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 kings 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.
I often find that a trilogy’s first installment can be a bit slow due to world building, introductions, etc. Thankfully, Maas finds a way to subtlety weave the large amounts of background information necessary for a well-rounded fantasy novel in without sacrificing the flow of the story or leaving the reader to sift through a huge influx of jumbled information. Determined readers might not have an issue sorting through details and recollecting pertinent information, but I liked the accessibility of Maas’ writing. I felt like I could easily hand Throne of Glass to someone who doesn’t read a lot of fantasy and they wouldn’t be overwhelmed.
I liked Celaena from the start of the novel, but I came to enjoy her voice even more as the novel progressed. She’s a strong heroine: independent, motivated, and deadly smart. And, though she tries to hide it at times, desperate for companionship and understanding. Though to some, maybe even Celeaena herself, this could be construed as weakness, but to me, it only made her stronger. And a much more relateable character.
There didn’t seem to be any extraneous characters in Throne of Glass. Each character had a distinct purpose and I found myself forming attachments to those with recurring appearances, especially Captain Westfall. I was a bit surprised when I wasn’t a huge fan of Prince Dorian. I’m not sure what it is about him – or if it’s just my stubborn mind believing I can only like either the Captain or the Prince – but I found him annoying. It seemed like he often tried to coddle Celaena, who, to me, is much more capable than he could ever dream of being. I like Westfall much better for many reasons, including the fact that he challenges Celaena.
I always thought I’d enjoy Throne of Glass, but I really wasn’t expecting the depth and reach this novel would have. Every time I thought “Wow. I can’t believe that just happened!” something new and equally intense would occur. Epic is the only word in my vocabulary to describe the scope of Throne of Glass.
I could probably go on and on about Throne of Glass, but I won’t. Simply put, I have a new novel to list among my favorites. As I read, I was reminded of Maria V. Snyder’s books and, interestingly enough, the video game Oblivion. I love, love, love the idea of these two things merging and that’s exactly how Throne of Glass feels to me. Maybe I’m one of the few who are excited by this concept, but it’s definitely how I’ll be pitching this novel to my friends.
And don’t forget to check out the trailer below!