So my boyfriend bought me a new fantasy (more like YA) book two days ago called “Throne of Glass” by author Sarah J. Maas. I read it in a day, kind of devoured it a little greedily, to be honest, and I loved it! At the corner it says, “For fans of Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games”. I’m thinking “those two books have nothing in common”. But Throne of Glass was a LOT like The Hunger Games. Love triangle, competition, crazy leader, lots of blood, mentors, beautifying the competitors, etc, etc.
Let’s move away from there, though, before I really start comparing the two.
Here is the Amazon blurb for Throne of Glass:
“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 Glass had characters that felt very real to me, and it’s been a while since I’ve read about characters like that. The last few books I’ve read had very bland characters that I didn’t care about and didn’t care what happened to them at the end. The characters in ToG were witty, fun, and basically forced you to care about them. Celaena was a fun character to read about, and although sometimes she acted rather innocent and weak, you knew she wasn’t and could easily kill anyone in the room. Throughout the course of the book, she becomes less hostile to those around her and warms up to them, even considering them friends. She grows as a person, leaving behind her hatred (though not entirely), and adapts to life in the castle.
Honestly, I didn’t like Prince Dorian. I’m sure many others did, but I certainly didn’t. He was supposed to be charming and sweet, though I just found him annoying. His relationship with Celaena felt kind of flat to me. I liked him a little bit towards the end when he started to change, but I still didn’t entirely like him. I think I would like him, however, if he started bonding with Princess Nehemiah. I’m interested in seeing where their story could lead.
Chaol Westfall, the guard captain, was by far my favourite character in the book. I don’t think I’ve ever read of (or can think of right now, at least) a character so well put together as Chaol. His moments with Celaena were my favourite, as they always made me laugh. I like the way he slowly began to trust her and how Celaena slowly realized that she may have feelings towards him. There were a few scenes near the end that really stuck with me (the chalk line scene during the fight, for one). I feel that the relationship between Chaol and Celaena would make a much better ending to the series than Celaena and Dorian, mainly because Chaol feels much more real than Dorian and he seems to care far more, too.
Princess Nehemiah was a great character. She felt very mysterious and at times you wonder if she’s actually good or evil, caring or just looking out for herself. I want to see more scenes between her and the prince, though I’m not sure if the author is going to even go in that direction (but I hope she does!)
The other characters were all memorable, including Nox and the crafty Katlain. Sometimes I felt like the King wasn’t a big enough threat, that he simply hid beyond the shadows too much, but I guess it made sense in a way. Celaena wouldn’t exactly be speaking with the King much. Though, he was a little childish, I felt.
The world of ToG is very big, yet we don’t get to see any of it except for the castle and the route there from the salt mines. We are briefly told that Fae inhabit the woods along the way, but we don’t get to see the woods again. I’m thinking that in the next book, the characters will be out of the castle and into the world quite frequently. Wyrdmarks (mystical symbols that are important about halfway through the book) will no doubt return and be even more important than before, and we’ll possibly see the woods with the Fae people. The author tells us that magic is no longer in the world of ToG, but I think it may return in the sequel.
Story-wise it was very entertaining. I felt the story revolved more around the love triangle of Celaena, Dorian, and Chaol (even though for the most part Chaol doesn’t show off feelings) instead of the competition to become the King’s Champion. Some of the challenges were left out of writing and only briefly mentioned by Celaena, which was a little disappointing at times. The challenge involving climbing the castle was fun to read and I hoped to read more like it. You also get the scenes where Celaena explores on her own underneath the castle, which reveals quite a bit about the story’s plot.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to read the sequel that’s coming out next month (August 15th) called “Crown of Midnight”. I’m really hoping that Celaena ends up with the guard captain, but I feel like the author is pushing the other way, which is unfortunate. And I hope everything about the Wyrdmarks and the Fae is explained, because both are really interesting.
4.5 stars out of 5 for Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.