In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
Hey everyone! Time to sell my soul to yet another series! I have heard nothing but good things about “Throne of Glass”, so I figured it was about time to actually read it, starting with “Throne of Glass” As far as I know this is an ongoing series, with the fourth book coming out in the Fall, and there are three books currently out, and as it does seem like the kind of fantasy series where you really have to commit and read at least two of the books before you can make a judgement, I promised myself going in that I would also read “Crown of Midnight” so I’ll probably end up reading all three of these books in rapid succession. Especially since I really liked the first one!
So you know you’re in for an intense ride when there’s a map in the front of the book and a pronunciation guide in the back, so I was already anticipating that this book was going to take serious commitment, and to be honest It actually did take me a little while to get into this one. It’s the first in a series, so there was a lot of exposition and a few slower parts, but like I said, it’s the kind of book where you really have to dedicate yourself, and it totally pays off. I realized I was invested about a quarter of the way through, somewhere around where the trials started, and it really was worth it, because I am completely addicted to the series now.
SPOILERS FOR “THRONE OF GLASS” BEYOND THIS POINT
So the book starts and we’re introduced to our protagonist, Celaena, and from her first lines I’m already thinking “Oh my god, YES, she’s a snarky, arrogant little s***”. For some reason I have such a thing for characters with a high level of sass, and Celaena was a perfect example. Oh my god, Celaena Sardothien is literally my queen. She is so skilled and experienced and hardcore, and she has this really interesting depth to her character. Like you can tell she’s been entirely shaped by her training as an assassin and has literally gone through hell in Endovier, and it does show at various points, but at the same time she’s still so strong and observant and confident in herself and through the whole book you really want to know more about her as a person and her backstory. I know I’m not all that great at explaining, but she was just such a good protagonist. And she loved reading, I love when the characters I’m reading about are also book nerds!
So Celaena is this world’s most famous assassin, but before the events of the book she was caught and sent to work in these salt mines called Endovier, but after a year she’s summoned by the land’s prince who tells her his father is having a competition to find his personal assassin, and that if she serves as his champion and wins she will serve the king for four years, and will then be allowed to go free. From there on there’s a few different things going on, mainly Celaena training and competing in the competition’s trials, the relationships she forms with the people in the king’s castle, and figuring out who was murdering the competitors when some of them are found dead.
The actual trials weren’t really what I expected. I initially thought they were going to be these big, epic Triwizard Tournament or “Ember in the Ashes” type events, but they were actually more practical things like archery or detecting poisons, which probably did make more sense in context. My favorite one was probably when they had to climb up the wall on the castle, and Celaena and Nox were working together and it was just a really great action scene!
There is also definitely a love triangle forming here, and I have absolutely no idea what I ship. Seriously, not since “The Infernal Devices” have I had such complete confliction in regards to a love triangle. Like on one hand we have Chaol, the Captain of the Guard tasked with training Celaena for the competition. Chaol starts out as very serious and professional, but through this book we start seeing this other side of him where he’s extremely devoted and loyal, and that he even has a sense of humor. (I’ve actually seen him compared to Four from “Divergent” a lot, and I can definitely see it.) There was also this great kind of mutual respect that slowly developed between him and Celaena after a while. He’s one of the first people to actually treat her like a person and not as something to be feared or defeated, and I can see them having a really great slow-build relationship.
And then we have Dorian, the prince who chooses Celaena as his champion for the competition. Oh my god, I have no idea how Dorian turned out the way he did after being raised by the king, but I developed such an attachment to him. Initially he comes off as very flirtatious but in reality he’s a total sweetheart who genuinely does care about Celaena. You can really tell that he sees everything wrong with his father’s way of ruling, and wants to find a way to speak against him, but he feels powerless against him, and I really hope that in the next few books he’s able to find some way to act for himself and stand against the king. Plus the banter between him and Celaena was absolutely beautiful, and added some great humor to the story. I feel like they would be a really good match for each other intellectually. And he was also a book nerd, so that’s also a plus!
So yeah, I have no idea whatsoever what to ship.
On another note, I absolutely loved Princess Nehemia. I don’t know if this is just my musical-obsessed mind talking, but I was getting these kind of “Aida”-ish vibes from her, like she represents these horribly oppressed people and she just wants to free her country and will do anything for her people. I really liked how it mentioned that she was known for helping the rebels in Eyllwe, and she’s sort of become this symbol of hope for her people, and she’s taking so many risks by secretly going against the king. I can just see her becoming this great political force, and she was such a good friend for Celaena, and overall I just really liked her character.
Her use of magic was pretty interesting too. Through the book I was wondering about the limitations and availability of magic in this world, like before Eyllwe was conquered was magic only used by the royalty, or was it commonplace and used by everyone? I’m pretty sure it was only certain people who could use magic, and seeing Nehemia use it to help Celaena was really cool. I hope we learn more about the extent of magic in this world throughout the series, and what happened to make the king outlaw it entirely (Aside from a power trip or something).
Speaking of which, I also really need to know more about the tomb and Queen Elena. I feel like this could be a really interesting history and I hope we learn more about her and Gavin and how prevalent magic used to be in this world and I feel like we’ll get some really cool world-building throughout the series.
Anyway, then we had the other characters. I definitely need to know what was up with Kaltain. She was having these headaches through the whole book, and it could be the opium, but I think there was something about the king and Duke Parrington controlling her. And Duke Parrington was so horrible to her! I know she went along with some awful stuff and she wasn’t the nicest person, but it was such a jerk move to throw her under the bus he did, especially with the possible controlling thing. I feel kind of bad for her, and I’m really worried for her in the next book.
I’m also worried about Nox. I really liked his friendship with Celaena, and I’m glad that he survived and escaped the castle, and I know he had immunity and all, but is he a fugitive now? Like were they allowed to leave during the competition? I just hope nothing bad happens to him.
I also just have to say real fast that Philippa was amazing. She’s this wonderful mother-type character, and you can tell that she fears nothing, not even the world’s most infamous assassin. I don’t know, she was just completely awesome.
Then we had the antagonists. We haven’t seen much of the king yet, but I can already tell that I’m going to despise him. From what we’ve seen of the treatment of conquered territories he seems like a horribly cruel leader, and it’s probably just going to get worse as the series goes on.
And then we had Cain. I actually didn’t think that Cain was the one committing the murders. It really seemed way too obvious since he was already established as a villain and all. I really figured out it was him when Celaena was reading the book on Wyrdmarks and it mentioned the spell for taking other’s strength, and I figured that Cain was killing the other competitors for the spell, and that’s why he was so invincible through the whole thing. I guess that it was so obvious that I didn’t suspect him, and it became a plot twist, if that makes any sense.
Anyway, towards the end of the book Celaena makes it to the end of the competition and we the final duels. Celaena’s fight with Grave was the literally the greatest thing. Like he’s being a sexist butthead and Celaena just instantly takes him down with a staff and says this epic quote:
“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.”
And I am just like “YES! YOU GO CELAENA!” and it was all so awesome and amazing!
BUT THEN the last fight with Cain was so stressful to read. It just kept going and Celaena was suffering so much and I was getting so worried for her and at points I had no idea what was going on it was all just insanity and oh my god then Nehemia and Elena got involved with the magic and everything got so amazing and epic, and it was such a good climax.
So Celaena is the king’s champion now, so we’ll see where that goes in the next book. This is definitely going to be one of those series where I slowly get more and more attached to the characters as it goes along, so there’s probably a lot of wonderful emotional pain to look forward to! Seriously, I need to know how Celaena deals with working for the king, and how Chaol copes with killing Cain since it really seemed to affect him, and what happens with Celaena and Dorian after they broke off their relationship, and just more of Nehemia in general. I honestly just want some kind of prequel with Celaena working as an assassin and N helping the rebels from Eyllwe and Chaol and Dorian’s pre-series friendship. I’ve heard that the prequel novellas in “The Assassin’s Blade” cover some of that, so maybe I’ll read that when I get a chance.
Well there’s my thoughts on “Throne of Glass”! I already started reading “Crown of Midnight”, and I’m pretty invested, so I’ll talk about that next time! Thanks for reading!