I don’t know when I first heard about it, but the last few years, you can’t get around the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve been severely disappointed by hyped books and/or series in the past, so I didn’t jump on this right the minute it came out. In fact, I bought the first book the year Heir Of Fire was released, because I stumbled upon it in a charity shop for peanuts.
Me being me, it took a while to actually read it. In fact, it took me until Heir Of Fire was nominated for the BookTubeSFF Awards that I decided to finally give this series a go. Better late than never, isn’t it?
Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Destined for greatness.
In the dark, filthy salt 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 Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?
My hesitation for starting this series was mainly due to the presence of potential cringe-worthy plotlines. See, after having read a fair amount of YA (Fantasy), I’ve become highly allergic to certain elements that plague these kind of books. Surprisingly, while present, they didn’t bother me at all in Throne Of Glass and on the whole, this was a really entertaining book.
The entertainment-factor is so high because Throne Of Glass combines all things exciting. Assassins, thieves and other scum battling it out to become the King’s Champion? Banned magic? Strange symbols? Brutal murders? It’s all there and ready for you to love. Add some seeds of romance to it, and you have a recipe for success.
“Assassins, thieves and other scum
Soon before long, though, the romance – or rather the beginnings of it, attraction – starts to overpower the competitive plot. I don’t think we, as a reader, witness half of the tasks and they are just mentioned. Normally, I would have struggled with this, but not here. Some way or another, Sarah J. Maas managed to capture and ensnare me in her story, making me giddy about gowns and masked balls. Which is rather a good thing, cause otherwise the book would be a tad dull. This is partly due to my expectations, though. When I heard this book featured a competition between assassins and the like, I was picturing brutal battles that wouldn’t be out of place in the Hunger Games arena. The tasks Celaena has to manage, though, are carnival-level compared to what I had in mind. So while I was surprised that the book didn’t focus heavily on the competition and the training sequences, I soon became glad cause one can only sit through so many knife-throwing scenes.
Long live the sprinkle of magic – Wyrd – added to the mix. It was quite obvious that, even though magic is outlawed, there would still be traces of it. Sarah is a big tease, though, cause we see little and get to know nothing. I have high hopes that this gets developed further in the books to come, cause I really liked what I’ve seen so for. Another element that needs to be explored more is the world. We here some things about it through Celaena, and Erilea holds so much promise and seems to have a past linked to the Fae. Can you spell excitement?!
“female characters come in more than those two flavours
Which brings me to the characters. My issue with them is that, even though I liked them, I had trouble believing them. First off, their age. Granted, this is a YA novel, so perhaps the characters don’t all need to be in their forties, but Captain of the guard when you’re barely 25? A notorious assassin when you’re on the edge of 18? I’m willing to go far when it comes to my imagination, but you need to back it up. And I’m really sorry, but never did Celaena convice me that she’s the world’s most feared assassin. Shouldn’t she be a rather light sleeper, instead of being out cold so she doesn’t even notice Chaol and/or Dorian enter her room? She sure has some tricks up her sleeve, but those little things bug me. Apart from that, though, I found Celaena to be quite the refreshing character. She’s strong and fun, without the need to be constantly sassy or sarcastic. Good to know female characters come in more than those two flavours.
The other characters are a tad stereotypical. There is the evil king, the mysterious stranger, the dashing prince, the grumpy guard, the naive rich bitch, the big bully, … But once again, it doesn’t bother me at all. Yes, it’s not the most imaginative cast of characters out there, but they fit the story well. I’d rather read this than quircky, highly-orignal characters who are shoehorned in the novel just for the sake of it. And let’s be honest, don’t we all enjoy a story with a dashing prince etc.?
“don’t we all enjoy a story with a dashing prince
So while there might be elements in Throne Of Glass which, in any other book might put me off, here, they passed. This is in part due to Sarah J. Maas’s writing. She’s still young and with this being her first published novel, she can perfect her craft, but this novel shows promise. Sarah knows how to spin a captivating tale and is able to make me forget that I don’t particularly like certain things. If you can make me forget, if you can make me like things, that means you’re an author to watch. Which I will.
In the end, Throne Of Glass is one of the few books where I can see why people are raving about it. Do I rave about it? No. It was good, enjoyable and entertaining. But above all, while it had its shortcomings, it showed promise for the future. The story might be done quite some times already, but stories like this never grow old and when done good, they’re good.
★ ★ ★
Lay claim to the throne of glass, before it’s too late..