“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”
I had seen Throne of Glass constantly in work and I knew it was nominated for the Waterstones children's book prize so I was expecting it to be good. I went into this book with high expectations and boy did it deliver. It wasn't without its flaws but it was exciting and full of action and was a great fantasy read. It kept me entertained and engaged throughout and was a wonderful mix of action, romance, mystery and magic set in a fantastical world, full of interesting characters and a fantastic plot.
18 year old Celaena Sardothien is serving out a hard labour sentence in the mines of Endovier after being betrayed by those close to her. Having trained since a young age to be an assassin she was known as 'Adarlan's most feared assassin', she was a cold blooded killer and after being captured she was sent to the mines (mines that no one survives longer than three months) to die. However the guards soon realise she is not easy to kill, she wont be beaten down into submission. Celaena knows she wont survive much longer and so when the Crown Prince offers her the chance to become the Kings Champion which would gaurente her freedom after 4 years service, all she has to do is survive against 23 others in a set of tests that will test their abilities, she gladly accepts. However there is more going on behind the castle walls that first appears, when competitors start mysteriously dying and Celaena starts seeing the ghost of the first Queen of Adarlan she finds herself caught up in a dark evil lurking in the castle.
Celaena is such a change from the stereotypical characters we often see in books, she is good looking, smart and extremely skilled in combat and she knows it. At first her arrogance can be slightly annoying but Celaena doesn't boast to be able to do anything or know something unless she actually does. As the story progressed I started to like Celaena even more and I liked how the opposing views of her by Dorian and Chaol actually portrayed her in a complete way. One saw her sensitivity and vulnerability where as the other saw her skill, strength and killer instincts the two opposing views actually make Celaena who she is.
“We all bear scars,... Mine just happen to be more visible than most.”
One of my favourite aspects of this story was how feminine Celaena was, she was/is an assassin and yet she still loves the girly things like clothes and her appearance she is smart and loves to spend her spare time reading, there is more to Celaena then just being an assassin and I liked how Maas showed that girls can kick butt just as good as any guy and still look good doing it.
And what can I say about the two leading men in this story, I'm not usually a fan of love triangles, in fact most of the time they tend to infuriate me, unless they are done well a lot of them appear to be there if for no other reason then to bring some sort of angst into the story. But Maas actually makes this one work, as I said before the two men, Dorian and Chaol both see Celaena in their own way. Dorian the Prince, who needs Celaena to win a contest that his father the King has made, has had Celaena dragged out of the mines where she was sent to die in order to fight for him, he sees a vulnerable and lonely girl, someone in need of saving, that's not to say he thinks she is weak, he knows she isn't but he sees some of the same vulnerability and the sense of being misunderstood in her that he himself is suffering. I suppose in a way he is looking for someone to connect with, someone he can relate to and I liked the scenes with them bonding over books, they were fun and flirty together and it was a nice contrast to her interactions with Chaol. Chaol the Commander sees her as a warrior he sees her strength and passion and knows that she has endured so much darkness in her life, Chaol pushes in and has faith in her own abilities that she will be able to survive the trails, at first they are constantly butting heads, Celaena loathes authority figures and Chaol who wont stand against his cruel King is everything she despises and yet as they grow closer both their feelings grow, it is a slow burn but they once again they see something of each other in themselves. He is a little shy and awkward but not afraid to speak his mind, I love how open and honest he becomes with Celaena. I personally favour Chaol as he is able to love Celaena knowing the darkness that she suffers from, he knows what she is capable of and yet loves her all the same. They have some beautiful moments together and the scene where he is looking up at her from the Castle gardens after the Ball really breaks my heart.
The writing whilst not great was good, it was captivating and engaging and the overall story did keep me hooked. I like the combination of mystery and magic and whilst I kind of figured a few things out it was still very well written and I did end up surprised a few times. The entire cast of characters is great and you get the feeling throughout that they are all still hiding more secrets, I can't wait for the next book to see what's revealed.
So the negatives, whilst few there is a reason this book isn't five stars for me, the writing was a little bit disorientating at times, the dialogue was sometimes confusing as to who was talking and at times it took me a minute to understand who's pov it was in. And as much as I enjoyed the world there was some bit of it that were a little unclear, I didn't fully understand the magic that supposedly once exsisted or how the world could have changed so much in Celaena's life time but I guess that is something that is probaly going to be explored more fully in future books.
This book is filled to the brim with action, tension, murder, mystery, romance and with a sprinkling of magic. Loyalty is questioned, battle lines are drawn and it is just the start to what is sure to be an epic series.
My Rating: 4.5