Throne of Glass #1
by Sarah J. Maas
Published on May 7, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, 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. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
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.
Prior to heading to the theater to see Catching Fire this past Thursday, we stopped at Barnes & Noble per my request to waste a little time. While there, I perused the dozens of books I wish I had money for, two of which I ended up purchasing. Something to read during the hour-long wait before the movie premiere. I chose to start with Throne of Glass as I’d wanted to read it for some time, having too much to do until recently. While I started it then, I was forced to stop only a few chapters in for the movie. Throughout Catching Fire, I thought about the book. I returned to my dorm only to pick it back up and devour page after page while I waited for food to arrive. Despite better judgment, I continued reading into the late hours of the night, telling myself I’d get to class sleep-deprived, but happy. I’m not sure what others would say but I thought it was worth it. Throne of Glass has become one of my new favorite books, captivating me from page one and keeping me hooked to the end.
Celaena, heroine and assassin of Throne of Glass, had to be one of the most relatable characters I’ve read in a while–at least for me. She had fire and determination, yet knew she wasn’t perfect. Her flaws were a part of her and she dealt with them as any sharp-tongued young woman would. There’s just something about her that makes her almost immediately likeable. As for the male leads, I liked both Dorian and Chaol. Prince Dorian had a touch of “I’m royal so I’m going to rebel” going on, typically seen in princesses, but it worked. His eyes wandered but he had a kind heart and was sincere when it came to Celaena.
Despite that, I’m all for Celaena and Chaol (yes, that means there’s a love triangle). Chaol, Captain of the Royal Guard, tries not to fall for Celaena but ends up in the same boat as Dorian. He’s loyal to the prince, who also happens to be a close friend, and stays back, caught between a rock and a hard place. I haven’t read Crown of Midnight yet but I’m hoping for more of Chaol. Then there’s Celaena’s new friend Nehemia, a foreign princess who isn’t all that she seems. I felt like she was a strong supporting character in Throne of Glass and can definitely see her playing an even larger role in the story’s future.
Awesome characters aside, I loved the general premise of the book. Bringing together a bunch of murderers and thieves to fight for the honor of being the king’s Champion? Just take my money already. Typically, when you hear “Champion” in the medieval context you’d think of a knight in shining armor, chivalrous and courageous, not someone kept in a prison up to that point. Maas spun the idea on its head, adding in a touch of magic and fantastical history to make it like no other competition you’ve read about. This isn’t the Hunger Games or anything of the sort, but men do die. How is something both Chaol and Celaena want to find out. There is no clear villain in this book. Well, not in the “Hey, it’s him! He did it!” sense. The intricacy of the antagonist position, however, makes the novel intriguing and keeps you hooked to the end.
Throne of Glass is the type of book that will have you waking up in the middle of the night to finish it–I know I did. If you’ve yet to check out this novel or any of the shorter novellas that precede it, I highly recommend doing so. You won’t be disappointed. This book is ideal for fans of Graceling by Kristen Cashore, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Maas has given a new face to YA fantasy with Throne of Glass. Action, adventure, mystery, a little romance, and enough sexual tension to blow up a castle with, you won’t be able to put it down. Now stop reading this review and start reading Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas!