“Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas
5 out of 5 stars.
After being a slave in Endovier’s salt mines for a year, Celaena Sardothien is commanded to stand before the Crown Prince of Adralan who has come to offer her a surprising deal. If she travels with him to Rifthold, Celaena will act as his Champion and compete against other assassins in a series of challenges to gain the position of Adarlan’s royal assassin, and should she succeed, Celaena will be granted her freedom after a handful of years in service to the King of Adarlan. But if she should choose to refuse the Prince Dorian’s generous offer, then she will be sent directly back to Endovier to serve in the salt mines for the rest of her life. As repulsive as the Crown Prince’s offer is to her, Celaena chooses to swallow her pride with the knowledge that she can, will, survive the coming trials as the prince’s Champion and gain the freedom she craves.
Once Celaena arrives in Rifthold, she encounters some of the other Champions who are also attempting to claim the title of the King’s Assassin. Celaena’s competitors come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from boys to seasoned warriors, and she begins to wonder if she can really win the coveted position of royal assassin that will one day buy her freedom, or if Celaena Sadorthien isn’t as good an assassin as she once was. Pushing her doubts aside as much as she can, Celaena tries to adapt to life at court and finds some unexpected companionship with Prince Dorian and the mysterious princess from Eyllwe. Even her gruff trainer, Chaol, starts to grow on her despite her greatest efforts to not care for anyone in Rifthold.
But before Celaena can get settled in her new position at court as Dorian’s Champion, the other competitors start getting targeted by something sinister within the great glass castle of Rifthold, and one after another, they are ending up dead. With not only her freedom on the line in this competition, Celaena has to race against the clock to figure out who, or what, is killing the other Champions before she becomes its next victim.
I love “Throne of Glass.” I read it for the first time nearly three years ago, and I had loved it then, but somehow, reading it this last summer made me fall even more in love with “Throne of Glass” and its characters. Sarah J. Maas is a fantastic author and her worlds and the plots of each of her series are all phenomenal, but what I admire the most about her as an author is how diverse and unique her characters always are. I’ve read all of the books that she has written (minus the “Throne of Glass” novellas), and so far there hasn’t been a character who has felt like a repeat; for having so many books written with such a wide range of personalities, that is quite a feat in itself! I really enjoy the fact that each of her books always comes with an original cast of characters who pop off of the pages, and although I liked a lot of characters in “Throne of Glass,” one in particular captured my heart…
Dorian Havilliard, my love! I will sink in his SHIP if it comes to that because of how much I love this character.
Dorian was my favorite character because of the heart he brought to this story, his sincerity, and, of course, his cheekiness. I was impressed with how much depth he had for a character who didn’t get as much page time as the others, and Dorian just completely won me over while I read “Throne of Glass” for the first time, and reading it again this summer only made me love him more! This male character was swoon inducing for just the pure fact that he was Dorian, all of his good-lookingness aside, and I loved that he and Celaena bonded over literature. I mean, come on, he practically gave her a library, which made my inner Disney fangirl scream, “BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.” Yeah, this Disney girl heartily approves of characters who bond over the written word.
Another thing that I really like about Dorian was that he was such an aware character. He was watchful and not blind to the things happening within the walls of his home even though his father would have preferred him to be, and he genuinely cared about people despite the indifferent front he would sometimes hide behind. There was a really great moment in “Throne of Glass” where you get to see Dorian feeling the full weight of everything involving Celaena and the people of his father’s kingdom came crashing down on him, and even though he shouldn’t have cared because it didn’t affect him directly, he felt it all so deeply. I loved Dorian so much, and he was without a doubt my favorite character in this book.
Celaena was also a really good character, and although she was intense and abrasive, she grew on me as the book progressed. I cared for her a lot as a heroine, and I think that she became a little less abrasive and showed more kindness towards certain people by the end of “Throne of Glass.” I will say, though, that the moments that really impressed me concerning her character were the ones when she was with Dorian. Celaena and Dorian had a couple of really sweet moments that endeared both characters to me; those parts of this book showed a softening in Celaena’s hard, protective shell and helped me to see the broken girl who had lost everything and had to harden her heart against the world to survive it. Maybe I’m biased because Dorian was in those scenes, but for me they were the moments when I got see the Celaena who had emotional depth beyond anger and who could be a good friend. I liked Celaena as a female character on her own and enjoyed seeing her interact with other characters like Nehemia, but my favorite exchanges were between her and Dorian.
I absolutely loved Dorian and Celaena together in “Throne of Glass,” and although I can’t see Sarah J. Maas writing this series with them ending up together, I will SHIP them together forever.
I loved them together, and I enjoyed the fact that they were enemies who became friends before they ever turned into something more. I wish that Sarah J. Maas would write Celaena and Dorian a (fairly) happily ever after, but even if she doesn’t, I shall shamelessly SHIP this couple to the “Throne of Glass” series’s end.
One character, though, that I REALLY disliked in “Throne of Glass” was Chaol Westfall. What is it with people and their love of Chaol and why do they feel so attached to him? Chaol, for me, was a complete flat-liner of a character. I felt nothing for him in “Throne of Glass,” and my dislike for him has carried itself into the other two books in this series. He brooded most of this book away, and there was not really anything for me to grow attached to in this character. There were a couple of scenes between Chaol and Dorian where I could see the history they had, and those moments almost made me like Chaol, but then I remembered that he was trying to take Celaena away from Dorian. I thought that was a really underhanded thing to do to a friend, especially since Chaol had disliked Celaena so much to start with and claimed to be such a great and faithful friend to Dorian.
I understand that Sarah J. Maas was probably trying to write a male character who needed to grow and whose perspective needed to change a bit concerning his initial judgment of Celaena, but even after reading the books that follow “Throne of Glass,” I didn’t see much growth in a positive direction on his part. I don’t understand what people feel drawn towards in this character, and as much as I wish I understood his appeal (even if I didn’t end up sharing it), I just don’t get it!