Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review: Throne of Glass



Throne of Glass, Sara J. Maas


Last May, I received a new book called A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by author Sara J. Maas, which promised an intriguing story blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore. Well, I was not disappointed. It delivered a rich world of faerie courts, magic, danger, and romance.

I read some book reviews, and almost every one mentioned Sara J. Maas’s wonderful Throne of Glass series. Of course, I had to look for that series. So far there are 3 books and 5 novellas in the series. The 4th book is coming out this September.

I picked up the first book, Throne of Glass, and found myself in another excellent, high-fantasy story with intriguing world building. This time, a medieval-like world, full of political agendas and wars, dark magic, and tons of action.

Again, the idea for this story came from a classic fairy tale that we all know: Cinderella. The author said, in one of her interviews: “What if Cinderella was not a sort of servant, but an assassin? And went to the ball, not to find and marry the prince, but to kill him?” These questions become the foundation for this fantasy.

This is the story of Celaena Sardothien, who at the beginning is an 18-year-old orphan girl. She is the best-known assassin in her world, trained from a very young age.

Let me tell you a bit about her, while trying to minimize spoilers.



“My name is Celaena Sardothien,” she whispered, “and I will not be afraid.”

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. 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.”

In the first book, Throne of Glass, we meet Celaena in the salt mines of Endovier, a harsh prison camp, after surviving a year of hard labor, abuse, and harassment. And after almost dying there. She is the greatest deadly assassin, trained from an early age by Arobynn Hamel, the King of Assassins in the Northern Continent and the head of the Assassins’ Guild in Rifthold. She has been betrayed, captured, and sent to the salt mines without knowing who betrayed her.

Almost “at the end of her rope,” she is offered a deal by the Crown Prince, Dorian, to compete in a deadly tournament, against other killers and assassins for the title of the King’s Champion. After a few years of serving the king, she will be free to go. It’s either that or death at the salt mines, a simple choice...

The captain of the guard, Chaol Westfall, accompanies her to Adarlan. And though he doesn’t like her much at first, even despises her, he becomes her friend, just as Crown Prince Dorian did.
“Arobynn told me that second place was just a nice title for the first loser.”
Celaena killed her first mark when she was nine and has become the most accomplished and feared assassin by the age of 18. She tried to avenge her best friend’s murder, but got caught and was sent to the salt mines prison camp.

The world in the story is like a medieval world, with kingdoms and kings, knights and castles. It is a world full of magic, but magic has been banned by the black King of Adarlan, the most powerful king of her world (for now).

Drawn by Kelly de Groot for the book
Celaena is a great character. She is not flawless; she is proud, stubborn, mouthy, and deadly, but she is still a girl. I love the fact that she likes fancy dresses, though she is not used to those at first, she loves good food, and she craves a human touch, though she is very distrustful, courtesy of her unusual upbringing. I liked the fact that she started as an arrogant, immature girl, slowly growing up and coming into her power. She is not completely there yet, but by the 3rd book, she is already a changed woman.


By the second book, Crown of Midnight, we get to understand more of Celaena’s character, more of what drives her and why. By now she is the personal assassin of the dark, heinous King of Adarlan. Some of her friends can’t figure out why she has agreed to that role, but she has her agenda. Yes, she does.

Many of the characters start to show their true colors, some for better, some for worse. I myself changed a few of my perspectives, in accordance with those changes. Celaena finds out new, surprising stuff about herself and about some of her friends.

“Is it done?”

Celaena reached a gloved hand into the sack and tossed the severed head toward him. No one spoke as it bounced, a vulgar thudding of stiff and rotting flesh on marble. It rolled to a stop at the foot of the dais, milky eyes turned towards the ornate glass chandelier overhead.

Dorian straightened, glancing away from the head. Chaol just stared at her.

“He put up a fight,” Celaena said.

In Crown of Midnight, Ms. Maas takes readers to the next level. This book is much more intense, even bloody. It has a LOT of action, and the romance accelerates. It reveals more about and elaborates on previously hinted history of fae ancestors and magical abilities. The end of this book is both heartbreaking and promising. I loved every minute of it.
“Who said anything about shame?” She gestured down to her naked body, even though it was covered by the blanket. “Honestly, I’m surprised you’re not strutting about, boasting to everyone. I certainly would be if I’d tumbled me.”

“Does your love for yourself know no bounds?”

“Absolutely none.”

I didn’t think it was possible, but the 3rd book, Heir of Fire, is even better than the second! It is such a great read that I reread it as soon as I finished it, craving the not-yet-released 4th installment so much!

Celaena has to leave the Glass Castle, the friends, and the love she has found there. She travels to a new foreign land, Wendlyn, all alone while brutal forces of evil gather not so far away, intending to destroy her world. Celaena is about to discover her heritage and her true destiny.

There are a few new great characters in this book who I really, really loved. The first is Manon, a wonderfully wicked witch who, though she will fiercely deny it, has a heart of gold. The second is Rowan, the icy-but-oh-so-hot fae warrior. He is awesome, brooding, intimidating, and loyal. Funny that his character brings more humor into the story — his banter with Celaena is wonderful. I know, I forgot to mention there are also bits of humor in this series.
Celaena shuddered. “This conversation’s become far too awful to have after eating.” she said, slumping against the pillows. “Tell me which one of your little cadre is the handsomest, and if he would fancy me.”

Rowan choked. “The thought of you with any of my companions makes my blood run cold.”

The third is Celaena’s cousin, Aedion. His love for Celaena shines so greatly. Celaena starts to get comfortable in her skin, Prince Dorian starts to grow a pair, and Chaol makes his decision at last. There are some magnificent mythical winged beasts here with a lot of intense action.

This book left me in a kind of daze for a day or two. It was that good. The end of this book leaves readers in a darker world rife with black magic, war, fae, and demons. It left me reeling, holding my breath for the next book.

I should also say a few words on The Assassin’s Blade, 5 short stories about Celaena’s life leading up to the Throne of Glass story. Some of these short stories I loved more than others, but all are really great, woven beautifully together. I will add just one more thing about them, and I know I’m not alone: Sam Cortland — why, OH why??? I am crying my eyes out here.


To sum it up, I enjoyed the series very much. It is fast-paced, entertaining, and very rich in details, world building, and characters.

There is definitely a fair share of romance in this story — and yes, there is a love triangle. I must say that this time, I didn’t mind it. I like both guys. Though after reading the third book, Heir of Fire, I have a feeling that there might be a new guy on the horizon, or a change of heart for Celaena. Maybe it’s only my wishful thinking... from what I read, most of the fans want her back with her first love interest.

This world is full of mystery, magical elements, fairies and witches, mythical beasts, and even a few horror elements. Bit by bit, Celaena’s world becomes a dark and forbidding place, nothing is as it seems, and new revelations appear at every corner. Magic, adventure, epic fights, romance, mystery, and secrets. It’s a pleasure to read that gets better with each book.



My rating for Throne of Glass:

My rating for Crown of Midnight:

My rating for Heir of Fire:

So, Saucy Readers, if you like high fantasy, a great heroine, and all the above elements, go grab this book series and have a lot of fun reading it! If you’ve already read it, did you love it as much as I did?


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