Back today with a book review for Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, the first in a fantasy trilogy of the same name.
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.
This was actually a re-read for me because as you may know, I recently acquired the series, so I wanted to revisit it. However, there wasn’t much of a change in thoughts between the two readings. On the whole, this is one of those books where you can find a few issues or problems with it but you can’t help but end up loving it and be enthralled by the story.
Characters first. Celaena is not quite what I was expecting when starting this book. I was expecting multiple escape attempts, fight scenes and cunning blood-shed. Instead she was a rather demure, fashion-obsessed girl who happened to be good with knives. And I still loved her! It’s strange how the audience tends to forget that she has murdered countless people in her past and instead labels her a “badass”. It seems ridiculous when you apply that concept to real life. Nevertheless, you get the sense that she wants to change as a person and I really liked that she had a different and unique personality despite the land-wide belief that she was a devilish shadow in the night. It added a whole ‘nother dimension.
One thing that did partially change from the two times reading this was my love for Dorian. In the first book I wholeheartedly shipped the relationship between him and Celaena, second time round I was left a bit disappointed in him almost. I realised his arrogance and rude attitude towards Celaena. His taunting wasn’t so funny. On the other hand, I’m still not completely convinced with Chaol either. I’m a little bit ashamed that his nobility annoyed me, I just wanted him to be more straightforward with his feelings. But I still really enjoyed the banter between him and Celaena and loved the hint of double-agent stuff going on with him. I hope that’s furthered in the sequel.
Nehemia grew on me the further the story went along. I really didn’t like her or trust her at the start but THE ENDING! I’m a fan now. I discovered that through reading from one perspective about her (Celaena’s) your judgement of her as a reader clouded you. I hope we get to see more of their friendship in Crown of Midnight.
The plot was highly entertaining. I sort of had to suspend my disbelief that the King would go to all that trouble to have a competition and find a Champion when he could just hire one person and have that person take out the ‘assassin competition’ if he wished. Yet the journey we went on through the mystery and Tests and romance and magic all combined to keep you hooked and flipping those pages.
That leads me on to the world. It was cliché that magic was outlawed and destroyed but I loved how it was intricately woven into the story. Wyrdmarks and the like are fascinating and I liked the use of portals and other worlds. Even the religion was subtle and well-placed making the story more realistic. The world we were restrained to (the castle and surrounding city) was very well described and I could easily picture all the rooms and the glass castle. But another place that I loved was the forest where the Fae and faeries lived and the magical stories that were told about it. I’m super excited for more of the excellent world in the next books.
The writing was rather slow paced but still what I expected for a high fantasy. Despite this, I never felt bored. Depth of writing was something I found very important in the story. Descriptions were very unique and easy to understand. The writings of the character voices were a little too similar however I hold onto hope for an improvement of this in the follows-up. The hints at who the murderer was were not-so-subtle and easy to guess but I guess it didn’t really take away from the story too much, it would have been nice to have a twist though to add a little extra excitement.
In the end, a fun and action-packed fantasy novel with all the right makings for a brilliant series. Very excited to see the direction it takes next. I gave Throne of Glass:
Have you guys read this one, if so, what did you think? Let me know!
Thank you so much for reading and I’ll talk to you in my next post!