Updated: Jan 24, 2021
Throne of Glass
by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury
Book 1 in the Throne of Glass Series
"Nothing is a coincidence. Everything has a purpose. You were meant to come to this castle, just as you were meant to be an assassin."
When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King's Champion and be released from prison.
Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.
And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she'd have again: a friend.
But something evil dwells in the castle—and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival—and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world
RATED: 13+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas is the first book in her Throne of Glass series, and it mostly centers around Celaena Sardothien, the world's most notorious assassin, who is pulled out of her imprisonment at the salt mines by Prince Dorian, and the Captain of the Guard, Chaol, to compete as Dorian's champion to win back her freedom, at the price of having to work for his father, the King, for 4 years. While competing against other assassins, thief's, murderers, and even the king's own soldiers, she develops bonds with the prince, and Chaol, as well as a Princess, who will stop at nothing for her people. As she continues throughout the competition, a mystery is brewing. Someone is picking off champions one by one brutally, and leaving weird symbols behind. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes the next victim?
So, this is the second series I have started to read by Sarah J. Maas. I am kinda obsessed with the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, and many Sarah J. Maas fans love and recommend the Throne of Glass series, so I was excited to pick this book up.
My excitement was squashed.
How is it that the author who wrote A Court of Thorns and Roses, wrote this? HOW?!?
Okay, let's start with what I did like. I liked the premise of the story. The story itself held a lot of promise, which is one of reasons why I finished the book. I like the idea of a young woman being a famous assassin, being strong, and intelligent, and talented. Of course, many authors have established this in female characters without making them a killer, but being an assassin makes Celaena stand out. I also kind of liked the characters. I didn't love any of them though.
When it comes to character growth, there wasn't any. Not really. And there were many things I didn't like about the characters in this book (which I will get into below). I don't even really prefer one love interest over the other. I found Throne of Glass very lacking, and I felt as if it was written by someone young (which, as I now know, was in fact, written when Sarah J. Maas was 16). Plot points were thrown at you, and not artfully woven in the story, and many things went unexplained. I realize this is a series, but a reader should have some basic understanding of the world, and the characters in the story.
So. Characters. I like Celaena, but I don't love her. I do love that she is a strong female character. Kick ass. Smart and witty. While being an assassin, she enjoys embracing her feminine side, with a love of pretty clothes and shoes. I like this. She isn't being shoved in a tomboy roll, just because of what she was groomed to do. But there wasn't anything that pulled me in and made me love her. I found myself not caring most of the time. Her breaking up with Dorian at the end of the book because it would be inappropriate for the Kings Champion to be with the Prince ... huh? So it was okay when she was still a prisoner/slave/competitor, but suddenly, when she knows she will be staying, and has secured her freedom, it's not? To me, this is just a way to put Dorian to the side so she can mack on Chaol and not seem like a jerk in the next book. And it was so out of the blue! Some build up would have been nice.
Dorian was okay. Really, there wasn't a whole lot of growth for him, either. We learn he wants to be better, which, I'm thankful for. It gives him the potential for growth. Fear of his father seems to be what stops him. Otherwise, we learn he is womanizing, refuses to marry for anything but love (which, I love), and is a reader, not a fighter. His standing by during the duel was irritating, which he at least acknowledges, and dislikes about himself.. Chaol was okay as well. He takes his job seriously, and while distrustful of Celaena because of her past, despite it, he starts to like her. Trust her by the end. Chaol is really the only character who gets to know her in the months she is competing, by training with her, and even having lunch with her. And while he also stood by in the duel, he at least got close to the arena and encouraged her to get up and fight.
We get some side characters. Princess Nehemia, who is very much like Celaena (besides the killing). I understand their friendship with one another, even if I don't particularly like Nehemia. While she participates in the story, there isn't anything that makes her stand out to me. A carbon copy of Celaena. Kaltain, I feel like, didn't need to be in the story. The only purpose she serves is a reminder that Dorian is a Prince that is expected to marry, and that there are those who will scheme their way to the crown. I guess she is also a tool for the duke and the king to use too.
In the end, I was left with so many questions. There is OBVIOUSLY a big plot point missing here regarding Celaena. Her secret past before being found orphaned and trained as an assassin. There are hints. I have some theories. (Highlight to see my theory)----->I think Celaena is half-fae, and part of Elena's royal bloodline. Elena mentioned blood bonds, and Nehemia saying magic calls to magic makes me think this. I think Celaena KNOWS this, and keeps it hidden to protect herself.<------) But I feel like this is something that should be revealed to the readers in this first book. A first book in a series is set up for the whole thing. How is it that after a whole book, we still don't know Celaena. That was just one of the things I disliked. There was a lack of originality (a bit too much like Hunger Games, with a bit of Game of Thrones like political maneuvering), the story had promise, but wasn't gripping, the characters are meh, and there isn't a whole lot of consistency. While I don't really recommend this book, I AM going to continue with the series. Why? Sarah Maas fans insist that the story gets amazing after book 2, and after reading A Crown of Thorns and Roses, I am holding out hope that her growth as a writer shows throughout the series. With so much love for the series, it must get better. So let's see, shall we?
Celaena's freedom from the mines
Celaena's and Dorian's letters to each other about use of the library
Chaol and Celaena sparring
Chaol giving Celaena the amethyst ring
Dorian and Celaena playing pool
Celaena sparring with Verin and winning easily
Chaol trusting Celaena enough to bring her to see the body of a victim
Dorian listening to Celaena play
Chaol and Dorian's very different responses to Celaena's pain from her cycle
The Yulemas ball
Celaena winning despite the obstacles
Where to Buy
Throne of Glass Box Set (Chapters/Indigo)
Dorian: "My father needs someone to aid the empire - someone to help him maneuver around difficult people."
Celaena: "You mean he needs a lackey for his dirty work."
Dorian: "If you want to put it that bluntly, then, yes. His Champion would keep his opponents quiet."
Celaena: "As quiet as the grave."
A smile tugged on Dorian's lips, but he kept his face straight.
Chaol: "I wonder what your father will think of her."
Dorian: "Oh, he'll be fine - until she opens her mouth. Then the bellowing and the blustering will begin, and I'll regret wasting the past two months tracking her down."
King: "Perrington tells me that you behaved yourself well on this trip."
Dorian: "With Perrington as a watchdog, I couldn't do otherwise."
King: "I'll not have some peasant woman banging on the gate, wailing that you've broken her heart. I've toiled too hard and long to establish my empire; you will not complicate it with illegitimate heirs. Marry a proper woman, then dally as you will after you give me a grandson or two. When you are king, you will understand consequences."
Dorian: "When I'm king, I won't declare control over Terrasen through thin claims of inheritance."
King: "Even if you offered them self-rule, those rebels would mount your head on a pike before the gates of Orynth."
Dorian: "Perhaps alongside all my illegitimate heirs, if I'm so fortunate."
It has come to my attention that your library isn't a library but rather a personal collection for only you and your esteemed father to enjoy. As many of your million books seem to be present and underused, I must beg you to grant me permission to borrow a few so that they might receive the attention they deserve, Since I am deprived of company and entertainment, this act of kindness is the least someone of your importance could deign to bestow upon a lowly, miserable wretch such as I.
Yours most truly,
My Most True Assassin,
Enclosed are seven books from my personal library that I have recently read and enjoyed immensely. You are, of course, free to read as many of the books in the castle library as you wish, but I command you to read these first so that we might discuss them. I promise they are not dull, for I am not one inclined to sit through pages of nonsense and bloated speech, though perhaps you enjoy works and authors who think very highly of themselves.
Chaol: "It isn't your place to write to the Crown Prince."
She gave him a simpering smile and took a bite of ham.
Celaena: "He could have ignored the letter. And besides, I'm his Champion. Not everyone feels obligated to be as nasty to me as you do."
Chaol: "You're an assassin."
Celaena: "If I say I'm a jewel thief, will you treat me with more courtesy? Don't answer that."
Celaena: "Thank you so much for interfering on my behalf."
Chaol: "You don't need me to rescue you."
Celaena: "It still would have been nice."
Chaol: "You can fight your own battles."
Chaol: "Something to remember when fighting me, Sardothien."
She grunted, lunging to deflect his newest attack.
Chaol: "I don't lose."
He grinned at her, and before she could comprehend the words, something cut into her feet and -
She had the sickening feeling of falling. She gasped as her spine collided with marble, the rapier flying from her hand. Chaol pointed his blade at her heart.
Chaol: "I win."
She pushed herself onto her elbows
Celaena: "You had to resort to tripping me. That's hardly winning at all."
Chaol: "I'm not the one with the sword at my heart."
Chaol chucked at her agitation and pointed his sword at the rack, allowing her to get to her feet.
Chaol: "Pick another - something different. Make it interesting, too. Something that will make me sweat, please."
Celaena: "You'll be sweating when I skin you alive and squish your eyeballs beneath my feet."
Chaol: "That's the spirit."
She lifted her head to give him a withering glare, but everything spun, dragging her down with it, and she retched again.
Chaol: "I told you not to eat before we left."
Celaena: "Are you done being smug?"
Chaol: "Are you done vomiting your guts up?"
Celaena: "For the time being. Perhaps I won't be so courteous next time, and I'll just vomit all over you instead."
Chaol: "If you can catch me."
Celaena: "Aren't you afraid of me? Or are you as deft at handling your sword as Captain Westfall?"
He stepped closer, tightening his grip.
Dorian: "I will not spar with the princess."
Celaena: "Would you rather spar with me?"
Dorian: "Perhaps if we had a private lesson in your chambers. Tonight."
Celaena: "I'll be waiting."
She curled her hair around a finger.
Celaena: "As my friend, you should rather bring me along, or keep me company."
Celaena: "Well, 'scowling escort' is a better description. Or 'reluctant acquaintance.' if you prefer."
Elena: "Courage of the heart is very rare. Let it guide you."
Chaol: "Can I be honest with you?"
Chaol leaned closer, and Celaena leaned to meet him as he whispered
Chaol: "You sound like a raving lunatic."
Dorian: "Are you planning on biting the cue again? Because if you are, I'd like to invite the court painter so I can forever remember the sight."
Celaena: "Don't you dare mock me!"
Dorian: "Don't be so serious. You're immensely entertaining when you're hopping mad."
Verin: "Let's see what you've got."
She stalked toward him, keeping her sword sheathed at her side. Verin's grin widened as he lifted his blade.
He swung, but Celaena struck, ramming her fist into his arm, sending the blade soaring through the air. In the same breath, her palm hit his left arm, knocking it aide too. As he staggered back, her leg came up, and Verin's eyes bulged as her foot slammed into his chest. The kick sent him flying, and his body crunched as it hit the floor and slid out of the ring, instantly eliminating him. The hall was utterly silent.
Celaena: "Mock me again, and I'll do that with my sword the next time."
She turned from him, and found Brullo's face slack
Celaena: "Here's a lesson for you, Weapons Master. Give me real men to fight. Then maybe I'll bother trying."
Celaena: "Here I am. Just a little lapdog."
Cain: "All I hear is yapping."
Celaena: "Let's see if you still hear yapping when I win this competition."
Celaena: "Why are you so disheveled? Has Kaltain been clawing at you?"
Dorian: "Kaltain? Thankfully, not recently. But what a miserable day it was! The pups are mutts, and -"
He put his head in his hands.
Dorian: "One of my bitches gave birth to a litter of mongrels. Before, they were too young to tell. But now ... Well, I'd hoped for purebreds."
Celaena: "Are we speaking of dogs or of women?"
Dorian: "Which would you prefer?"
He gave her an impish grin.
Celaena: "Oh, hush up."
Dorian: "Why do you like music so much?"
She made a face
Celaena: "You said nothing sensitive!"
Dorian: "Is it that prying? How different is that from asking why you like to read?"
Celaena: "No, no. That question is fine. I like music, because when I hear it, I ... I lose myself within myself, if that makes sense. I become empty and full all at once, and I can feel the whole earth roiling around me. When I play, I'm not ... for once, I'm not destroying. I'm creating. I used to want to be a healer. Back when I was ... Back before this became my profession, when I was almost too young to remember, I wanted to be a healer. Music reminds me of that feeling."
Dorian: "I'm not married, because I can't stomach the idea of marrying a woman inferior to me in mind and spirit. It would mean the death of my soul."
Celaena: "What if you're ordered to marry for the sake of alliance? Would you start a war because of your romantic ideals?"
Dorian: "It's not like that."
Celaena: "Oh? Your father wouldn't command you to marry some princess in order to strengthen his empire?"
Dorian: "My father has an army to do that for him."
Celaena: "You could easily love some woman on the side. Marriage doesn't mean you can't love other people."
His sapphire eyes flashed.
Dorian: "You marry the person you love - and none other."
Dorian: "Perhaps I'll see you later tonight."
Celaena: "If you're lucky."
Celaena: "Go away. I feel like dying."
Dorian: "No fair maiden should die alone. Shall I read to you in your final moments? What story would you like?"
Celaena: "How about the story of the idiotic prince who won't leave the assassin alone?"
Dorian: "Oh! I love that story! It has such a happy ending, too - why, the assassin was really feigning her illness in order to get the prince's attention! Who would have guessed it? Such a clever girl. And the bedroom scene is so lovely - it's worth reading through all of their ceaseless banter."
Dorian: "It's Dorian, but the way. Not 'Your Highness.'"
Celaena: "Very well."
Dorian: "Say it."
Celaena: "Say what?"
Dorian: "Say my name. Say, 'Very well, Dorian."
She rolled her eyes
Celaena: "If it pleases Your Magnanimous Holiness, I shall call you by your first name."
Dorian: " 'Magnanimous Holiness'? Oh, I like that one."
Celaena: "Are you my present, or is there something in that basket at your feet?"
Dorian: "If you'd like to unwrap me, we still have an hour until the temple service."
Celaena: "Would you like to dance with me?"
Chaol: "With you? No."
She looked at the marble floor, her chest tight.
Celaena: "You needn't be so cruel."
Chaol: "Cruel? Celaena, Perrington is just over there. I'm sure he's not happy about you being here, so I wouldn't risk drawing his attention any more than necessary."
Chaol's eyes softened.
Chaol: "If he weren't here, I would have said yes."
Chaol: "Do I have to remind you who you are?"
Celaena: "No. You remind me every day."
Celaena: "My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name's Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I'd still beat you, no matter what you call me."
She smiled at him as she stood. He just stared up at her, his bloody nose leaking down the side of his cheek. She took the handkerchief from her pocket and dropped it on his chest.
Celaena: "You can keep that."
Celaena: "No matter what happens, I want to thank you."
Chaol: "For what?"
Celaena: "For making my freedom mean something."
Check out the rest of the Throne of Glass below!