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.
My feelings for Throne of Glass were up and down throughout the book. In the first two chapters, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. Then, for a good chunk, I really enjoyed it. Then my interest dipped again and finally picked back up again towards the end. A little bit like a roller coaster. That said, I liked Throne of Glass and look forward to the next book in the series.
Celaena Sardothien is an assassin, the best in the land, only she’s been a prisoner in a mining camp for a year. That is until she is dragged before the crowned prince, Dorien, and presented with opportunity to end her imprisonment. If she competes against several others for the position of the King’s assassin and wins, she will have earned her freedom after 5 years of serving the King. If she loses, she returns to being a slave in the mining camp. She of course chooses to compete and sets out, under heavy guard, toward the Glass Castle to begin training. She soon finds herself involved in much more than just a competition for the King’s assassin. She discovers romance, friendship, magic, and a dark danger that threatens everyone in the castle.
What I Liked
I enjoyed the training and the competition parts of the book. The scenes when Celaena trained with Chaol, fought against other competitors, were really engaging. I thought Sara J. Maas wrote action scenes very well and held my attention through the entire scene. It was fun to watch Celaena kick butt against some of the other super strong opponents. Maas was also realistic about Celaena. She just came from a prison camp and therefore wasn’t in top shape. Celaena had to work to get back in shape and didn’t kick butt right off the bat.
There is a little bit of a love triangle between Celaena, Dorien, and Chaol but it’s not overly done. I don’t typically like love triangles as the female character usually lusts after guy 2 while she is also with guy 1. That’s the not the case in this story. Chaol’s interest in Celaena is more reserved and he keeps it a secret throughout the entire book. Meanwhile Dorien is not shy about his interest in Celaena. Despite their different social ranks, Dorien pursues Celaena which infuriates one irritating court lady vying for Dorien’s attention. Dorien is handsome and suave and Celaena falls easily for him.
The romance is light and more of a sub plot than the main story. Celaena’s fight to be the King’s assassin plays the bigger part. Celaena’s focus is on the competition and she doesn’t let her feelings get in the way of her only shot at freedom.
I felt the author did a good job of keeping you waiting and wanting more romance. I was rooting for her Chaol as they seemed to the most alike and would clearly make a cute couple. But alas the author keeps the reader waiting for the next book where we might get a glimpse of the two together. At least, I’m hoping.
What I Didn’t Like
The Way Magic is Used
About half way through the book, magic is introduced. For most of the book you are so focused on the competition and the romance that when magic is brought into the story, it feels out of place. Typically, I enjoy stories with magic but I started to loose interest when Celaena first discovers it. I felt like it should have been brought into the story earlier and maybe then it would blended in better. For the record, there is a teeny tiny mention of magic in the beginning but it’s tiny.
Magic is taboo in the Glass Castle and surrounding lands and therefore it’s kept hush hush. Rather than explaining the magic, the characters just glance over it due to their fear of being overheard. As a result it felt like the author was just throwing magic in without rhyme or reason. Since there are many more books to come in this series, I figured the author was holding back on details for her future books.
I wanted to know more about the origin of the magic, as there clearly was a history to it. I also wanted to know how someone used magic. In the book, it involved chanting and mumbling of words and, to me, I thought like there should be more to it. In the end, the magic seemed like an afterthought even though it was a major part of the book.
Overall, Throne of Glass is a fun book. I had only one major complaint about the book but in the end it didn’t stop me from wanting to read it. I’m looking forward to the next books in the series.
*I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.