Throne of Glass
by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Published: August 2, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Paperback (404 pages)
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.
Short and Sweet Version
This exciting fantasy adventure stars a fascinating heroine who is a mix of sarcasm, humor, Cinderella, and deadly assassin. The romance was a love triangle, but I thought it was well written. Other than too many exclamation points in the writing for my taste, I loved this book.
Jessica Thinks Too Much Version
Mild spoilers ahead! This spoiler warning is for those very sensitive to any spoilers. Major spoilers look like this > View Spoiler »And then everyone dies!!! Why did you click this link if you haven’t read the book?! Just kidding. Anything about the ending will be hidden in links like this. « Hide Spoiler
Throne of Glass has a fantastic main character named Celaena. Her strong opinion mixed with her sarcasm and a little condescension made her so funny and likable and just awesome. Even though she is a notorious assassin, she’s also not afraid to be feminine which I found refreshing.
Random question – I was confused about the “Adarlan’s Assassin” title. Did she kill people FOR Adarlan or IN Adarlan? I know there are prequels to this series and I’ll bet it answers that little detail. I’ve heard good things about the prequel stories so I’m probably going to read them. But if you happen to know the answer to that little detail, I’d be very grateful.
Throne of Glass started out as a fairy tale retelling of Cinderella but Sarah J. Maas changed it after asking herself, “What if [Cinderella] was an assassin who had just tried to kill the prince?” The questions she asked herself after that helped shape it into an original story with only slight references to Cinderella.
To anyone that has issues with the realisticness of a woman being an assassin, I would like to point out that women already posses a lot of the skills required to be an assassin. I think my favorite example is Kaltain staring Celaena down with a “keenness that would make any assassin proud. (pg 75)” Being underestimated is also another huge advantage that women have. Celaena is underestimated about her assassin skills all the time and she uses it to her advantage.
As much as I adore Celaena’s sarcasm and humor, she can only get away with it because of her vulnerable moments where she discusses her childhood which was full of abuse and tragedy. I found myself noticing that Celaena used her sarcasm the most when she was telling tragic stories from her past. It helped me connect with her character more when I realized that she was probably being overly sarcastic to cope with the pain she still felt.
Celaena is definitely brave, but she’s not perfect either. If she was perfect I would hate her. I like her flawed the way she is. In the castle that Celaena is living in, there is something or someone going around killing people. Celaena is usually very confident and brave, but she starts to have doubts about being able to kill this particular monster. As she hurries up the stairs in the dark, she says to herself, “Not that the thought of something wicked dwelling in the castle scared her or anything. (pg 194)” That made me laugh. She’s brave but maybe not that brave. I felt like I could connect with her a little more after that.
Despite being a little afraid, Celaena is trying to figure out who/what is killing people. Her only clues are disemboweled, dead bodies with weird symbols around them like it’s the Da Vinci Code High-Fantasy Edition. Celaena learns that the symbols mean this monster has been released from the
Chamber of Secrets land of the dead, so she gets all Hermione at the library to figure out how to kill it. This story keyboard smashed all my geek buttons at the same time.
As Celaena is chasing after this monster, two guys are chasing after her. Kidding! Honestly, it’s not that bad. There are two guys that she develops relationships with. I feel like it is my duty, as a book reviewer, to tell you that there is a love triangle. I know this plot element can really bug people, but it doesn’t bother me that much if the romance is a subplot like it is in this book. I really enjoyed the romance in this book. Neither of the guys is perfect and they both have a unique connection with her. Now I can’t choose. As far as love triangles go, it’s a very well written one. Captain Westfall annoys her too much for them not to have some romance later on. And the Prince is just so darn charming but a little vulnerable at the same time that you can’t help but like him, too.
The Prince perfectly matches Celaena’s sarcasm. When Celaena is having her period, she tells the prince to go away because she feels like dying. He tells he that no one should die alone and makes up a a sarcastic and slightly suggestive story to entertain her in her “final moments.” By the way, how cool is the casual reference to a period? I liked the honesty, but I liked even more the men’s reactions. The captain freaks out and runs away. The prince comes to tease her.
The prince was clever, charming, and persuasive. I liked that he intuitively knew to appeal to Celaena’s competitive side to get her to join the assassin competition on his behalf. I found it so interesting that the prince embodied the romanticism that a traditional princess has. He insists on marrying for love, which Celaena finds old-fashioned and unrealistic. He also believes in being polite and kind. And he thinks incredibly gorgeous and romantic things like this about Celaena:
He couldn’t banish her heart-wrenching music from his mind, even when he burned his mother’s list of eligible maidens, even when he read a book long into the night, even when he finally fell asleep.
-Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass pg 149
Isn’t that just beautiful and romantic?
This next quote is a conversation that Celaena and the prince have and I think it shows the princes romanticism and Celaena’s realism. I also think it makes them a good couple.
“What’s the point in having a mind if you don’t use it to make judgements?” [said Celaena]
“What’s the point in having a heart if you don’t use it to spare others from the harsh judgements of your mind?” [said the prince]
-Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass pg 231
As much as I like Celaena, I agree more with the prince. I try daily to have more empathy and not judge others.
Captain Chaol Westfall is attractive in his own way. He’s logical, loyal, and down to earth. The captain also has a swash-buckling side to him that Celaena makes fun of, to my delight.
Chaol tossed his cape on top of hers, his toned body flexing through the dark threads of his shirt. He drew his sword. “On your guard!” He moved into defensive position, and Celaena looked at him dully.
Who do you think you are? What sort of person says “On your guard”?
-Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass pg 81
I have only one small complaint about Throne of Glass. Exclamation points do not belong in prose. Just saying. It made the writing feel cheesy. Here’s an example:
How lovely it was to hear a voice like her own–cool and articulate–even if he was a nasty brute!
-Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass pg 3
If the exclamation point had been left out it would have come across as delightfully sarcastic. The eclamation point makes it just so dramatic!! You know!!! It sounds like Jim Carrey is stuck in my head!!!!
Here’s another one! In the prose! I only marked it because it irked me. Irked me, I tell you!
Celaena would not make a fool out of him!
-Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass pg 133
Here’s another example of the generous use of exclamation points! This is Celaena’s hilarious description of the prince!
Princes are not supposed to be handsome! They’re sniveling, stupid, repulsive creatures! This one … this … How unfair of him to be royal and beautiful.
-Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass pg 8
I know I’m starting to sound like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld criticizing someone’s use of an exclamation point, but it did pull me out of the flow of the story more than once. Although, to be fair, the exclamation points work better in the last quote since this is a thought in her head instead of in the prose. Still, they were used a lot throughout the book and the story didn’t need so many exclamation points.
I think the only way to write a fair review of this book is to mock it light-heartedly in a way I hope Celaena would approve of. I loved this book. It was so much fun. But the exclatamtion points need to go. *deep, tragic sigh* *hand over heart* *moment of silence for the dead exclamation points*
I’m sorry. I’ll stop talking about exclamation points now.
One thing I enjoyed about the narration was when it moved to different points of view. It didn’t do it a lot – just enough to be interesting. It told the story from the Prince’s view, the Captain’s view, and Celaena’s view. And it was well written so I could tell whose head I was in without ever getting confused. Most of the story was from Celaena’s view, but it added a lot to the story – especially the romance – when we got to see little snippets from the Prince or the Captain.
Throne of Glass had a fun, adventurous plot that I really enjoyed … except for the ending. As Celaena continues the quest of finding out who is killing people she starts to think that it’s Nehemiah, who is her best friend. I know from too much reading of books that I should not believe this. I’m hoping for a cool reveal of who is controlling the beast that kills people and it sadly turns out to be the most cliche choice. I was kind of disappointed. View Spoiler »Was anyone else disappointed when they found out it was Cain controlling the monster? I wanted a third, unexpected person to be controlling the monster besides Nehemiah or Cain so I could bask in the author’s foreshadowing genius. I guess I can’t expect that to happen all the time. But it would have been nice. « Hide Spoiler
I loved the fresh and different take on magic in this book. Celaena briefly mentions being able to see fairies as a child. The day she first killed someone was the day they left her. This quote talks about how there used to be magic in this world but it left on it’s own.
But even though the king had banned magic, most knew the truth: within a month of his proclamation, magic had completely and utterly disappeared of its own accord. Perhaps it had realized what horrors were coming.
-Sarah J. Mass, Throne of Glass pg 31
This little snippet causes so many questions that I know I will devour this series until I find out where magic went. Why did it leave? When is it coming back? WHAT IF IT NEVER COMES BACK? I found the idea of magic suddenly leaving one day so interesting.
Also, unimportant detail (but what am I if not a noticer of unimportant details), the main characters are 18 and 22 which are technically adults. Just curious why it’s not an adult book. Not judging or anything. They probably made it a young adult book because young adult books are awesome and this is an awesome book. But still, it did make me wonder what “makes” a young adult book. Does the age of the main character matter when it comes to labeling it young adult or not? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
What do you think about young adult books that have older characters? (like 18 or 22?)
Content Rating: Medium, for violence and language. The violence is a little graphic.
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