Eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien, the world’s greatest assassin, is sentenced to hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier. One day, she is pulled aside and is made an offer that is too hard to refuse: She is to serve as the Crown Prince’s champion in the upcoming competition to find a new champion/assassin for the King of Adarlan. Her reward? Freedom after four years of service. She agrees – anything is better than Endovier! The castle is shaken when the contestants are found dead, one after the other, under gruesome conditions. Aside from her quest to become the King’s Champion, Celaena must now investigate, leading her to a greater destiny than she could have imagined.
Throne of Glass is the debut novel of Sarah J Maas, that she started writing when she was just sixteen years old. Inspired by a reverse Cinderella story, she wondered what it would be like if Cinderella was an assassin who attended the ball to kill the Prince. While it was an early inspiration, Throne of Glass took a whole other direction. For the better.
Walking into this book with very little knowledge of what it was about – I do not read summaries, I read the first two pages to see if the style clicks – was potentially the greatest favor I could have done to myself and the book. The only expectations I had were that the story was as captivating as the characters.
From the very first words, I took a liking to Celaena Sardothien. As per the unspoken and seemingly mandatory young adult fantasy rule, the heroine is meant to be some badass who kicks ass. Celaena is exactly that. She is a cold blooded killer, she is smart, calculating, and thirsty for her freedom. The book, being told mostly from her point of view, details her thoughts and readers get a deeper insight into her character. From the first few chapters, I thought Celaena to be very endearing and I cared about her fate, as well as those of the ones related to her. I found the characters intriguing and I truly wanted to know how their story would evolve. In line with that, the strong characterization is greatly responsible for carrying this book forward.
Throne of Glass started rather slowly, not necessarily in a bad way. Given that the book is the first of a series of six, it is rather normal that the author takes the time to lay out the world and details about the characters, settings, etc. However, it is entertaining enough to keep reading through. There are bouts of laughter and intrigue to get you through the first 43%. I mention that number because it was from that point on that I could not put the book down. Everything happened so fast and the writing was so enthralling that I spent a sleepless night finishing the book.
My attachment to the characters only grew stronger – they truly are endearing. I mostly appreciated the fact that, for the most part, Celaena focused on her task rather than a sappy love story that often ruins YA fantasy books. I liked that she was not obsessed with herself – she was written as confident, yet she was not obnoxious about it. The fact that the main heroine was not self-centered allowed for great chemistry to be written among the characters. The obligatory love triangle was surprisingly well written, it was not bothersome nor did it take up the whole book. Sure, there were minor character and story flaws here and there but somehow, everything tied together in a way that I did not mind getting over the predictability of the book.
Predictable. The only issue – which turned out to be a non-issue – was that I was not shocked by any event that happened in the book. From the get go, I knew who was carrying out the murders – the author hinted at it. By the end of the book, what was supposed to be an underlying “plot twist” turned out to be easily predictable as well. It was not difficult to figure out the path the characters would take, who they would choose to be with, who they would ally with or whether they would make it to the end of the book. The positive thing about that is that predictability greatly depends on the reader’s degree of perception, so there is still a chance that readers will be surprised by the turn of events.
The healthy thing about Throne of Glass is that I did not have any moments of “Hey, I’ve seen this before.” The story was original and that’s a beauty in itself. Though it is not a foolproof fantasy book, Sarah J Maas managed to make a fan out of me. Be on the lookout for a review of the sequel, Crown of Midnight.
♠ Strong characterization allowed for attachment to characters.
♠ Solid world building.
♠ Intriguing and captivating story.
♠ No sappy love triangle that consumes 90% of the book.
♠ The word “assassin” was everywhere – in a redundant way.
Where to Buy
♠ Amazon: Purchase here.
Rating: 4/5 ¢