Book: Throne of Glass Author: Sarah.J.Maas
Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.
In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, Celaena, an assassin, is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass—and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
Writing this review is extremely infuriating because this is one of my favourite fantasy series of all time but I worry I won’t do it justice as unfortunately this book, the first in the series, is ultimately weak compared to the rest (it is also irritatingly hard to write this without any spoilers). I fear that I would not hold it in such high regard if it was a stand alone book without the rest of the series to carry it, as half of the book made me want to bang my head against the wall, while the other half made me want to climb inside the book and live in it forever. Having said that, if anyone else tries to criticise this book I would gladly gut them in an alley in a very Celaena like fashion because she will eternally be my favourite female character ever written into existence.
Celaena is a strong willed and fiery (pun intended) character who I find to be unbelievably inspiring. She has suffered through so much and yet stays strong and determined with a heart that not only longs for her freedom, but for the freedom of all those who have endured such hardship.
Through Celaena, Maas creates an impeccable juxtaposition of brutality and beauty in which she goes from slicing people in to thousand pieces, to enjoying the luxury of a beautiful ball gown.
Many have criticised this vain streak in Celaena but I love that fact that Maas has created a strong, ruthless female that shows off her feminine side when most YA cliches cower away from this and boast about tomboy personalities. She deserves to be self-centred after being mercilessly trained as an assassin under an emotionally manipulative man for years and then suffering the horrors of Endovier (a slave camp). She has every right to be selfish, so yeah she might be a bit cocky but would you rather she drown in self pity instead of standing up, acknowledging what has happened to her and still saying a big “screw you world, I’m gonna survive and look good whilst doing so”.
As someone who has gone through a lot I am in awe of her bravery to acknowledge the hardship and not let it define her. There doesn’t go a day where I don’t repeat the words “I will not be afraid” to myself and that simple but profound sentence has substantially supported me. Maas has conceived a character with so much depth and dimension which continually expands with the extraordinary character development throughout the series. And it’s not just Celaena’s character that develops, but Dorian and Choal’s too as they later learn to face and overcome their struggles as well.
The plot also develops drastically throughout the series as Maas moves away from the unoriginal competition and delves into the wonderful world of fae, magic and monarchs, which are all just underlying themes to this book. Throne of glass is simply an introduction into this realm, all be it a cliche introduction with a dangerous competition and love triangle. I’m personally not a fan of the romance in this book (and if you’ve read my other reviews you may have picked up on this theme), however I do love the slow evolving romances regarding other characters (which aren’t even in this book) later on in the series.
I must admit that I found the plot relatively predictable, but for once it didn’t bother me because I was so immersed in the captivating world Maas had built. I actually enjoyed the predictability due to the vast amount of foreshadowing Maas uses, which made me feel as if I was discovering the secrets at the same believable pace as Celaena, instead of one epic climax. The pacing of the whole book is flawless and conceivable as Celaena gradually trains and builds up her strength from the malnourished state she was in at the beginning. Plus I have so much praise for authors who manage to include realistic details like periods for once, I mean sure, authors might have loved english literature in school but didn’t any of them pay attention in biology??
Maas’s writing style amplified the depth of the story, her vivid imagery and descriptions are beautiful pieces of literature that fully enthrals you despite its frequent needlessness. Do we really need a whole page describing just one of Celaena’s gowns? Another writing style Maas uses is multiple point of views, I tend to prefer just one POV but I loved how Maas interweaved the characters point of views so seamlessly throughout the chapters without ever shifting into the first person. It allowed me to gain insight into multiple characters and engage more with the story, but most importantly, unlike other multiple POV books, there was never one character whose POV I dreaded reading. However I recently realised that I had been pronouncing Chaol’s name wrong, it is meant to be pronounced Kay-ell but I have been calling him coal and this thoroughly annoys me. Not because I was wrong, but because I think coal actually suits him better as it perfectly embodies the sense of despair hanging over him and his stern and dark exterior. Hence he will always be Coal to me, NOT Kay-ell.
Overall: if you read this book and think it’s not for you or its unoriginal then I urge you to keep going with the series because it gets better and better and better.