Title: Throne of Glass
Series: Throne of Glass, #1
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 5 sugar cubes!
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
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 four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. 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 read Throne of Glass 4-5 times at this point, and each re-read just makes me love it all the more. The opening chapters are what hook me every time. Celaena’s voice is so captivating, and almost unapologetic. (I mean, it’s not often you find a character in YA wanting to see someone’s blood spill over the floor, and wishing to do it herself.) Before I read Throne of Glass, if you had asked me who my favorite literary character was, I wouldn’t have had an answer for you, because I pretty much loved my favorites equally. But then Celaena Sardothien came into my life and I fell for her hard. Celaena is complex, willful and calculating and protective and loyal. At the end of the day, she just wants to be free—of Adarlan, of expectations and obligations, of herself, in a way—and one of the things I love about her is how she struggles with what she is willing to do to make that happen.
The rest of the characters were just as intriguing and fully-fleshed as Celaena. Thanks to well-placed POV changes, we’re shown that Crown Prince Dorian Havilliard is so much more than his playboy front, Captain of the Royal Guard Chaol Westfall is a sweet, naive cinnamon roll underneath his rough exterior, and Lady Kaltain Rompier is more cunning than she seems. Eyllwe Princess Nehemia wasn’t given a POV section or chapter, but that didn’t mean she was left to the wayside. Nehemia is a mysterious character for reasons that aren’t apparent until the end, but we still know her to be fiercely loyal to her people, and far smarter than she likes to appear.
Looking back, I should have realized the killer’s identity far sooner than I did. All the clues were there, and now that I’ve re-read the novel a few times, it almost seems obvious. But putting that aside, the event we were all waiting for, the final duel for the position as Champion, was very well done. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time this showdown was happening, reading as fast as I could, and praying things would go the way I wanted them to. The chapters after the battle wrap the book up quite nicely, while still leaving plenty of loose threads for the following books in the series.
Though at times the prose wasn’t the best, everything else makes up for it in a way that you hardly notice the flat sentence here and there. And a few dull sentences just made the great ones shine even more. On a different note, the world-building was excellent. Maas shows just the right amount for a first book. We learn about world and the empire, but are left curious about many places, which gives future books realms to explore.
Overall, I absolutely loved this novel, and I think Throne of Glass is a great addition to the Fantasy genre.