Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Publication date: August 2nd 2012
My rating: 5 stars
“Courage of the heart is very rare... let it guide you”
It takes a lot for me to rate a book 5 stars these days, when I first started reviewing I remember I used to easily give every single book I loved 5 stars. But now over the last year or so I’ve found a book has to do so much more in order for me to rate it 5 stars. Take this year for example, three of my most memorable reads and which have easily become my all times favourites are Hunting Lila, Divergent and This is not a Test. I devoured these amazing books in just a few days, they are books which had me hooked in the first few pages, books which I couldn’t get enough of, that they had me up in the middle of the night thinking about them and for days afterwards. Throne of Glass made me feel all of the above and so much more that I am confident to say it could be my favourite of the year.
When I first heard about Throne of Glass, I admit I fobbed it off, I didn’t think it was my type of book, but then as these awesome reviews started trickling in, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy, they made me realise how much epicness I was missing out on.
Celaena Sardothien is an assassin at only 18 years old, she is one of the best around, but eventually she was finally captured, after someone ratted her out she was sent to Endovier prison, one of the harshest prisons around. Celaena stuck it out for a year until Captain Chaol Westfall captain of the guard and Dorian Havilliard crown prince of Adarlan turn up out of the blue with an offer she can’t refuse; she’s invited to take part in a competition with 23 other competitors, it will be a fierce competition and the winner will have to work for the king of Adarlan and then will be granted their freedom. Celaena comes up with the compromise that she will work for the king for four years, dealing with anything the king feels suffice. However to get to the final stages of the competition where there will be a dual between the last five remaining competitors Celaena will have to work for it, she will have to complete vigorous training and tests in 13 weeks. There however are major stipulations which must be adhered to as well the tough schedule; if a person ends up last in a test, they will be automatically eliminated and sent back to whichever hell-hole they were originally sprung from. (Celaena’s option back to Endovier). And if anyone tries to escape at any point in the competition then they will be killed. Celaena is given a difficult decision to make, but she knows her answer immediately, she wants her freedom, needs her freedom even if she has to work four years for it.
I loved this entire concept, of Celaena having to battle her way through to become the winner. What made the concept more interesting was that she had to take on a different identity, Chaol and Dorian didn’t want any of the competitors to know how much of a threat she could actually be. This miffed Celaena very much, but she had to agree that they knew what they were talking about, at least this way she would have the upper hand over her competitors. Also the fact that all the other competitors were male made it even more interesting as they would assume that she was weak and pathetic with her fake identity.
Celaena was one hell of a character; she was kick ass, intelligent, beautiful, but in no way cocky about it. I adored her snarky humour, as she always had an answer for everything. However despite the tough exterior she displayed, she also had a tender more fragile side too. In the back of her mind she was always worried that she would fail at some test and be sent back to Endovier. Celaena was an amazing heroine, however I was hoping to learn more about her before she became this big time assassin, we were given brief snippets into her life before, which seemed quite dark and achy, it certainly had my interest piqued, I’m hoping we will get to know her character and back story a little bit more in any future follow ups.
Dorian and Chaol; I originally started liking Dorian, he was a charmer, had a reputation with the ladies and of course he was the prince. He had a loveable rogueness about him, which I adored. Then there was Chaol captain of the guard, I wouldn’t say there was a love triangle as such, but two awesome male leads that were hugely likeable, that by the end I was completely torn about who I preferred more. Chaol was a lot more reserved than Dorian, he never gave too much away of how he was feeling, but I also loved his quick temperament, like Celaena he could come back with awesome one liners, and the time he and Celaena spent together training I extremely looked forward to just for the banter back and forth between them.
“Where are you going?
To rest my limbs and my lungs
yes well hopefully you’ll read something of quality before I see you again.
He sniffed the air as he walked out of the room. Hopefully you’ll
have a bath before I see you again”
An added bonus in this story is that we are treated with the occasional alternative pov’s from Chaol and Dorian, which I immensely enjoyed; they provided great, but brief insights into their characters.
I’m glad to say the secondary characters were also an integral part of the story, I find that I enjoy a story much more when the secondary characters provide so much to the plot instead of flitting in the background. Individually they provided several additional storylines around the main competition, from arrogant competitor Cain, to the irksome Lady Kaltain, the unreadable princess Nehemia and adorable Nox.
I could probably harp on about this book for ever, how the world building was immense, how Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian snuck their way to my heart and will leave an ingrained imprint, how at times it had me so fired up, but then at other times it had me jittery with nerves, how no matter how hard I tried to savour this beautiful book a little bit at a time and drag it out as much as possible, it still left me wanting so much more. All that I can suggest is that everyone should pre-order their copies right away, I have done so and I know I will be recommending this book to everyone.
Throne of Glass was truly a spectacular debut read, this epic book has made me realise that I will never be hesitant again in picking up a book by Sarah J. Maas.
A big thank you to Sam for lending me her copy.