Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
the first book in the Throne of Glass series
published on January 1, 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s
fantasy | romance
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.
Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
You’ve all probably already heard of this one. It’s been compared to beautifully written novels such as The Hunger Games, Poison Study and Game of Thrones--but for me, the most accurate comparison would be The Selection by Kiera Cass. Neither novels are particularly bad, but there was just something off about both of them that made me want to tear my hair out of my head. It might be the heroines, the boring writing (in the case of Throne of Glass), or un-swoon-worthy males. Let’s dive into those, shall we?
The plot: In Throne of Glass, Calaena is called to the castle to be part of a competition to win the title of King’s Champion. She gets pampered 24/7 in between Tests, and of course she makes enemies of basically everyone else in the competition, except for one. Her trainer is the Captain of the Guard, who’s reluctant to show his feelings, but did when the end of the novel drew near. And it was the least subtle thing in the world. But then, who’s she not to fall for the gorgeous, captivating (*insert eye roll here*) Crown Prince?
By this point, bells should be ringing in your head if you’ve read The Selection. The only difference is that Calaena’s an assassin. And that the competition’s not about marriage but about power.
There was too much romance in this one. I expected a book revolving around gruesome deaths and more action–not how Calaena liked it when Dorian visited her room at night. There was a decent amount of murder (and it was graphic–yay!), but the romance still dominated most of the novel, in my personal opinion. There were also little political aspects here and there.
The heroine: Calaena’s described as the best assassin there is, which I did not find her to be. Sure, she pretty much spent a lot of time in the worst death camp there is and survived, but once at the castle, I pictured her as a princess more than an assassin. Her character was too perfect: she was the “best” assassin, she was pretty and attracted men’s attention, and she could practice magic. This kind of causes the plot and twists to be sort of predictable. News flash, Calaena: I’m not looking for perfection. I just want a decent heroine who can fight for herself.
The romance: This book wouldn’t be what it is without the love triangle between the prince, the assassin and the guard. The prince was the most forward with his feelings, while the guard kept to himself until the end. I’m actually on Team Both Teams Suck (but on a serious note, I’d prefer Chaol only by a little bit).
Dorian, the prince… Sweet mercy, he was so boring. I could not feel the attraction between him and Calaena. They talk back at each other one minute and are flirting in the next! Personally, Dorian seemed like he didn’t have any personality like a certain someone (that’s right: I’m talking to you, Maxon) and I’m happy with every scene that doesn’t have him in it.
Then we have Chaol, the guard. He was a rock. He didn’t show much emotions, but when he did, it irritated me. I think it’s because he felt like he was higher than Calaena just because he’s Captain of the Guard. Fancy.
The writing: The writing was okay, but there were little scenes where I felt like falling asleep.
Overall, Throne of Glass did not meet my expectations. The irritating romance basically masked the parts that I would’ve enjoyed (such as the gruesome murder, the action sequences, etc), but I do still think that this author has plenty of potential and that hopefully, the series gets better as it progresses. For fans of The Selection.
Have you read this book? If you have, what did you think of it? If you haven’t, will you be getting it once it hits the shelves?