Released: August 2nd 2012
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Celaena Sardothien is a daredevil assassin with unrivalled fighting skills. After a year’s hard labour in the salt mines of the kingdom of Adarlan, Celaena is offered her freedom on one condition—she must fight as handsome Prince Dorian’s champion in a contest sponsored by the king, facing the deadliest thieves and assassins in the land in a series of set-piece battles in the country’s stunning glass palace. But there is more at stake than even her life—for Celaena is destined for a remarkable future... (from Goodreads)
Throne of Glass has made its way into my “favourites of 2012” list. An amazing fantasy with great romance (inspired by Cinderella), I really can’t recommend this book enough.
What surprised me most about Throne of Glass was the main character, Celaena. Being an assassin, I assumed she’d be fierce and a bit anti-social, only speaking to make sarcastic remarks. And she was fierce and definitely sarcastic – but instead of being the strong silent type, she was actually very talkative. She laughed and joked and made fun, she boasted about all her (admittedly impressive) accomplishments. She was far from what I expected, and I love that she completely shattered all my assumptions about what kind of character she would be. Though she was clearly a force to be reckoned with and someone to approach with fear and caution, Celaena wasn’t the type to spend all her time brooding and moping and sharpening her weapons. She was funny, able to talk easily with the Crown Prince Dorian and her guard, Chaol. She even made friends with the visiting Princess Nehemia of Eyllwe, who took to her immediately. She loved reading and spent hours in the library...she wasn’t your usual type of assassin. And perhaps that’s why she was effective at her job – no-one suspected her. But the thing about Celaena was that she was proud. She hated having to pretend she was of average ability when her talents clearly outstripped those of her competitors. She hated being thought of as nothing more than a silly pretty girl or the lover of Dorian, and I could understand her anger at being confined and forced to act as someone she wasn’t. All she wanted was her freedom, and though she could be ruthless when necessary, she also seemed to have a conscience. She genuinely cared about those who were suffering and wanted to help them. And something horrible happened in her past, though this wasn’t fully explained. I’m definitely looking forward to finding out more in the next book.
Dorian and Chaol were characters that grew on me throughout the book. At first, I didn’t really like either of them. Dorian seemed too arrogant and womanising and Chaol was too serious and tense. Neither of them treated Celaena well at first – though I understood why they feared her. However, my opinion of them changed a lot. A lot, a lot. I actually felt sorry for Dorian, whose father seemed completely cold and harsh and who definitely did some nasty things in the past, according to Celaena anyway. Dorian was funny too and once he got to know Celaena better, he often chatted to her about books since they both liked to read. Funnily enough, Chaol also liked to read. And he was funny too, but I think he had a different, perhaps darker/more insulting, sense of humour, which I liked. Chaol was dedicated to protecting Dorian and his relationship with Celaena was slightly rockier, as he didn’t fully trust her. But if I’m honest, I think out of the two boys, I preferred Chaol. He was more realistic and I appreciated his brand of humour. He knew Celaena was fully capable of protecting herself and didn’t try to act all Knight in Shining Armour-y. And you could tell as the book went on that he’d really begun to care for her, even if he didn’t understand why. Dorian liked Celaena more openly, and she was attracted to him, so my mind was battling itself, constantly thinking “Why must she like Dorian more? Chaol is right there!” and “But Dorian is pretty cool as well. We like him too!” I liked them both, as characters and love interests, and I can’t wait to see what happens next (especially after the ending!).
Nehemia was another character I liked, from the moment we first met her. She wasn’t prepared to be told what to do, much like Celaena at times, and insisted on doing things her own way. She was strong but also kind, and she and Celaena both helped each other out in times of need. Nox, a competitor but also an ally of Celaena, was also intriguing, and he helped make the training and Trial scenes much more amusing and entertaining. I was happy that Celaena had another person she could trust.
Throne of Glass was filled with lots of twists and there was a more magical element to it that surprised me (I shall say no more). The book was over four hundred pages (ARC edition) but I didn’t feel bored at any point, and there was always something exciting or suspenseful or amusing going on. My only problem really was that while we were told Celaena was the best assassin around, we never really saw her in action. We saw her training and during Trials, where she was awesome when allowed to be, but apart from that, we just had to trust everyone’s word that Celaena really was the crème de la crème. Hoping to see more of her skills in the second book. The ending wasn’t a cliffhanger (luckily, or my brain may have exploded), but there were a lot of unanswered questions and I am very much looking forward to the next book. I really want to find out more about Celaena, Dorian’s father’s plans and where the romance is heading!
Overall, Throne of Glass was brilliant. I could see the connections to Cinderella, though rest assured this book was not about singing birds and glass slippers, but rather a feisty heroine with her own agenda. If you like fantasy, read this book. If you don’t, read it anyway.