Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) By Sarah J. Maas
I have mixed feelings on this book. On one hand I love the premise; a competition of assassins and thieves to be the new royal assassin, employed rather than imprisoned but first there are many exciting tasks, tests and duels to win. Throw in some forgotten magic that seems to be resurfacing and in need of our main heroine, Celaena, to keep the country safe and it’s a fantastic young adult fantasy. On the other hand; this book also has that annoying love triangle that becomes very prominent very quickly and although not the main focus, at times the romance-y parts seemed to get in the way of the gritty and tense situations the assassin must face. And on a more personal objection, I found out this book is one of 7 in a series which just seems like overkill for a young adult fantasy series. 3-4 books, I get, but 7 and it seems like it might still be going? I’m not so sure I can accept that type of commitment.
That all being said - I loved most of Celaena’s personality. Her wit and banter with the two other main characters, Dorian, the Crown Prince and Chaol, the Captain’s Guard, is entertaining and had me chuckling and charmed by the dialogue. Her strength, determination and kindness is also inspiring after everything she has been through, but she is still scared and vulnerable which shows that she is human and not invincible. But then, there were some odd moments that felt slightly out of place; sure she could love to also dress up even as an assassin, but certain passages where she obsessed over her gorgeous gowns or compared her beauty to other ladies of the court seemed a direct contrast to her badass, gave-no-shits personality. Then, there’s a moment she bites down on a pool cue and screams at the billiard balls, which I just found weird and uneccessary rather than funny. There were other moments where we see Celaena’s overpowering anger that makes her do reckless things and is controlling her and that extra scene just seemed out of place.
Maas also did a great job of slowly incorporating the history of magic in this realm and having it leak back into society and Celaena’s fight. We learn with Celaena about certain things and the magic that seemed to have disappear but is really just hovering in the background. And it seems that some people still have learned about how to wield the magic in positive or negative ways. This, along with the assassin competition, kept me interested and entertained throughout the entirety of the book and I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened.
Now, the love triangle. First, let it be said I am not against a love triangle, but it has to be believable on both fronts. And this book just seemed to lean so heavily towards one of the men that when the other had “moments” I was just like really, is this happening right now? It’s possible that in the next couple books of the series this second love interest is developed and explored better but after this book I could only see her with one of the guys and was annoyed when the other was there. I’m also hoping the triangle is figured out in the next book or two because if they are still hemming and hawing in book 7, I might scream. That is, if I decide to continue with this series as luckily it didn’t end on a cliffhanger. Sure, I will slightly wonder what is going to happen next but most of what happened in this first installment is wrapped up pretty well.
And now for a few fantastic quotes;
“Libraries were full of ideas - perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”
“No. I can survive well enough on my own - if given the proper reading material.”
“We all bear scars…Mine just happen to be more visible than most.”
Synopsis: 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. If she beats her opponents; other thieves and assassins, in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 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.