Throne of Glass – Review

There are people who need you to save them as much as you yourself need to be saved…

I finally got around to reading Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, and I have to admit, I can see where the love comes from. This book didn’t blow me out of the water, but it definitely set up what I think is going to be a spectacular sequel.

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 three 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.

Throne of Glass has a badass main character, and she doesn’t disappoint the whole way through. Celaena is a young girl and I believe the brutality. She wasn’t the fiercest assassin I’ve ever seen, but she has a gritty determination to survive, and I love that. She’s also tempered with hope and softness – countless killings haven’t completed hardened her. Being notorious as an assassin doesn’t mean she’s not afraid to die, and we see it at the start of the book. Right away, Sarah J. Maas promises us a character who’s an oxymoron of compassionate and fierce, and makes the combination work beautifully.

Dorian is the Crown Prince and completely besotted with Celaena. They engage in a lot of witty banter, and they had a sharp, mature level of humour that I don’t often see in YA. Dorian was charming, but he didn’t capture me like Chaol did. Chaol just had this aura that I really liked, and seeing him melt for Celaena was just adorable. More than this, though, he saw all of Celaena. Dorian saw her as this beautiful, smart, entertaining girl and chooses to ignore the assassin, but Chaol sees everything. As much is evidenced when Sarah J. Maas gives descriptions of Celaena from both men looking upon the same scene of Celaena sleeping:

Dorian: He remained in the doorway, fearful that she’d wake up if he took another step. Some assassin. She hadn’t even bothered to stir. But there was nothing of the assassin in her face. Not a trace of aggression or bloodlust lay across her features. 

Chaol: She was still in her clothes, and while she looked beautiful, that did nothing to mask the killing potential that lay beneath. It was present in her strong jaw, in the slope of her eyebrows, in the perfect stillness of her form.

I’m not sure about everyone else, but I’m shipping Celaena and Chaol hard. 

The story gets right to the point – the Competition in which Celaena will have to fight more than twenty opponents to become the king’s Champion, and eventually win her freedom. I always appreciate a book that doesn’t dawdle in getting to the heart of the story. However, I found that the middle of the story lagged a bit. Around the training and the first few tests I grew a little disinterested. I turned to three other books before I found my way back to Throne of Glass. Even though I had to push through the middle part, the book started and finished strongly. The ending of this book is such that I didn’t feel like the next book was going to simply be a continuation of Throne of Glass; I was struck when I was presented with the fact that I didn’t know anything about these players, let alone the game they were engaged in. I realize that this book is only the beginning of an epic journey.

We each survive in our own way. 

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