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.
Song For This Book: Survivor by Destiny’s Child
I put off reading this book for a long time because there was so much hype surrounding this series. I was so sure it was going to be another one of those over-hyped but not so great series that I just kept setting it aside. Finally, I decided to read it, just so I could clear that spot on my shelf that it had taken up since I got a copy a few months ago.
Well, it’s definitely staying on my shelf. I was very pleasantly surprised at this book, and just how good it was, even as the first book in a series. It was high fantasy, but not one of those dense volumes that require complete focus to understand. There was just enough drama, action, love, and ghostly presence to make it hard to put down.
I think my favourite part of this story was that it wasn’t some damsel in distress, or some special snowflake. As you read through Celaena’s story, you realize that she has worked for all the things that she is. She trained and fought and paid her dues to get to where she is now, including spending time in a work camp. It’s been a while since I’ve read a main character who actually is willing to work for it.
The Good Points of Throne of Glass:
The characters in this story are fantastic. They’re well-rounded, with flaws and strengths, and they are distinctive when they interact. Celaena especially stands out, because she is actually able to function without the permission of a man, unlike some other young adult books.
The pacing in this book is great. Just when you think you’ve got everything understood, you get another curve ball thrown at you. It keeps you hooked into the story and interested in what is happening until the very end.
Chaol and Celaena’s relationship is honestly one of the highlights of this story. It’s so natural and honest and beautiful, and I just adore the two of them together.
The world building was rather minimal in this book, but I think it worked well. We’re given what we need when those parts of the story come up and I never felt at any point that I didn’t have the information I needed. It leaves a lot of mystery for the upcoming books.
The Downsides of Throne of Glass:
The relationship between Celaena and Dorian worked, but it felt a little forced. Where her relationship with Chaol felt natural, this one seemed almost like a ‘well, this is how it needs to go’ situation. Not that it was terrible, but it felt off.
Celaena may have been a great assassin, and you could see how she worked and persevered, but she definitely doesn’t act like an assassin in her down time. People and creatures should not be able to go through her space, either while asleep or not there, and her not notice. I get that she felt safe in the castle generally, but she still should have been much more aware for someone who killed for a living.
All in all, a great book. I am currently trying to resist the urge to go and buy the second book, because I have no many others already on my to-read shelf. Highly recommend that you give it a try.
Have you read it? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!