Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, #1
Celaena Sardothien, the famed assassin, has been imprisoned for a year in the slave mines of Endovier. Freedom seems an impossible scenario until the Crown Prince of Adarlan pays her a visit. He offers her a deal on behalf of the King. The King of Adarlan is hosting a competition and whoever remains standing in the end will be his Champion, his personal assassin. If Celaena wins, she will serve the king for four years and then be set free. As the competition begins, Celaena finds herself caught in a battle of wills and not just with the other competitors. The contest takes a more dangerous turn when a contestant is found murdered and Celaena discovers there is something even more dangerous in the castle than herself.
“Aren’t you first going to show me the basics…I was in Endovier for a year, you realize. I could have easily forgotten.”
“From the amount of killing that went on in your section of the mines, I highly doubt you’ve forgotten a thing.”
Celaena Sardothien is a bit of a contradiction. Forced into a life of murder at a young age, all she has known is killing in order to survive. She is ruthless and cunning, with a brazen tongue to boot. But she is also sensitive with a painful past that continues to haunt her. She loves books and music, and dreams of one day being free. The relationships she develops with several characters bring out her vulnerable side, making it impossible for any of them not to care for her. And hurrah! Celaena is given a female friend in Princess Nehemia. I hate when a female character is surrounded only by men, making it feel like the only relationships in her life that matter are with the opposite sex. I’m really looking forward to discovering more about this rebel supporter in the next book.
Yes, this book has a bit of a love triangle. I mention this because I know some readers simply refuse to read books involving a protagonist torn between two guys. I found Prince Dorian to be a more compelling character not when he was with Celaena, but when he was interacting with his father. The young heir feels stifled by the man he is to succeed, and is often at odds with the King’s methods. But what Dorian lacks is a show of strength, that’s not to say he doesn’t have it. It is my hope that he will be challenged in the coming books and become a stronger leader. His relationship with Celaena is rather playful and flirtatious. He is very open and willing with her, which as a prince makes him extremely vulnerable to manipulation and not necessarily by Celaena herself.
I have a lot of love for Chaol Westfall, the young Captain of the Guard. He is a intelligent character with a lot more self-disciple than those around him. Unlike Dorian, he is immediately wary of Celaena and instead of giving her his trust, over time she actually earns it. This is indicative of their entire relationship. The playful exchanges between the two feel earned and thus feel more significant. I felt that his character was challenged more than either Celaena’s or Dorian’s, and in the end he make a significant choice that alters his life completely.
This is my second time reading Throne of Glass because I wanted a fresh look at it before starting Crown of Midnight. I am more impressed by Sarah J. Maas’s book this time around. The fact that Calaena is not invulnerable, but is made more human by her fear of the King, the struggles she has with her past, and the fact that though she may be an assassin, she is not a villain are all enriching elements in this first novel. There is a greater threat to the people of Erilea and I am looking forward to seeing Calaena enter this new battle.