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Book Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass #1
Release: August 2012
Pages: 404

Meet Celaena Sardothien. Beautiful. Deadly.
Destined for greatness.
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 king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four 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.

My Thoughts

Throne of Glass was one of those books that I saw and heard about many times but never picked up. And once again, I decided to give it ago. I’ve decided that I’ve really got to stop doing that because – once again – this book wasn’t what I expected it to be. It was so much better.
Throne of Glass is a story about an assassin – an eighteen year old assassin who is one of the most feared people in all the Kingdoms. People whisper her name with fear. They call her the Queen of the Underworld. Even after a year in a death camp after being caught people still fear her.

Now I am doing a little happy dance about Celaena because she defies the norm for a lot of book heroines. Celaena is a strong, powerful, fierce heroine – yes, but she isn’ fearless. She’s gets afraid – a lot. She has nightmares. She freezes up. She doubts herself even though she is strong and powerful. What I loved most is watching her overcome those fears. Watching her remind herself that she is Celaena Sardothien, one of the most feared people in all the Kingdoms. I love nothing more than an imperfect character who keeps on fighting. It’s empowering and more relatable. So I pretty much adore Celaena. Also, she’s a smart ass and kind of hilarious.
There is a lot more to this story than just the competition and the mysterious deaths of the contestants. There is an underlying darkness to it all in the way their King is so bent on ruling all Kingdoms. In the slavery and the destruction of whole races. He has destroyed families, Kingdoms, burned down forests to chase away the Fae that lived within them. He banished magic and it vanished from the world and the evil that he has committed has affected everyone. But not everyone is going to let his tyranny go unchallenged. Whispers of rebellion fill the Kingdom and secrets full the castle. And Celaena is in the middle of it all.
“No matter what happens,” she said quietly, “I want to thank you.” Chaol tilted his head to the side. “For what?” Her eyes stung but she blamed it on the fierce wind and blinked away the dampness. “For making my freedom mean something.”

There are many other fantastic characters that Maas has created. Dorian the King’s son and crown Prince was not what I expected him to be. He is cocky, good looking and arrogant but he is also the opposite of his father. He is compassionate and sympathetic and he has no wish to rule every kingdom. And his best friend and Captain of the Guard Chaol is gruff and cynical and a little suspicious of everyone – especially Celaena – but he is loyal and proud.
But by far my favourite character was Nehemia, Princess of a neighbouring Kingdom – a kingdom that Dorian’s father has conquered. She becomes Celaena’s first and best friend. But there is a lot more to the Princess than even Celaena realises . . .

“I name you Elentiya.” She kissed the assassin’s brow. “I give you this name to use with honour, to use when other names grow too heavy. I name you Elentiya, ‘Spirit That Could Not Be Broken.” 
 

For a story about an a teenage assassin – something that might sound silly – it has a certain gravity to it. Although there is a lightness too it with all Celaena’s witty remarks and smart ass humour there is also a darkness lingering. A somber state that surprises you with its seriousness. Celaena’s torture at the hands of her prison guards, the slavery that people are being forced into, the death and destruction of hundreds of people because one man wants to rule them. I expected an entertaining story with adventure and magic and I got those thing but also much more. I am bursting with impatience to get my hands on the next book. 
 

 

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Heir of Fire, Book 3, will be out in September 2014). Starting in Spring 2015, her New Adult Fantasy series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, will be published by Bloomsbury as well. 
Sarah lives in Southern California, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much coffee, and watches absolutely rubbish TV shows. When she’s not busy writing, she can be found exploring the California coastline with her husband.

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