TITLE: Throne of Glass
AUTHOR: Sarah J. Maas
SERIES: Throne of Glass #1
PAGES: 416 (Hardcover)
Though I never got to witness the Fiction Press excitement around this book myself, I can see why Throne of Glass gained such a following with its readers. Adventurous, compelling and romantic, this is one debut novel that definitely lives up to my expectations.
Being Adarlan’s most infamous assassin finally caught up with Celaena Sardothien, and after a mysterious betrayal enabled her capture at the hands of the king she was sent to the brutal salt mines in Endovier for over a year. Scarred, starved and overworked, when Crown Prince Dorian presents her with an opportunity for escape she grasps at it with both hands. The catch: she must compete with over twenty men for the title of the king’s champion, though as contestants begin to show up murdered Celaena fears that she may not live long enough to earn the freedom she so desperately craves.
Celaena was not quite what I was expecting when I came into this book. She was strong, deadly and intelligent; but also quite vain and surprisingly witty when bantering with the males in this novel. One thing Maas excels at is the strong representation of not one, but two of her female characters. Whilst Celaena is our main focus it would be hard to forget Nehemia, a rebellious young woman severely underestimated by everyone at court. The friendship that blossomed between the two young women was genuine, and I can only hope that she remains a fixture in the next novel in the series.
When discussing the book with my peers the one thing that seems to attract most people to it is the description, and I will be the first to admit that for me it was exactly the same. In reality the plot almost, almost, lived up to everything I could hope for, yet I found it to be a smidgen on the wrong side of predictable. Though I commend the author’s attempts at cultivating red herrings I am disappointed to say that I’d worked out the mystery killer barely halfway into the book, and found it frustrating when Celaena and Chaol were floundering around on a wild goose chase. However, I should add that I still found the novel very entertaining, and was not tempted to stop reading just because I might have worked a few things out.
Now we come to the real issue, the dreaded Love Triangle of Doom (insert dramatic music here). It wasn’t that I particularly disliked one of the love interests over the other; it was just that there appeared to be only one realistic choice. Dorian and Celaena’s relationship felt over-clichéd and contrived, whereas her interactions with Chaol were deeper and allowed for the building of a true connection. Something that particularly irritated me was that Dorian visited her maybe once every two weeks, yet she was still hopelessly attracted to him and left in a severe state of swoon when they parted. Chaol, however, was reliable and unfailing, and I can only hope that Celaena will come to her senses in future novels.
A well-deserved 4 stars, Throne of Glass is an outstanding debut novel that I recommend to any YA or fantasy lover. I, among many others, cannot wait to read the sequel when it releases, and feel that with a starting book such as this the series can only get better!