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 exhilarating. 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.
Merry almost-December, friend. Why am I reviewing a book that came out four years ago, and that everyone and their grandmother must have read by now? I’ll tell you why:
I’m very slow.
I only got around to reading this book last year. And since this blog is new, I’ve only gotten around to reviewing it properly now. Also, I know I said recently that I probably won’t ever get around to reading the rest of the books in the series, but I am a ginormous liar. I actually saw the next two books in the library the last day, and thought what the hell? So, because I have now finished the second book and want to review it, it makes sense that I’ll go through the first….first. Here we go:
My Goodreads rating: 5 Stars
What I loved about Throne of Glass was the protagonist. Celaena is everything I want in a strong female lead: bad-ass, complicated, able to stand up for herself, and intelligent. She grew up through hardships that turned her into a deadly and unforgiving- and extremely skilled- assassin. She doesn’t hesitate to do what needs to be done, but this side of her has darkness, too.
When she enters the King’s castle to battle out to become a Champion, she’s ruthless. Maas does a great job with her character; she has traits that make her stand out as a serious threat, she’s able to keep up with even the most ruthless killers, while still maintaining a likability to her. The action is exciting, the world-building also great. Celaena isn’t just a blood-thirsty killing machine; she also has surprisingly female characteristics, such as being interested in fashion. I know this is random, but it seems that in a lot of YA fantasy or high-action books, female characters become a stereotype in which the only way they can be seen as credible, kick-ass heroines is to remove themselves from anything feminine. Do you know what I mean? To be strong, they have to have tomboy-ish features, not care about their appearance (despite always being desirable) and distinguish themselves from other, almost-too-feminine females.
As for the other characters. Chaol and Dorian…Where do I begin? Sigh.
The dreaded love triangle.
On a good day, I can tolerate a love triangle. On any other day, I curse an author’s name to the wind and feel like doing this:
I’ll go into detail about my thoughts on love triangles later, but for now I’ll say I’m not fond of them. Mostly because I hate picking sides and I hate indecisive love interests.
Chaol and Dorian are what you’d expect: complete polar opposites. Chaol is the silent, serious, brooding Captain of the Guard. Dorian is the fun and more-outgoing of the two, and Prince of Adarlan. I really loved them both, but I think I lean more towards Chaol. Fight me if you dare 🙂
Overall, I loved this book because it was a perfect blend of action, exhilaration and humour. The contest to become the King’s Champion, as well as the secrets we learn during Celaena’s stay at the castle, all provide a really great read. I have a terrible memory, so I can’t remember exactly why this book stood out to me so much, but I think the combination of good writing and a sense of freshness in a sea of done-before fantasy books is what made the book so great. I recommend it (if you’re a potato like me who reads books years after everyone else).
I’ll have a review for the second book out sometime in the next century. Depends on how
lazy busy I am. Thanks for reading!