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 exhilarating. 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.
Throne of GlassFeatured Hot
Audio: 4.5 Stars
I've been on an audiobook binge this year and I'm happy to say, this one (along with it's sequel, Crown of Midnight) is one of the best on the market. Everyone involved makes this an entertaining experience, especially Elizabeth Evans, who does a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life and giving them each their own distinct "voice".
Story: 3.75 Stars
I'm not a huge fan of fantasy, but there are a few books that have been able to change my mind, and Throne of Glass is one of them.
What I Liked: The writing, world-building and overall story. Celaena wasn't at all what I was expecting. Instead of being this hardened assassin whose closed off emotionally, she's smart, witty, and---kind. Her love of all things shiny and girly made her more endearing (to me, anyway) and I enjoyed watching how she interacted with the other characters. Particularly Dorian and Chaol. (I'm glad I had the audio for the correct name pronunciations otherwise I would have messed them up royally.)
The pacing of the story felt a bit slow at first, and I wasn't crazy about the idea of a potential love triangle. Once I reached the end though, it was clear that Throne of Glass is the stage setter for the books that follow. Like a calm before the storm and I was REALLY glad I had the next book on deck.
A Fascinating Premise
Throne of Glass has all the right ingredients for a fabulous fantasy series. There's murder, betrayal, a scary king, otherworldly interference, court intrigue, and of course, romance. It's epic!
Things I loved: The world! I could see every scene so clearly, and we get to travel from the awful prison/labor camp where we first meet Celaena to a kingdom with a sparkling castle built of glass. The history, the hints we get of magic still residing in places even though the king has done his best to stamp it out, and the lush castle setting juxtaposed against political intrigue and a competition between assassins is fabulous.
I also loved the competition between the assassins, though I wanted more detail on Celaena's skills. Maybe more examples so I could fear her kick-butt-ness instead of having to take everyone else's word for it. She came through in the end, though, and the last competition for the championship is a brutal, heart-wrenching scene worthy of ending this epic novel.
In addition, I was fascinated by the secondary characters. To be honest, I liked them better than I liked Celaena most of the time. I hope we get to see even more of them in subsequent novels because I think we've just scratched the surface on what they're capable of doing.
What Left Me Wanting More: As much as I was interested in the competition and the court intrigue, I wanted more from Celaena herself. Someone whose parents were murdered at a young age and who was raised to be an amazing assassin, who has the blood of countless people on her hands and was then tortured in a terrible prison for a year ... that girl should be traumatized. Nightmares or bouts of depression or fear or self-reflection. I had a hard time emotionally connecting with her because I'm not sure she's in touch with her own emotions. I also figured out the answer to the mystery (which is OMG WHAT??? crazy suspenseful) super early, and I would've liked to wonder a bit longer.
All in all, this is a great start to a new fantasy series. Fans of excellent world building and heroines with mad fighting skills will gobble it up!
A Thrilling New Fantasy Series
Adarlan’s Assassin: a strong-willed, defiant, and indefatigable young woman who maintains a tender heart in the face of incredible hardship. Hey, I can dig that. And in spite of comparisons to The Hunger Games, I think readers will find this new heroine and her world have a pull all their own. Celaena Sardothien, a former notorious assassin, has a past that is riddled with mystery and pain, and her future looks to be filled with much of the same as she enters a competition to become her worst enemy’s Champion and earn her freedom. But once the competition begins, the relationships that develop and the attacks that start plaguing the would-be Champions begin to complicate matters. Add to that a prince and a princess who have more than the status-quo up their sleeves, and you’ve got the recipe for a book that has more depth and intrigue than expected.
I enjoyed Celaena’s personality, in spite of her insistence on being as tough as possible and putting on a front when she doesn’t even need to. Her experiences and her skills are appealing to me since I am always pulled into the stories of those who defy their natural instincts and train their minds and bodies at a level that surpasses most of humankind just to survive. I like spy movies and other kinds of training detail in any story, because it mimics my experience as an athlete, and it's inspiring. Celaena’s determination and subsequent success and rewards because of it made the story about her journey to freedom more real. There were a few inconsistencies (how does Dorian, the Crown Prince, manage to sneak up on her over and over again without her noticing?), but overall these aspects of the story add a rawness that isn’t always present in other stories with a female heroine.
Celaena's relationship with Chaol Westfall, the Captain of the Guard, and with Nehemia Ytger, the Princess of Ellywe, developed so naturally and beautifully it made me love them each as much as Celaena eventually does—especially her friendship with Nehemia. It is rare to see a well-depicted female friendship between two strong characters, but Maas achieved it in their relationship with the fragility that is always present in new friendships. The friendship that develops between Celaena and Captain Westfall felt more natural because of the guard Celaena keeps up with him throughout. His softness and loyalty grew and grew as much on on me as it did on her as the story progressed. Her relationship with Dorian, the Prince of Adarlan, progressed too quickly, and was, at times, predictable. I found myself annoyed at the thoughts and feelings he would have for Celaena and the same way with her fondness of him—because it was kind of typical. He definitely adds some excitement to her life, however, and is a critical character for the plot’s development; I just wished their relationship would have been more guarded and slow to develop--that kind of relationship would have been more in line with Celeana's assasin-esque qualites.
The storyline is well-developed, with its rich history of Erilea and complex legends and mythology that create a multi-layered and rich world as the backdrop to Celaena’s story. When Celaena makes a critical discovery about halfway through the book, it built upon the plot even more and added the exact amount of extra mystery to keep me reading. I was even actually truly scared, something that rarely happens anymore when I read about villains and monsters in books. This is a page-turner that fans of fantasy will not want to miss.
Totally Worth Reading Over and Over
Throne of Glass is the epic and action-packed beginning of a greatly unique story about the amazing, strong character, Celaena Sardothien. For those who haven't read The Assassin's Blade, I really must say that you should read that first to get the background information and the introduction to the new world Ms. Maas has given us the pleasure of knowing.
Newly introduced characters and a new task for the greatest assassin await us in the first book of the Throne of Glass series. This brings forth questions and even more mystery to the main character's personality and life itself. From the beginning, even us readers know very little of the assassin and where she came from -- how exactly did she become the greatest assassin we know and love? Where did she even come from? These questions return upon delving into this book while new questions rise as more is revealed.
If I had to choose my favorite love interest in this book, it'd have to be Dorian. Of course it'd be hard for our lovely main character to trust him through his lineage, but once you get to know him, he's amazing. As for Chaol, well, he's a different story, but I'm looking forward to re-reading Crown of Midnight to see a bit more of the trio in action. Aside from Celaena, my favorite character is Nehemia. Goodness, she was brilliant and believable.
Everything about this book was wonderful and seeing a whole different side of the great assassin was a huge plus. Seeing that light inside of her was a good way to see that not everyone is as coldhearted as we think... even the "bloodthirsty" Celaena Sardothien. On to Crown of Midnight.
Excuse me while I continue to fangirl.
Epic New Fantasy World
Celaena Sardothien is an assassin enslaved in the Endovier salt mines for a year but the Crown Prince comes to recruit her for a competition to become the King's Champion in exchange for her freedom. Celaena is brought into a world of intrigue, death and nightmare. This book and series are filled with unexpected twist and turns that will leave you reeling and asking more question than before.
Celaena is a strong young woman with a smart mouth, love of fine things and an insatiable hunger for books. She is wise beyond her years due to her hard life but still manages to get into dangerous situations. Though she is the most deadly assassin in the land most under estimate her purely because she is an eighteen-year-old girl. Even though she is a master killer Celaena still loves the same things as any young woman; fine clothes, shoes and food. I personally love her obsession with books as I can really relate to this. She is fast becoming my favourite character of any book or series.
The King is an evil sadistic psychopath who has killed thousands of people in order to gain more and more power. Ten years ago he somehow hid of all the magic in the land and ordered his men to slaughter anyone with magical blood. The mystery of how he got rid of magic slowly gets revealed a little more in each book. He is a very easy character to hate.
This books are great and are fast becoming some of my favourites.
Where was the assassin? WHERE??
"My name is Celaena Sardothien,"she whispered. "But it makes no difference if my name's Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I'd still beat you, no matter what you call me."
If only she had actually been the bamf she has claimed to be for the entire book.
The Throne of Glass is marketed as High fantasy but I'm struggling to understand why. Celaena Sardothien is an assassin, she's ruthless and cold-blooded. Or at least she says so. She's kept prisoner in Endovier, a terrible prison-like salt mine in which the inmates get whipped and beaten and raped. One day she's offered a deal, she'll be competing in a tournament representing the Crown Prince of Adarlan, in which she'll be fighting the most dangerous criminals of the land, in order to win and become the King's personal assassin. At the end of her contract she'll be free and her name cleaned up. She accepts the deal although she harbours a deep hatred toward Adarlan's King.
"We all bear scars... Mine just happen to be more visible than most."
Once taken to the Castle she's given a room, personal guards and a servant. She's asked not to use her real name because of the attention it could draw (because Celaena Sardothien's ruthlessness is very famous and everybody fear her!) so, when she's not fighting for her own survival, she dresses in silk and acts like a court lady. During the first days her most pressing concerns refer to her beauty long gone, she wonders whether or not men could still find her attractive despite the depravations her body has suffered in Endovier. Don't get me wrong, she's still flesh and blood and I get why she would be worried about that but there has been a moment in which I felt like there were far more descriptions of dresses and balls than fightings and plottings. (I say this also because the tournament is divided into trials and many times Celaena tells us she's just passed one that we never even saw happening!) As I already said Celaena never fails to tell us how she'd slit the throat of anyone with unbelievable ease and, you know, you kinda expect for someone who's had her past and upbringing to be dark and kinda pained, right? No. Her depth was only shown to us through sporadic nightmares. Mostly she acts like a happy puppy. She sleeps and snores and doesn't realize people are getting in and out of her room, she spends most of her time reading which is not shameful but damnit Celaena, how can you chill so much when there's so much shit going down everywhere you turn? She even eats unguarded food left on her bed when there's a mad serial killer roaming the castle! She puts herself in the middle of a love triangle and doesn't even care. She nourishes both men's fantasies without any kind of second thought (me is not slut shaming Celaena Sardothien, me is just saying that she's a very selfish human being). We see her actually fighting someone, how many times? One? Two?
The world building was not the best one I've ever read about. Printing a map at the beginning of your book doesn't mean you have automatically written a Fantasy. The Magical element was confusing, the King's deeds half-explained. Even the side characters were just there, witnessing Celaena's stunningness because she's special and unlike any other girl evah!
"You could be great. You could rattle the stars. You could do anything if only you dared."
I'll probably keep reading the series though. I'm still waiting for Celaena to go and finally kick some ass. I only hope that she'll stop playing with both men in her life as soon as she can. And, oh lord, let the female friendship be still a thing in the next books! Let's just say that I want to trust the hype for this one. I've seen this series everywhere and I want to give it another chance.
Finally, kudos to Maas for writing a female character that has her period. Despite it having been described like there was a dreadful creature ripping out of Celaena's belly tearing her in half, it was refreshing to get to see your heroine going through the same crap as you do.
Our story starts with Celaena being brought before the two guys who will grow to love her. It's easy to tell from the back of the book. The prince gives her the deal of a lifetime - a chance at freedom. She just has to win the competition and serve the king as his champion for four years. The idea, the thought of not having to die in those mines she was sentenced to a year ago, is enough to sway her mind and she agrees.
She's taken to the castle where she will train and pass the tests, hoping to make it to the final duel. But dark and sinister things begin to happen, magical things. In a land where magic is outlawed. When others in the competition start dying, she knows something is wrong. Then when the very first Queen of Adarlan shows herself to our assassin and tells her that she has to save the kingdom, Celaena knows it's something bigger than she thought.
With the help of those close to her, will she be able to save the kingdom? And with two very different and wonderful men after her heart... what is an assassin to do?
This book was so amazing! I think I finally have a second author (no one though can still though Jennifer Armentrout). I always love Sarah's characters, they are strong and different. I also love how she didn't make Celaena some frilly girl who could only think about the boys. She kept her wits and her head on straight. I actually really love this love triangle, what makes it so hard is after reading this book, I don't know which one I like more! Dorian or Chaol? They are both so awesome and worthy of her love.
I have noticed something about Sarah's book though, they start off slowly, guess with all that world building and such. They are so worth it though, amazing. The world building in her books is some of the best I've ever seen. Read this book, I can personally promise that after you finish it, you'll thank me.
Throne of Glass
The beginning of this book I honestly couldn’t stand it. I hated most of the characters and only two things pulled me through the first several chapters. The writing style had something to it that I did like, and I was curious why so many people before me loved this book.
For the first several chapters of the book I hated Celaena. She had only two modes: This is how I could kill this, and dang that guy is cute. She drove me crazy and I cringed every single time she did either of the two things listed. Which for quite a while was constantly. But as the story went on all the characters grew, and they showed personality.
In the first book you have a story of assassins and thieves fighting for their freedom. Interesting and fun, the story and the characters grew on me and I read the book all in the same day enjoying every second of it from the tour of the castle on. I would give it 5/5 stars if I hadn’t found nearly every character insufferable until about chapter 8.
A++ Brilliant! Must, MUST be read.
I first heard about THRONE OF GLASS on an agent’s blog and will admit, I wasn’t instantly dying to buy it. Assassin? Eh. Glass Castle? Eh. THANK HEAVENS I DID BUY IT! Want to know just how good it was? When I got to the end, I waited a day and STARTED READING IT A SECOND TIME.
Yeah . . . that level of addiction.
Basically, a young girl is a famed assasin in a fantasy world and she is enslaved in a mining prison. She gets a chance to win her freedom by competing against other killers in a Champion’s Tournament held by a ruthless king. Of course, freedom means that she will become the king’s lead henchman, but still . . . it’s better than the prison. There are two men who start to fall for her: the Captain of the Guard, who acts as her trainer, and the Prince, who seems like a superficial playboy . . . at first.
There is a whole, additional plot line of the evil king, acting as a warlord over the land and conquering countries. The outlawing of magic, a portal to a dark world, a warrior princess who befriends her . . . you get the gist.
Oh yes, and there is something roaming the castle, tearing the other champions apart, eating their brains and gutting their organs. Yup – I would have checked out of Casa De Creature too, but not our assassin. She is determined to win her freedom (and figure out why the other bad-boys are getting filleted. What she is completely thrown by is the love she feels for the Prince and the slowly blooming affection for the Captain.
The boys, as well, seem to have a hard time coming to terms with what they feel for her and what they know she has done in her lifetime. They slowly begin to fear that she may not win and will be sent back to the prison to die.
Truly a kick-butt story and strong, STRONG written voice. Ms. Maas – you’ve earned the right to brag ;)
A Fierce, Action-Packed Reads!
This is one of my favorites of the year! It is filled with assassins, magical elements, castles, and battles that will keep you turning pages. I loved the story, the characters and everything in this book, please mind my blubbering about how amazing this book is!
We start by following Celeana and what an awesome strong female character to read about - she is fierce! Celeana is one tough chick that has a soft heart and a strong will to live and do anything she sets her mind to. I loved that she is one of the best assassins but so few know that she is a girl! She stood up for herself and I was so proud of her by the end of the book - she made a decision that most wouldn't have the courage to make and it was a great turning point in the book!
I am generally a fan of fantasy and this book is one of my favorite fantasies that I have read. I loved the story of a competition of the world's best criminals along with an underlying mystery surrounding the castle the same time the competition is occurring. This book is packed with action and there is never a dull moment!
I enjoyed the love triangle though I think it's a little heavily influenced on the one side than it is the other. I thought that both of Celeana's love interests, Dorian, the prince and Chaol, her trainer, are both good-looking men offering her completely different attributes and I find it hard to choose between which one I like more. I couldn't get enough of the story surrounding Celeana and her men.
I can't recommend this book enough. A strong book all around with a strong female, strong love and strong story that you won't be able to put down! I loved everything about this one and I'm looking forward to reading the second book, The Crown of Midnight.
An assassin who... likes to read? Tell me more!
Before reading Throne of Glass, I highly recommend reading the prequel novellas (which are wonderful!) as they’re referenced throughout the book and will give you a greater appreciation and understanding of Celaena’s character.
Celaena is easily one of my favourite female protagonists. As Adarlan’s assassin, she is strong, sarcastic, willful, and can easily plan a successful escape or murder without a second thought. However, she’s also incredibly vain, loves to dress up and attend parties, and is a voracious reader. This contradiction of sorts underscores one of my favourite points, that being feminine doesn’t make you weak, and made me love Celaena even more.
Following the current trend in YA books, there is a love triangle in Throne of Glass featuring Chaol, the stoic Captain of the Guard, and the flirtatious Crown Prince Dorian. Normally I dislike love triangles, but this case proved to be an exception. Both Chaol and Dorian are loyal companions with likeable qualities who are determined to see Celaena emerge victorious in the competition. The third-person narrative shifts between Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian’s perspectives, allowing us to objectively see the romance from all sides and giving us a better understanding of their personalities and motivations. (That being said, I do have my favourite love interest, though I won’t mention who, so hopefully the odds will be in my favour on that count).
Alongside the action-filled contest to find the King’s Champion, mentions of magic, the Fae, murder, court politics and empire building helped create a gripping plot filled with mystery and intrigue. My only complaint is that there were many points where the events of the competition were glossed over in favour of scenes that involved either the love triangle or Celaena reading in the library; it would have been nice to see more of her skills as opposed to just hearing about them.
Overall, I really enjoyed Throne of Glass, and can't wait to read Crown of Midnight!
Where did this come from!?!?!?
Need "Crown of Midnight" now!
*Hope there's a sequel (and more of Chaol)!
Throne of Glass
For me, Throne of Glass wasn’t a book I was particularly looking forward to reading. As a rule, fantasy isn’t my favorite genre, and I was very afraid that Celaena would turn out to be some macho super-human knife-throwing chick (AKA, taking female empowerment too far). However, I was pleasantly surprised.
Celaena is an amazing protagonist. Yes, she’s tough and edgy, but she’s also feminine. She isn’t some glorified warrior princess who flamboyantly beats her male competitors and shoves her superiority in their faces. She likes dresses, she enjoys reading, she has nightmares, and she likes dogs. She was a very real character for me—Maas found the perfect balance between insipid tea-sipper and leather-eating man-woman.
I also enjoyed the cast of characters as a whole. Together they made for a dynamic story, interesting interactions and conversations, and on the whole made my reading experiences a hundred percent more enjoyable. Characters and characterization are the two things I value most in a book, and Throne of Glass delivered.
The plot itself was okay. There were no surprising twists, and I was certainly never on the edge of my seat. Truthfully, Maas employed some very predictible plot elements that I rolled my eyes at, and her attempts at suspense didn’t entirely work. However, the plot was good. It wasn’t horrendously ridiculous or irritating by any means, just predictible.
Going off of that, the pacing and style of this book were a bit unimpressive for me. Towards the middle, things started to drag, as I felt Maas was spending too much time working on the romance aspect instead of the more important stuff. And when the big end-of-competition duel came around, I was bored—the action didn’t hook me.
Oh, and on the topic of romance—love triangles. I hate ‘em, hate ‘em with a hate that goes beyond hate. In my opinion, a love triangle is THE WORST plot device to use. Ever. Period. End of story. And because the romance was such a big part of this book, I spent most of my time annoyed with Celaena’s love life. Only in a book, where you’re an absolutely stunning blonde beauty with gorgeous eyes, will you have not one, but two equally gorgeous and enthralling men vying for your attention. Only in a book. Ergh.
Okay, off of that topic. I do understand that the majority of YA readers adore love triangles, so I’ll keep my mouth shut.
One element that did surprise me about this book was the paranormal/supernatural slant that things took. Magic is a better word, I suppose. I definitely didn’t think this was going to be one of those fantasy books. Overall, I’m not sure if I liked it—Celaena’s “chosen one” aspect was a bit aggravating. I think I’ll withold judgment until I’ve read the whole series.
I feel conflicted with this book. In the beginning it was absolutely unputdownable, but as things moved on the appeal started to wane. I will say, though, that Throne of Glass is a very good book, an excellent contribution to the genre, and is recommended by me to anyone who likes fantasy. Not the most spectacular book I’ve read, but very good all the same.