Throne of Glass is a young adult fantasy novel that has been taking the internet & indeed the world by storm. Heralded as the next big thing to follow on from the hunger games, it’s a fun novel that blends danger, romance & mystery into a really intriguing plot.
Celaena Sardothien is an 18 year old assassin, & at one point she was the best assassin in the entire world. However, Celaena was betrayed & captured by the realm, & has spent the last year living in a brutal work-camp based in a salt mine. One day, during the back-breaking monotony of her life, the King’s son, Prince Dorian arrives at the mines with his Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall, with an opportunity for the young assassin to gain her freedom forever. All she has to do is represent the Prince in a competition to choose the King’s new Champion. From all over the nation, noblemen have chosen their representatives to take part in the competition to gain the King’s favour, & Prince Dorian believes that the most lethal assassin to walk the planet is his best bet at winning. So Celaena is taken to the Crown King’s glass palace to battle for the affections of a King who had her sealed away in the salt mines of Endovier, competing against other potentials in trials of skill, archery, cunning & many other physical endurances. However, Celaena has a softer side to her, a love of reading which she shares with the young crown Prince, as well as his Captain of the guard, & before long, feelings start to develop between the Assassin & the two men. As the trials go by though, champion potentials start to be brutally murdered in the nights, found eviscerated in the hallways. Celaena starts to have visions of ancient Queens, & strange ancient magical marks which are found painted in the victim’s blood. She knows there’s some kind of connection, & she’s determined to get to the bottom of it. Who wants to win the competition so badly that they would use outlawed magics to kill in the dead of night? Who is the mysterious Princess from another land who seems to know all about the mysterious Wyrdmarks that haunt her dreams?
It’s a great emerging trend in Teen and Young Adult at the moment of strong female leads, & while there is a lot of boy driven teen out there at the moment, these great female characters are really becoming established. Celaena is a dangerous, seductive character, & she doesn’t need a man around to help her out, & that makes her a very powerful character with an awful lot of attitude. The only thing that bothered me about her character was how quickly she developed feelings for both the male leads, it didn’t seem to gel well with her original character set up as a cold, calculating mass murderer. Perhaps if it had, she would’ve been a much harder character to get along with, but her Assassin reputation felt a little bit out of place with the rest of her character. Dorian is a charming character, & his positive politics really make him stand out from the background of back-stabbing ruthless courtiers as a really easily relatable character. Chaol is a bit harder to read, sometimes he comes across as a really fun character, with a dry, wry sense of humour, but other times he can just be a little bit bland. I think Princess Nehemia was my favourite character, the strong, proud princess from a land ravaged by the King, with a mysterious history & a strange knowledge of hidden magics & history, she added a real rebellious texture to the book, & worked as a brilliant non-romantic companion to Celaena that I found really charming & strong.
The start of the plot clearly takes some pointers from Suzanne Collins, but it’s clearly a much different novel, due to a twisted fairy-tale style setting. The mysterious plot of brutal murders & forgotten magic is really gripping, & it kept me really invested in the novel up until the end, perhaps more so than the characters themselves. The idea that magic is outlawed, but the discovery of the Wyrdmarks & the ghosts of the ancient royals hints at a much larger universe than we get to see in Throne of Glass, & it adds a great sense of texture to the novel. I can’t wait to read more about the history of the world in later books, as there’s a lot of things hinted at in Throne of Glass that I would love to get fleshed out, such as the history of the first King & Queen, the Fae people & the construction of the Wyrdmarks. I think the only struggle I had when reading the book was keeping up with the pacing, which I felt was odd in places, particularly the trials, which often got skipped over in a sentence or two, which I found disappointing, as it meant the action was quite spaced out up until the end. All in all though, it was an enjoyable novel & I found the plot pretty gripping, as well as the history very intriguing, & I will be giving the upcoming sequel Crown of Midnight a try for certain. I often recommend this one to customers, it’s a great deal of fun, & Sarah J. Maas has a great future ahead of her.