Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J Maas
Review: The opening to Throne of Glass was great, it has an ominous feel to it. We meet Celaena Sardothian, a trained assassin who has spent the last year in the salt mines of Endovier after getting caught. She is retrieved by Captain Chaol Westfall and brought before the Crown Prince of Adarlan. I loved Celaena’s sassy and almost cocky attitude especially for someone so young. The prince; Dorian offers Celaena the chance to be his champion in a contest to be the King’s assassin, should she win she will have the chance to earn back her freedom so naturally she agrees. As they travel to the city of Rfthold we gets hints that Celaena is something more than an assassin especially in the line; “she didn’t wish to reign over this city again”. This makes me wonder what she could be because she does talk a lot about magic and the Fae like she has intimate knowledge of them. When they arrive at the castle Celaena is segregated from the other champions and beings to develop a tentative friendship with Dorian through their shared love of literature. Celaena also learns of some strange markings throughout the castle and decides to investigate.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel we see Celaena meet the King for the first time and we see Chaol become a little nicer even telling Celaena she looks pretty and I can already see the romance building. One thing I enjoyed immensely was the banter that Dorian, Chaol and Celaena engage in, I was in stitches most of the time. As Celaena gets the first glimpse at her competitors most seem pathetic with only one or two worthy of her attention. As the first training session arrives Celaena gets to see the other twenty three champions in actions. I loved the sparring scene between Celaena and Chaol because they deliberately get on each other’s nerves. Celaena quickly learns to blend in but not stand out and their long term plan is stealth. During this time Celaena ends up spending a lot of time with Chaol and I can see a romance developing.
As we cross the 1/4 mark in the novel the first elimination test is only a day away when one of the champions suddenly turns up dead. While this makes Celaena a little nervous she sees it as one less opponent in the tournament. On the night of the first test we see Celaena and Chaol talk about their respective childhoods and upbringing. The first test turns out to be quite simple in Celaena’s eyes as it is an archery test. While Chaol told Celaena to do well but not amazingly so her pride does get the better of her. When the ill-fated soldier is eliminated there are only twenty two champions left. As the second test approach another champion does after trying to escape the glass palace. It is during this time between the test that we really get to know Celaena and understand some of horrid things she has experienced in his eighteen years.
As we approach the halfway mark in the novel we get to see more of life outside the tournament namely the inner workings of the royal court. I also liked seeing the various ladies clamouring for Dorian’s attention as he is of age to be married. We also get a peek at Chaol and how he may fancy Celaena. As the day of the second test approaches we see a little love triangle forming between Celaena, Chaol and Dorian although we do learn that Celaena’s lover Sam died shortly before her capture and imprisonment. The second test was amazing, Celaena is doing very well until one off other champions decides to play dirty cutting Nox’s rope and Celaena risks her position and life in order to save him which she does. I loved how Maas gently introduced a paranormal element into the novel especially with Elena appearing and guiding Celaena and as a result protecting her from the mysterious murders killing off her competition.
As we cross into the second half of the novel we Celaena trying the unravel the mystery of the Wyrdmarks and champion deaths while trying to survive the tournament at the same time. As the champions drop in number because of the Tests and the unexplained deaths Celaena confides partially in Dorian and Chaol about her concerns. For a while she tries to put it out of her mind but something is constantly nagging at her and Chaol begins to notice odd things happening around the castle as well. I love how Maas layers this novel, there are four distinct layers I can see; you have the tournament, the romance, the paranormal and the political intrigue and I loved every one of them.
As we approach the 3/4 mark in the novel only fine champions remains and the final test is only days away but Maas allows things down by focusing more on the love triangle to build anticipation for the final showdown. Celaena is also once again actively trying to unravel Elena`s riddle and wyrdmarks before she too becomes a target. As the final test approaches a plot emerged to kill Celaena so Cain can win and I couldn’t wait to experience the final showdown again. Also we see Dorian falling for Celaena even kissing her and it seems like she is going to choose him the way he has chosen her but I held out hope for Chaol. The day before the final test Celaena reveals her identity to her only ally Nox and warns him to flee the castle to avoid ending up like the other champions which he does because he isn’t bound like she is. With Nox gone only for remains so the final showdown is upon Celaena despite surviving this far we know an attempt will be made on her life during the final challenge. We also see Dorian and Chaol contemplating their feelings for the assassin and Dorian knows despite his feelings he can never be with her because of who he is.
As we cross into the final section of the novel the ending of the tournament was painfully obvious in the re-read because there are 5 more books in this series so Celaena was obviously going to win. Seeing the aftermath of the tournament however was still delightful especially with both Chaol and Dorian looking for Celaena’s romantic attentions was amazing.
Overall, I loved Throne of Glass a lot more re-reading it than I did the first time around which is why my rating has changed. I highly recommend this series to people looking to read series like A song of Ice and Fire or Outlander but want to start smaller.
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