is lurking within the castle walls. Murders which seem connected to strange symbols called wyrdmarks that shouldn’t exist given that magic is not only illegal but vanished from their world years ago. Throne of Glass has a perfect mixture of fantasy and mystery that will leave you turning the pages as fast as you can to figure what’s going to happen next.
“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 tress such unnatural beauty.”
I shouldn’t even be surprised by this given that it’s been the same with all of the other books I’ve read by this author but once again the world building completely drew me into the story. I was enthralled by it. There’s just something about a book world that has layer upon layer of its own history that never fails to capture my attention. Throne of Glass has a lot of rich, dark history full of war and rebellion and slaughter at the hands of an empire that’s led by a terrible king. History that I feel we haven’t even completely scratched the surface of yet. Not only that, it’s also full of monsters, tales of magic and faeries that have seemingly vanished, assassins, criminals, and ghosts. There’s a part in the beginning where Celaena wakes up in her tent to find tiny footprints and white flowers, I was sold from that point on. I’m eagerly anticipating seeing how this world develops even more as I move into the other books in the series.
Something else I shouldn’t at all be surprised about; I completely fell in love with the characters. Throne of Glass solidified the fact that Sarah J. Maas is flawless at creating incredibly complex and flawed characters that you can’t help but love. Although, there are quite a few in this one that you’ll despise as well. I mean we’ve gotta have our well written villains, right? She definitely delivered on that front as well.
“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.”
Celaena Sardothien is the world’s most notorious assassin. Everyone knows about her, a lot of people fear her and she isn’t exactly unaware of that. In fact, Celaena is very arrogant and knows she’s a great assassin. She’s clever, confident, defiant, fierce, stubborn, and has a lot of snark. She isn’t perfect and not always likable but oddly enough I loved that about her. She also gave me some serious Lila Bard feels at times, which won me over. However, underneath all of that, she has a huge heart and happens to love books, clothes, and chocolate. And she definitely seems to have some secrets up her sleeves that I can’t wait to find out as I venture into the rest of the books. Another new favorite female character? I think so!
Dorian Havilliard is the Crown Prince of Adarlan and he chooses Celaena as his champion for his father competition, believing right away that she’ll win it all. He gave off some serious mischievous flirt vibes at first with his charming personality, however, we quickly learn he’s also the complete opposite of his father who is the definition of an evil king. In fact, Dorian completely disagrees with everything his father has done and mouths off about it every now and then. He definitely had a rebellious air coming off of him at times that I hope is explored more.
“With each day he felt the barriers melting. He let them melt. Because of her genuine laugh, because he caught her one afternoon sleeping with her face in the middle of a book, because he knew that she would win.”
Chaol Westfall is the Captain of the Guard and where both Celaena and Dorian are a bit more outspoken he has a stillness and seriousness about him. I would go as far as to call him brooding at times. That aside, he’s also beyond loyal to Dorian and an incredible friend. He’s also the one who trains Celaena, or gets her back in shape, for the competition. Honestly, I adored pretty much all of his scenes with Celaena. Hands down, Chaol won me over more than any of them. I loved him.
Now onto the romance, or lack thereof. Something I heard about a lot before reading this book was the fact that there was a love triangle, which may have been another reason I put off reading it. I’m disputing that claim right now because while there is somewhat of a triangle I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a love triangle. Possibly an attraction triangle but not a love triangle. In fact, the romance, if you can call it that, is barely focused on in this book. I found that extremely refreshing. None of the character’s growing feelings for each other took away from them or the story. I ended up enjoying the triangle. I seriously couldn’t even figure out who I shipped Celaena with until it neared the end. Which, I won’t reveal who because I refuse to spoil anything. I will say that the hints of a triangle and romance were incredibly well written. I was pleasantly surprised by that fact.
Beyond those three there are so many other characters introduced within the pages of this book. Some you’ll love, some you’ll hate. One of them in particular, Nehemia, became one of my favorites and I adored her growing friendship with Celaena.
“Libraries were full of ideas—perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”
All in all, I completely loved this book. I went into it not expecting much and what I got was surprising in the best way possible. The ending was solid and had that feeling of being the beginning to an incredible series. Also, I’m pretty sure loving Throne of Glass just officially gave Sarah J. Maas auto-buy author status for me. So, yeah, I highly recommend this one to all of my fellow fantasy lovers out there. Now I’m off to dive into Crown of Midnight!
Have you read Throne of Glass? What did you think? If not is it on your TBR?