- Page Count: 404
- Release Date: August 7, 2012
- My Rating: 3.5 stars
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 four 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.
Let me first say the Throne of Glass series is one of my absolute FAVORITES of all time. But I cannot deny that this first book is pretty shaky. If you’re just starting this series, hang in there: it gets better.
The sheer scope of the worldbuilding in this series is phenomenal, so check it out if you like fantasy. I really can’t think of many other worlds I love this much… I mean, there are demon kings, Fae, witches & wyverns, pirate lords, princes, kingdoms & castles, magic, spirits with cryptic advice, swords & battles, ancient prophecies, politics, well-developed history & religion, multiple complex villains, and it spans all of these continents and cultures.
This book starts with Celaena being a prisoner in the death camp/salt mine of Endovier. The Crown Prince Dorian, Captain of the Guard Chaol, and a couple other characters who will matter later all arrive at Endovier to retrieve Celaena for a competition to be the King’s Champion. It has a Hunger Games feel to it as all of the assassins train with various weapons and slowly get eliminated. But then tons of awesome stuff with Wyrdmarks and portals and Fae history gets woven in and the competition becomes even more threatening… but this stuff is explained way better later. Like the whole “evil” plot in this book is barely touched on here compared to the sequels. It’s just a shadow of the amazing tangled mess it turns into eventually.
The rougher writing style in this book was a bit hard for me to get through (all of the exclamations! ugh). The plot here is also more simplistic, but I still pushed through and actually read the whole thing this time because it sets up the wonderful world & characters I grew to love.
So when I first read Throne of Glass a few years ago I gave it 2 stars because I was expecting some badass assassin but then thought I got a snarky immature mean girl who’s obsessed with dresses and boys. I really couldn’t stand her. (But, that also kind of shows how amazing these books are if I could later come to connect so much with a character I have very little in common with).
The reader is mostly told over and over that Celaena is this amazing assassin who could skin someone without a blade. But all I really saw was some arrogant girl whose main focus was how much she wanted to kiss the prince. And if she’s the “world’s greatest assassin,” would she seriously eat several pounds of candy someone just left anonymously in her room?! I was so annoyed with her that I initially ended up skimming most of the first book. I threw it aside and didn’t pick up the sequel for another few years (worst choice ever).
BUT I read this book waaaay differently the second time after I read The Assassin’s Blade and the rest of the series and saw everything Celaena went through before she went to Endovier. Like I mostly wanted to hug her instead of punch her this time through when I understood her better. I love these characters SO much later on, but they’re just not fully themselves yet. (Except Chaol pretty much is).
Things I liked both times I read this book:
– Celaena has the confidence to know she’s attractive and own it — you don’t see a lot of cocky, secure female MCs.
– CHAOL. Chaol is totally the best part of this book.
– The story actually addresses the fact that Celaena WILL get her period while going about her badass assassin life and that will complicate things. Thank you.
– The love triangle in this book is kind of whatever… but I will go down defending SJM’s choices between the second and third books.
I know some people recommend reading the The Assassin’s Blade first… I think I wouldn’t have cared as much about the characters in those novellas if I hadn’t read the main books first, but I also think the novellas might help with enduring Celaena in this book.
Oh, and I totally love the parallels between all of SJM’s characters and worlds. (Like Celaena in Heir of Fire and Feyre in ACOMAF are so wonderfully similar). Quotes like “Lady Lillian belongs to herself and no one else,” “the stars who gazed back,” and “if they tried to take her from him, he’d rip the world apart with his bare hands” made me smile.
Basically this is a fun story, but it could be way better executed and absolutely pales in comparison with the sequels! This is a series people either love or hate with a burning passion… I really haven’t seen any neutral opinions. Everyone seems to make up their mind at the end of the second book, so just hang in there until that point! Pretty much all of my complaints with this book were gone in the second one. And Celaena turns into one of my absolute favorite characters in the third book!