I picked up Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas sometime in 2015. May? October? Not sure when. I recall purchasing it a week before I had to drop my mother at the airport; on the way back I stopped at a Starbucks and started reading it. I stopped after about 30 pages, then didn’t pick it up again until recently.
Not surprisingly, it was another of those books I bought because of the interesting cover. Pretty covers, the bane of my bookish existence.
Throne of Glass is the Cinderella inspired story of Celaena Sardothien, a notorious assassin who, one year prior to the story, was caught and sent to the salt mines of Endovier. It is thought that she wouldn’t survive the brutality of Endovier, but she does and is propositioned by Crown Prince Dorian Havilliard to be his Champion in a contest held by his father, the King of Adarlan. If Celaena beats 23 other sponsored Champions – all assassins, thieves, or disgraced soldiers – then she will become the King’s Champion, doing his bidding for four years before gaining her freedom. Celaena agrees and is promptly whisked away to Rithfold, Adarlan’s capital, where she is trained mostly by the Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall. While at Rithfold, she befriends the princess Nehemia, a rebel princess from a conquered country, who has her own secret agenda. Without spoiling any details, Celaena does win the contest as one would expect a lot of different events occur in the meantime, including many of the Champions being mysteriously and brutally murdered before the final Test.
Throne of Glass takes place in a richly imagined country. The writing isn’t Shakespeare (but that’s never been a factor for me) but it is well written and paced. The supporting characters are great. Dorian starts seemingly as the typical spoiled Crown Prince but the reader soon learns that he is nothing like his father and vastly disagrees with the ways in which the King rules and conquers. Chaol is a stoic, loyal Captain who at first distrusts Celaena but comes to realize that although she is an assassin she still has honor. Nehemia appears as an exotic princess from a foreign land, woefully undereducated in the ways of Adarlan court; but it is later revealed that she has secrets and she doesn’t reveal all her secrets in the end. The scenes are well thought out and written; there’s even a ballroom scene reminiscent of Cinderella.
What I really don’t like about Throne of Glass is Celaena. 97% of the story is written from Celaena’s point of view, and by all accounts she is the typical teen heroine. She is vain, arrogant regarding her skills, a smart aleck (though no denying she is smart and witty), and somewhat of a brat. She’s also atypical; she’s a well known assassin at 17, suffers from PTSD, has a traumatic past that she sometimes has trouble suppressing, and she obviously has feeling for both Dorian and Chaol but doesn’t go so far as to say she loves either one. It’s Celaena’s atypical qualities that I like best, but I still had trouble connecting with her throughout the story. I hear it gets better in the subsequent books, but I am still deciding if I want to read them.
Overall, Throne of Glass has promise but I feel it falls a little short with its heroine. Celaena has a lot of promise and I do hope she improves in the later part of the series. But as a book on it’s own, I’m not sure I’m enamored with this volume.
My rating: 3.5/5