Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Number of Pages: 433
Description: “Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.
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?”
-From Book Depository (Click here to purchase from my affiliate link!)
I have to admit: I went into Throne of Glass with low expectations. Sarah J. Maas is a divisive writer and people either seem to love her unconditionally or hate everything she has ever written with no real middle ground. Since I recently read Cassandra Clare, an author with a similar reputation, for the first time and wasn’t particularly fond of her work, I didn’t anticipate enjoying Maas, either. Still, I decided to give this book a try anyway, primarily because the author is on my list of shame because I have never previously read anything from her. Thankfully, I really enjoyed Throne of Glass, even with some of its flaws, and I’m glad I gave it a chance!
Before I gush about the many reasons that I love Throne of Glass, let’s talk about its biggest flaw: the protagonist. Celaena Sardothien is, according to the book’s description, one of the greatest assassins in the world. She is skilled, cunning, and brave, all of which are traits we rarely actually see her exhibit on the page. Readers are told repeatedly about how awesome Celaena is, but nothing she actually does showcases any of this. Instead, readers are treated to someone who is icy, cold, and frequently makes bad and irrational decisions. Over the course of the book’s plot, I did begin to get a little more background into why she acts the way that she does, but her early characterization could have been handled better. Thankfully, as this is a long series, I have hope that Celaena, as well as everyone else in this book, will grow substantially as the plot progresses.
Now, it’s time to talk about how much I love everything else about Throne of Glass. The world-building is strong, particularly in regards to the amount of political intrigue at work. I love political fantasies that discuss tense alliances and keeping the peace between different nations, so finding that this appears to be a large part of the plot here is a pleasant and fully welcome surprise. So far, I wouldn’t say that there’s anything about this world that sets it apart significantly from any other fantasy that I have read recently, but the amount of detail here is still commendable.
While Celaena may be frustrating at times, the same cannot be said for the side characters supporting her. In particular, Chaol and Dorian are both interesting potential love interests. There is definitely a sense that they exist to fulfill character archetypes for a love triangle, with Chaol being the brooding warrior and Dorian being the sensitive reader, but they do such a good job at handling their roles that I don’t care, either. Normally, I’m not a fan of love triangles, but since I could genuinely see Celaena with either one of these guys at this point in the plot, I’m not upset about its existence. What I enjoy for one book, however, I will not enjoy for a full series, so I don’t want this love triangle to persist forever and I really hope that Celaena makes her final decision long before that.
Overall, I love Throne of Glass, even if it’s not a perfect book by any means. In particular, I think it’s a strong start to a potential series. With every author I read from my list of shame, I discuss whether I think I want to give them another chance, and the answer is quite obvious here, I suspect. In fact, I’m actually in the middle of the prequel novellas as I write this and loving them just as much as this book! I’m not sure if I will finish the series or just read it until I lose interest, but I’m having a lot of fun and I’m glad that I finally gave Sarah J. Maas a try!
Final Score: 4/5
Have you read Throne of Glass? Let me know in the comments below!