Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
The king hosts a tournament to decide his next assassin. The world’s most notorious assassin, Celaena Sardothien ,who hates the king, is recruited by the Prince as his champion in the competition. Meanwhile, there’s a darker evil floating around the castle, which Celaena must be the one to stop.
Everyone RAVES about this book. It was okay.
It’s your standard YA fantasy: girl protagonist is better than everyone and must save the world; all the boys love her; she has a dark and twisty past she won’t reveal; she’s perfect.
The things I liked:
Overall, I liked the characters, and I liked the story. It’s standard, but it’s enjoyable. I also liked the intrigue and the fact that Celaena is a bit of a badass, which was a nice change. I’m a sucker for fantasies and their different worlds, and this was no exception. The backstory of the world itself is rich, and I’m excited to see more of that in future books.
It was a really easy, enjoyable read. I was captivated by the mystery of the killings, and I’m also a big fan of competitions, which is partly why I love The Hunger Games and The Testing so much too. I almost wish there’d been more, but what there was, I really liked.
That being said, I did have some problems:
Celaena is supposed to be the best assassin in the world, yet she’s only eighteen. She does comment on this, but it still seems implausible. That means she probably started killing when she was like twelve… how is she as calm and normal, if not more so, than everyone else? Also, for being the “greatest,” some of her choices were a bit odd, and I would’ve liked to see that awesomeness detailed in the story rather than just told about it. I mean, I totally get her picturing how she would kill everyone around her, but just once I’d like to actually SEE her do it.
And while I appreciate that Celaena is a badass, she was just too perfect for me. She is the best assassin in the world, sure (or so they say), but she’s also amazingly talented at chess and piano, is an avid reader, and apparently solves crimes too. Like, come on. Oh, and she has two guys in love with her, and is obsessed with clothes and her looks. Where are her weaknesses, and how do all these things tie together? She’s not THAT well rounded. No one is.
Some of the details were either missing, or contradictory. I couldn’t quite picture the Glass Castle… how does that work exactly? Everything is made of glass? So couldn’t everyone see everyone all the time? And in one scene, Cain is super fast and beats Celaena, but the next time she sees him she’s faster? Also, the clocktower’s placement confused me. How was it in the middle of the fighting ring? That makes no sense.
As for the love triangle and secondary characters, I was not a fan of the pseudo-love triangle between Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian (especially since SO MUCH TIME was wasted on it, for nothing). She’s a super strong independent woman (sort of) but yet she’s, at times, boy crazy and wishy-washy about both of these guys.
On their own, I really liked Chaol and found him to be the most realistic character, though I wished for more backstory and for his character to be more fleshed out and dynamic… though I did find it slightly hard to believe he was the Captain of the Guard so young and without killing anyone. I was not a fan of Dorian, I found him arrogant and stereotypical and a waste of Celaena’s time. Then there were the other women. Nehemia, I really liked, and I’m hoping to see more of this relationship in the next book; as for Kaltain, I felt really sorry for her, but she was interesting to read. Elena just confused me, but I suppose that was the point.
I’ve heard the second book gets better, so I’m hoping some of these things clear up.