Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
My Rating: 4/5
Synopsis: In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.
Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament – fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?
(Spoiler-free, just in case, but I know how popular this book is in the blogosphere!)
I’m going to be honest here. The reason I’d put off reading this much talked-about series was because I didn’t like the covers. And I know as a book nerd I’m not supposed to judge a book by a cover, but the covers for the Throne of Glass series always seemed corny and a little kiddy to me.
However, I can now put my hands up and admit that I judged too harshly. Because I really, really, really enjoyed this book.
Maas has created a world that is rich with intrigue and hidden magic, but it is never revealed to us in overwhelming, boring info-dumps. Whilst there are similarities in this series to the infamous Game of Thrones, the world is unique and the characters fleshed-out. In fact, Celaena annoyed me a little at first. She was cocky and self-obsessed, but this made for excellent character development as she actually became more likeable. Her arrogance becomes confidence; her self-obsession is knocked down a few notches; but her wit remains. She’s an excellent heroine, kind but deadly. Whilst I think some of her cheesy lines could be got rid of, I did grow to really like her.
As for writing style, Maas crafts mostly excellent dialogue (it can sometimes be a little corny) but there is no speech that is simply thrown in for the sake of it. The plot moves along at a steady pace and the synopsis of the book doesn’t reveal to you just how many sub-plots are weaved into the story.
More of these sub-plots are revealed to us to pique our interest and they culminate for a satisfying (and not rushed) ending. Aspects of the novel are actually quite dark; it’s not a frilly young-adult fantasy. The protagonist herself is a renowned assassin, having killed numerous times, and the novel is filled with gruesome murders by an unknown beast. However, I felt who/what was behind the murders was a little too obvious; Maas’ red-herring didn’t work on me. But the sense of unease she created was still palpable.
In terms of the love-triangle, I actually enjoyed it because it wasn’t cliche. In fact, it wasn’t really even a love-triangle. There weren’t any cringe-worthy fights between the Crown Prince Dorian and Captain of the Guard Chaol for Celaena’s heart, and I actually enjoyed the fact that Celaena isn’t wholly ruled by the men in her life. Yes, she swoons a bit, but it wouldn’t be YA without a bit of swooning. However, her decisions at the end of the book in regards to the love-triangle were refreshing and I gained further respect for her. Yet if there’s someone I want her to end up with at the climax of this series, I prefer Chaol. Whilst Dorian is witty, Chaol’s somewhat shy and sensitive centre beneath his gruff exterior is all the more interesting. If I was Celaena, I’d definitely choose Chaol.
So, there you have it, I fully admit that I judged this series and now regret that. However, I now have four more books to enjoy (when I have the money to buy them) and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of the world and characters Maas has created.
Have you read the rest of the series? What did you think? (No spoilers please!) And is Maas’ new fantasy series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, worth a read? Let me know in the comments below!