Throne of Glass
By: Sarah J. Maas
Book #1 in Throne of Glass Series
Content Warnings: Violence, blood, gore, death, misogyny, alcohol consumption, language
Throne of Glass is basically a story where characters develop friendships (and rivalries) by roasting each other to a crisp. Despite what the title may suggest, the protagonist in particular has a backbone made of diamond and is too resilient to let anyone break her.
Who’s that person on the cover making readers feel like they have a target between their eyes? Meet Celaena. She’s Adarlan’s most notorious assassin and bound to get anyone near her into a heap of trouble. Betrayed and sentenced to work as a slave in the Salt Mines of Endovier, she gets a chance at a new start when Prince Dorian strikes a bargain with her. She can earn her freedom back if she wins a competition to be the King’s Champion. Celaena accepts but ends up dealing with more than she anticipated.
What follows after is run-ins with jealous courtiers, discrimination from her fellow male competitors, threats from Adarlan’s ruthless king conqueror, and a mystery that involves grisly murders within the palace walls. There’s also some references to a banned magic system, which I suppose will be developed further in the next installments. There’s some pretty horrific elements at play, but the character dynamics somehow make this debut novel a light read with a playful tone.
I liked the interactions Celaena had with other characters. She’s the type who does and says what everyone else is thinking without an ounce of remorse, so it’s interesting to see how the others react to her antics. She trains with Chaol, the long-suffering Captain of the Guard. She flirts with Dorian, the powerless yet empathetic heir to the throne, who seems to be a glutton for punishment when it comes to his Champion. Everyone’s separate quirks when combined make for relentless banter and some amusing group dynamics.
Celaena also develops a heartwarming friendship with Princess Nehemia, a visiting royal from another country wanting to protect her people from Adarlan oppression. These two together are a force to be reckoned with. Maas also hints at there being more to each character’s histories than what meets the eye, so I’m excited to learn more in the next books.
All in all, the vivid characterizations stood out to me the most in Throne of Glass. If you like sassy protagonists who takes no prisoners, then you might enjoy Sarah J Maas’s debut series as well.
More Musings & Magic
I just want to use this space to talk about Nox, one of Celaena’s fellow competitors. It’s always a pleasant surprise when a minor character shines. He and Celaena had great chemistry from the start, he being one of the only rivals to respect her abilities. They end up helping each other and opening up throughout the competition, which was a breath of fresh air from all the insipid taunts Celaena had to endure. Anyway, I hope Nox shows up again in the future!
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