Celaena Sardothien is an assassin. After spending a year in a prison camp, the crown prince, Dorian, has a deal for her. Compete to be the king's champion; if she wins, she'll be given her freedom and her name cleared after serving the king for four years.
It feels like its been too long since I've read a book I could truly give five stars. Lots of four stars but its been over a month since I've found something worthy of my Marry Poppins Award.
Throne of Glass wasn't what I expected. I didn't expect the novel to remain within a castle. I loved that. There's something I find really appealing about books with this type of setting. Throne of Glass has a collection of every element that maximizes the enjoyment you can find in a castle setting. Miss Maas deliciously includes the politics, distrust, brutality, and drama that you don't typically see together all at once even though they're what make this setting so appealing. Or, at least, I've never seen them mixed all in the same book before, not like this.
I think what impressed me the most was the main character herself though. Probably about a hundred pages into the book I figured that we had seen pretty much every aspect of her personality. But seeing more of Celaena unfold was unexpected and truly wonderfully.
She starts off as this young, hardened assassin who has just spent a year in a very brutal prison camp/mine. Even though I felt like I shouldn't be rooting for her because she's an assassin, I found that I couldn't stop myself. As the story goes on, pieces of her past reveal themselves through various means and we get to see why she became an assassin. We see how she can be both brutal and kind. I'm hesitant to say that I wish more had been revealed about her past for two reasons.
Reason number one: Celaena obviously has a brutal past herself and if the execution (when revealing it all) isn't handled correctly then I'm afraid it'll diminish her character. I don't want the revelation of some wound to make her less of an assassin.
Reason number two: While I definitely want to know more about her past, I think Miss Maas revealed just the right amount in her first novel. Miss Maas, I applaud you. The balance between Celaena's reluctance to speak about her past and the moments when she did was perfect.
Dorian was not my favorite character. He didn't annoy me but I didn't particularly enjoy his relationship with Celaena. Don't get me wrong, it was sweet and I think he has helped her heal a little. But quite honestly, Dorian seems a bit wimpy. It looks like that's changing but he just gets on my nerves a sometimes.
Chaol on the other hand is...I don't even know. He distrusts Celaena for most of the book which is only realistic. They were both so mean to each other sometimes. But there was always a layer of respect underneath it all. Of course, Chaol's reluctance to really acknowledge Celaena has anything but a ruthless assassin, made those moments when he did that much sweeter.
As far as plot goes, I was kind of surprised when magic was brought into the story. It certainly added an interesting layer to the entire world Miss Maas has built and I'm curious to see how the Wyrd marks continue to affect the series. The magic and Wyrd marks didn't dominate the plot though, which was nice. I thoroughly enjoyed the competition between the criminals competing to be the king's champion and seeing Celaena retaliate with some of them... Oh man, I was sitting on my bed just going, "Yes! Get him!" She held back, which was smart but it killed her, so when she finally unleashed herself in those very quick moments, I was totally rooting for her.
Throne of Glass wasn't everything I expected but I enjoyed it just as much as I thought I would.