My rating: 5/5
After reading this fantasy series for a third time I can honestly say that it is one of my favourite books.
Any avid reader would agree that it is difficult to pick a ‘favourite book’ because immediately at least 5 books spring to mind. But this book made it to my metaphorical top 5.
Throne of Glass:
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 Celaena 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 four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. 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.
I would recommend this book to anyone. If you like fantasy, sci-fi, and even historical fiction, you will find a lot of love for this book. There is a strong main character, castles, noblemen, lots of fighting, a little bit of magic, and even a few frightening moments. I find that often people will judge a book by its cover… but this book, like most books is very much like a TARDIS (any Doctor Who fans?), it’s bigger on the inside. This book contains a whole world tucked away between its pages.
For those of you who have read Throne of Glass, and loved it as much as i did, here’s a detailed book review.
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD
Celaena is a strong independent female who quickly became one of my favourite characters. The cherry on top, she’s regal and rough, not caring what other people think about her. It often surprised me whenever she mentioned her age because this Femme Fatale has been through a boat load in her mere 18 years of life. When we first meet Celaena, she is caked in dirt and as skinny as a rake, I admired her for being able to last so long in the harsh conditions of the Endovier mines. She is a realistic character who has doubts and thoughts just as any normal person, she is not idealized and unrealistically perfect. She carries a weight that we see when she refers to her past, whether it be her childhood in Terrasen or her years of being an assassin under Arobynn. There is one scene that really stuck with me, she is speaking about the time she tried to escape Endovier, she had thought about it, planned it and knew that she would never get over the wall alive. It was almost as if she had given up but she got through it, and kept herself strong long enough for Dorian to get her out of Endovier.
Celaena has a brilliant mind, but there were a few moments where I found that her training as an assassin let her down. Often she doesn’t hear things (like men coming into her bedroom and watching her sleep) but I’ll forgive her that little detail. I guess she can’t always be 100% vigilant, especially if she’s asleep, or partially asleep because much like myself she sometimes takes a long time to actually wake up in the mornings.We find that Celaena become protective of those she starts to care for, an exciting scene is when she saves one of the other champions, Nox. They are scaling the side of a building and even though she knew it was a stupid move, she still decided to save him from falling to his death. Although people always assume she has to be heartless to be an assassin, here we see she does have a regard for life.
I love the fact that Celaena is quite a reader, she’s always falling asleep with books scattered all over the room and the bed. She also often refers to the libraries of Orynth. Where I can imagine any book lover would be in paradise. I can just picture her lying on her massive bed with her little companion, Fleetfoot, always being a comforting presence for Celaena.
It’s not difficult to understand why I have a soft spot for the Crown Prince. Handsome, playful and surprisingly has a great depth to him that I loved discovering with Celaena. Most people who first meet him assume he is simply another snobby courtier, who constantly flirts with woman. Although he is fearful of his brute of a father, choosing Celaena as his champion to fight in the competition was a small rebellious move by Dorian. I also do love Dorian and Celaena’s little night-time visits, playing billiards, reading together, or simply sitting and talking. A scene jumps to mind, when Dorian is standing by Celaena’s door watching her play the piano. It always seems so serene when two characters are so at peace in between all the action of the book.
Dorian’s best friend, Captain Westfall took me by surprise, he is extremely untrusting of Celaena straight from their first encounter. He watches her intently wondering how long it will be before she tries to escape, or kills someone. Unlike Dorian, Chaol is vigilant of Caleana, never underestimating her ability to kill a man with her bare hands. Then he starts to change, we see a glimmer of jealousy in his eyes when he looks at her but Chaol being the typical martyr, he would never act on his deep feelings for the lovely Celaena. I always did looked forward to Chaol and Celaena’s training scenes. We have an attractive Captain and a hard-headed assassin, one who can’t help notice the Captains clinging shirt and defined muscles.
A character who also surprised me was Princess Nehemia the princess of Eyllwe. I adored her as a character. Every time she appears in a scene we sense her strength and determination. She can fight and she has a brilliant mind, very much reminiscent of an Egyptian Goddess or a Persian Princess.
We also have the infuriating and cryptic Queen Elena Havilliard, the First Queen of Adarlan. Elena was determined for Celaena to know that she also fought in the war, right beside Gavin. She also went to the battlefields and fought her enemies. I believed she was telling Celaena this so that she would not to give up, she wanted Celaena to take strength from the idea that the Queen had also fought her own battles. However cryptic she would be, I always did think Elena and Gavin’s crypt was such a beautiful place.
My favourite scene is such a small little scene, hardly packed with action but it’s when Dorian leaves a bag of sweets for Celaena. She wakes up, and doesn’t even give herself time to breathe before she is stuffing the sweets in her mouth. It reminded me that Celaena had to grow up too quickly. She has a big smile and bright blue teeth, the scene is just so peaceful and happy. She has Fleetfoot to lick up all the sugar and Phillipa to lovingly scold her.
Of course one of the major scenes in the book is the final competition, where Celaena has to fight Cain. The scene had me on the edge of my seat, frustrated, almost screaming out loud for Celaena to get up. I must say I was expecting Kaltain to do something to jeopardise Celaena, and with direction from Duke Perrington, Kaltain poisons her. We could see towards the end of the book that Kaltain is affected by the dark magic Perrington uses on her. Although she is a loathsome character, I still had a tiny speck of sympathy for her. When Nehemia see’s something is wrong, she comes to the rescue, summoning Elena to help take the poison from Celaena’s body. After Celaena defeats Cain, the King gives Cain a small nod. A gesture which made my blood run cold because this could not be the moment our beloved Celaena dies. The vigilant Chaol see’s Cain’s intention to kill Celaena, and comes to the rescue, killing Cain first. After this dramatic scene, the first book in the series ends with a safe Celaena, The King’s Champion, signing her contract. Only 4 years left before she has her freedom.
There are a several moments in this book where there is foreshadowing and clues of major plot twists in the later books. I won’t spoil them for you but if you’re reading the book for the second time, you will jump up and down in your seat realising the true brilliance of Sarah J. Maas.
“We all bear scars, mine just happen to be more visible than most.” – Celaena Sardothien