Book: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J Maas
This book is a debut novel for Sarah J Maas and started it’s life as a story posted on the site FictionPress.com, ten years ago. Having not read the story on FictionPress, I went into reading this book with no idea what to expect from the story and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It was an interesting and exciting read, even though fairy tales aren’t usually my thing this book was gripping enough to make me want to read on. Here is a short synopsis from the book:
Meet Celeana Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.
In the dark salty mines of Endovier, an eighteen year old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.
Young Captian Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celeana must represent the prince in a to the death tournament-fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celeana will be free. Win or lose she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?
My favourite thing about this book was not actually Celeana herself she’s arrogant and has a huge opinion of herself which maybe she doesn’t deserve since she’s yet to prove that she’s the killing machine she’s made out to be-but she is feisty and sarcastic and witty which I love in a female heroine. All the main girls in this book were extremely well crafted-Kaltain Rompier the supposedly innocent courtier who is actually plotting to get the prince so she can take the crown and the Princess Nehemia from Ellywe-a conquered country who is a rebel princess-she really was my favourite female character in this book and the mystery surrounding her is very intriguing and it’s worth reading the book just to find out what the deal is with her!
Celeana whilst she does prove she can fight, I was disappointed that we don’t really see her cutthroat assassin nature. At the start of the book she is a starved slave and though she proves herself to be impressive in some of the tasks of the competition, we don’t get to see her kill anybody which is a real gripe of mine with this book-if you are going to have your lead female character be an assassin then you really should show her killing someone-I am hoping that the sequel will show her true assassin abilities as I don’t feel they were really touched on enough in this book.
As for the love triangle, I didn’t really feel like Celeana and the two lead males Chaol Westfall and Dorian Havilliard had chemistry in a romantic way-their chemistry was more of a good friends enjoying some banter type than people with romantic intentions towards each other. However the plot with the champions being murdered and Celeana trying to figure out who did it was gripping and should have been given more attention really-some of the best scenes in the book were when she was trying to figure this out. The romance stuff felt like it was in there more to appeal to teenage readers than anything else and as a teenage reader myself it didn’t appeal to me. Having said that, the action scenes in this book were great-the duels, the tests and everything were gripping but the book does start incredibly slow and some of the chapters could probably have been cut because they weren’t particularly exciting and didn’t really grab my attention.
Although Celeana is arrogant, I did feel slightly sorry for her experiences in Endovier and Sarah J Maas does a good job of convincing us of the evil of the kingdom through her eyes. The writer made the mistake of making her lead seem a little too perfect, she’s the best assassin in the land, she likes to read, she can play piano, she’s beautiful-I hope that as the books go on we start to see some of Celeana’s flaws because the only one we really saw in this book was her short temper. Her being torn between the two male leads whilst irritating, is relatable.
Dorian Havillard the prince is your classic charmer. He’s a complete ladies man and seems to have a lot in common with Celeana including their shared love of books. He is also sarcastic and humourous and doesn’t seem to really be scared of her which I liked but he is essentially your archetypal dashing Prince. Chaol is the more silent type but unlike Dorian he is a warrior and despite his coolness, he does seem to have a personality and a heart and I liked reading the scenes with him and Celeana. Although the romance was by far my least favourite part of the book I’d probably say that I was rooting for Celeana/Chaol at this point. Celeana’s girly qualities may be irritating but it shows her softer side and reminds us that she is only eighteen and she does seem to have been hardened by her experiences. She does however seem to be very lucky and doesn’t really have to overcome that many obstacles-it’s a foregone conclusion at the beginning of the book that she’s going to win the competition so I hope in the next book things get a little tougher for her.
Overall this book is a decent enough read and bearing it mind that the author started writing it when she was 16, I can see the series does have potential-for all her flaws I did like Celeana, although Nehemia and Chaol were by far my favourite characters in the book. This series is set to be a six book series and does have potential to be a great series-as the author will grow as a writer and by the end of Throne of Glass I was looking forward to reading the second book and finding out what happens to Celeana next.
My next review will be of the sequel to this book, Crown of Midnight, also by Sarah J Maas.