July 8, 2013

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: August 7th, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Page Count: 404
Source: Purchased
Rating: Magically delicious.
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 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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Uh. Homegirl Celaena's thrown into the salt mines because she gets caught on an ASSASSINATION MISSION. (Mission? I'm gonna go with mission, even if that's not the technical term.) Anyway, Celaena's basically spends a year dying in the salt mines until Prince Dorian and Captain Chaol Westfall show up and pull her out. Why spring Adarlan's Assassins from prison? Well, the king, Dorian's papa, is looking for a Champion (*cough* mercenary) to do his dirty work and he's holding a competition - 24 assassins/soldiers/criminals large - to do a whole survival of the fittest kind of thing.

Oh. And there's some kind of magical scary thing involved. It's going around killing competitors and making trouble. Said magical scary thing also indicates a larger magical scary thing plot. So yay for 5 more books and an untold number of novellas!

Let's break this down:

I think most of my issues with this book come from not reading the novellas before starting this book. I hear said novellas cover a lot of my plot hole problems - such as WHY Celaena was in Endovier to begin with. I mean, I get it, she's Adarlan's Assassin. Obviously she was caught trying to kill someone. But WHAT HAPPENED? And how does Sam fit in? I don't usually get caught up in this kind of stuff, but it kind of nagged at me all book long, since said information is pretty crucial to the plot. But yeah, I think I probably should have read the novella's FIRST. And that need kind of annoys me since it's the first book in the series and, in my mind, the first book is supposed to build the foundation, not need foundation to stand on.

That being said, I do think Book One put down a lot of really great groundwork. At first I was all: WHY IS THERE SO MUCH STUFF GOING ON (the magic, the competition, Celaena's princess bestie, ALL OF THE ROMANCE - to name a few), but then I found out there's going to be SIX BOOKS in this series and realized all of the plots are going to be needed to fill out SIX WHOLE BOOKS. So really, better there be A LOT OF STUFF with foreshadowing and whatnot set out in Book One than not enough stuff/a lack of foreshadowing (because, really, there's nothing I hate more than a lack of foreshadowing).

But, like, those gripes aside, I really did enjoy this book. Celaena is a fun, snarky protagonist. She's strong and very much someone you should be afraid of, but also somehow soft and girly all at the same time. Which makes sense because she's a teenage girl and not a machine.

And then there's Dorian and Chaol. In my unprofessional opinion, t's way, way, WAY too early to be choosing teams/ships/sides, but, like, I'd probably pick Chaol. Once upon a time I fell for the entitled prince (*cough Jonathan of Conte, Prince/later King of Tortall) but NOT AGAIN. Of course, Celaena doesn't have the experience I have with fictional royalty, so this is clearly just a comparison I've drawn for myself. But yeah. Both men are WONDERFUL as characters in this story. I loved getting to know Dorian better - what with all of the layers and crazy father having status. And I really enjoyed getting into Chaol's head, what with his tough guy exterior and all.

OH and that reminds me, I think my FAVORITE part of this book is the POV. I like not being limited to what any one character is experiencing. ESPECIALLY since this is going to be a six book long situation. I know I keep coming back to that, but I can't let it go. I'm pretty sure Sarah Maas didn't even know it was going to be six books when she started and yet she set the whole thing up brilliantly. I mean, imagine SIX BOOKS from JUST Celaena's head? I'd want out of her brain, y'know?

The long and short of it?

Plot: THERE IS SO MUCH HERE and I'm so excited to see what happens to all of it.
World Building: Again, there is so, so, so much here. Conquest, magic, assassins... I like what I'm reading here, I just need to read these novellas and get my backstory in place so I don't feel like a ship lost at sea - or some other, terrible cliche.
Character Development: I don't think this book had a single character I wasn't interested in. Even though there was a lot of people to keep an eye on, Sarah Maas really manages to make each of them count - and flourish in really amazing ways.
Prose: I really felt like I was IN this story and that's all about the quality of the prose, for me.
Would I Recommend This Book?: This really is a book for fantasy lovers. It's very magic heavy and I think you have to be prepared for that. While I do think people who aren't usually big fantasy lovers would like this book - Celaena and Sarah Maas's writing style are very accessible and relatable - it's a lot to digest. So, non-fantasy-lovers, tread carefully. And everyone else? Read the novellas first.

DORIAN? CHAOL? SAM? NOVELLAS? CHAMPIONS? MAGIC? I'm just throwing words at you guys right now and I'm not even sorry. Mostly because I just want you all to weigh in on all of these things. In the comments below, of course.


  1. I just finished this too and loved it. I'm going to have to check out the novellas!

  2. I absolutely love this series! But I totally agree about the novellas. I've read the first book and second book already and for whatever reason, I've put off reading the novellas. I wish I hadn't though. They feel even more necessary before reading Crown of Midnight. Great review!

  3. I absolutley loved Throne of Glass, and yes it is definitely for fantasy lovers and not a light read, but is amazing all the same. Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing and great review. :)

  4. Ohh I have this and was going to start in the upcoming week or so -- didn't know about the novellas at all. What are they? For sure read them before I start Throne of Glass?

  5. I'm glad you liked this book. I read the book before the novellas came out so I think I went in like you did. For me it was just okay. I'm just not loving it like everyone else but I think I'll keep reading the series. Maybe I'll check out the novellas.

  6. I think I may have felt similarly to you about this book. I think that since it is such a huge series, most of the book is just...setting it up. Like you, I didn't read any of the novellas before hand. Since I do have Crown of whatever-it-is on my Kindle, I will re-read this one before I get started on it (soon). And I may even read at least some of the novellas since I always tend to do that. It isn't that I think this is not a good book, I just think that it was WAY overhyped when it came out and that people were not reading for themselves, they were basing their own opinions off of what everyone else thought. There is definitely something here, and now that we have the basic groundwork and world-building and character maps laid out, I'm anxious to see what's gonna happen. Great review, G.

  7. I adored this book, even with the reservations I had about it. I think it's because I went into it not knowing ANYTHING except the keywords + the vaguest idea of the synopsis! It filled a gap I had no idea I had - and I LOVE THAT. I love Dorian a lot; he's the perfect male BFF character, but not a love interest to me. Chaol, on the other hand... well, everyone knows where my heart belongs. And Sam! Oh Sam. That's all.

    I love the novellas though! I read them after I read the first book, and they certainly answered some questions I had. I liked learning more about Celaena and her past, and I think you'll really like the novellas too!

  8. Yay! So glad you liked it! And because you brought it up you MUST read the novellas! I do understand your POV about the team stuff and while I do love Dorian, there was just something about Chaol that intrigued me so much! The books is a lot to take in but I can't wait see how it all unfolds and comes together with all 6 books. GO read Crown of Midnight as soon as possible!!! Wait, read the novellas first :) Lovely review!


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