Throne of Glass – A Non-Traditional Prince, A Pair of Badass Girls

Book Review: Throne of Glass – A Non-Traditional Prince, A Pair of Badass Girls

Celaena Sardothien is the most infamous assassin in Adarlan. Thanks to a series of unfortunate events, she’s been slaving away in the salt mines of Endovier for the last year.

That is until the Crown Prince of Adarlan needs her to compete in the King’s upcoming competition. Prince Dorian makes Celaena the offer of a lifetime. If she wins the competition, she’ll become the Kings Champion and in four years be free to do whatever she wants with the rest of her life.

Celaena’s never known freedom. After all, you don’t become an assassin with a reputation like hers if you have any real say in the matter. And for someone like her, opportunities like this won’t come again. She has this one chance to fight for her freedom and her life. If she loses she’ll get sent back to Endovier, a fate as good as death. She may have survived once but she won’t survive a second time.

Read Assassin’s Blade First

I’m the type of reader who needs to care about the characters first in order to enjoy a story. Once an author has managed to get me invested into the fate of their characters, they can throw pretty much any plot device at me. The only real requisite I have is that it falls in line with the scope of the character.

I’m glad I read Assassin’s Blade, the prequel novella to Throne of Glass. The novella gave me a clearer and more genuine insight of Celaena’s character and I think if I hadn’t read the prequel stories I would have missed out on the depth of her character.

Without any prior knowledge of who Celaena is or what her background was like she can come off as flippant, arrogant and self absorbed. However, she is far more than any of that beneath the surface. That’s not to say she isn’t any of those things though. She is definitely arrogant. And I totally love that about her. She is damn good at what she does and she knows it. What’s wrong with being confident, right?

To really enjoy Throne of Glass, I recommend reading Assassin’s Blade first. It’s a quick read since it’s comprised of four short stories that set us up for how Celaena ends up in the salt mines of Endovier in the first place, some much needed backstory, in my opinion.

A Non-Traditional View of Princes

At first, I couldn’t stand Prince Dorian. He seemed dreamy, pompous, condescending, womanizing, and shallow. Basically, I thought Dorian was a hyper-pigmented version of the prince trope in general.

As time progressed, the depths of his character unfolded and I realized the brilliance of what Maas was doing.

Whilst Dorian thought he was doing Celaena the favor by choosing her to compete for the Champion slot, little did he know just how much his relationship with her would challenge his growth as a man.

As the story progresses Dorian’s perspective only gets deeper and richer. His transparency during times of doubt and fear shows that even Princes need saving sometimes.

I liked that his character shows us his vulnerability, proving that even when a man is vulnerable and admits he has weaknesses, the act of doing so does not make him any less of a man, rather admitting both makes him more of one.

As a general rule, I love when an author uses their characters and their stories to make a statement about something larger that I can get on board with. However, I don’t believe authors should intentionally try to insert social issues into their books for the sake of doing so, just because that’s the trend.


Badass Girls are Badass

Being badass is more than just knowing how to wield a pair of daggers. To me, being badass is about having a wit just as sharp as those daggers strapped to your thighs.

We already know Celaena is badass. I mean, physically she’s badass because she’s the most infamous assassin in Adarlan at the age of seventeen. But what makes Celaena really badass to me is her incredible strength of spirit.

Celaena has endured so many horrors in her short life and yet she still manages to face the world with a spine made of steel and fire in her heart. My favorite moments of Celaena are when she lets her guard down and when she is vulnerable.

Being badass doesn’t mean you’re heartless or physically indestructible. Being badass means you know how to pick yourself up off the ground when you keep getting knocked down.

And trust me, Celaena knows a thing or two about being knocked down.

Our other badass is Nehemia, the Princess of Eyllwe who ends up befriending Celaena. Badasses of a feather flock together. Wait… that’s not the saying.

Nehemia is smart, she is witty and she most certainly doesn’t take orders from anyone. A suspected rebel sympathizer, she’s a fighter at heart and a fierce protector of her people. She’s also deeply loyal to those she cares for.

Nowhere in that description of her do I describe her pulling punches or knocking people’s heads together, but that doesn’t make Nehemia any less badass.

Badass is a mental state. It’s a way of self-perception. A true badass takes a stand for others and for themselves.

In small acts of rebellion, Nehemia shows the King of Adarlan that while he is the ruler of Adarlan, and quite likely will soon be the ruler of the whole Empire, he does not lord over her. Now that is badass.

The Art of Balancing Fine World-building with Everything Else that Goes Into Telling A Story

I’m the type of reader that has a tendency to skim over too many world-building details. However the facets of Maas’ world that she presented were so vibrant and unique that I couldn’t help but be intrigued and pay attention. I loved the depth of detail that Maas underwent in order to create the rich atmosphere of Adarlan.

As much as I adored the characters and world building for this book, I struggled to return to the story due to the slow pacing. The plot focuses on two main points and for me those devices just weren’t enough to maintain my interest and keep me highly engaged. I was definitely interested. There was certainly tension and danger, but there just wasn’t enough of it to keep me catapulted from chapter to chapter. For this reason, this was a much slower read for me.

But you know what? It’s hard to balance everything into one story. Something will always give. You can’t have excellent characters who grow into something more by the end of a story, who stand for something larger than themselves than when they started and a world so intricate that only a sliver gets to be shown or else you lose people like me who don’t need all those details to enjoy a book…and expect the pacing to be breakneck, not that you’d even want it to…

Overall, Throne of Glass is an excellent read. I’d highly recommend this book and the prequel novella to someone looking for a new high fantasy series that features non-traditional characters and badass female leads.

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Publish Date: August 2nd 2012
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

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What stands out for you most when you read high fantasy? Is it the incredible characters or the intense world-building?

Keep Reading and Keep Writing,


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16 thoughts on “Throne of Glass – A Non-Traditional Prince, A Pair of Badass Girls

  1. Good to hear that you recommend the novella (?) prequel prior to starting the series. I love how you have a section that features the use of “badass” and reinforce the term several times LOL. I’m sure if someone searches up “badass throne of glass” this will be a top link. I hope I do feel the mood bug to start this series within the year since everyone (and I mean everyone!) seems to really enjoy this series and/or Maas’ writing by proxy.

    1. I like starting series from the absolute beginning if I can. (Not really the reason why it takes me so long to start series sometimes but tends to work out in my favor). So yes, read the prequel novella before starting ToG #1. It really established character, which I think is necessary for someone like Celaeana. I love her, but to her credit, she’s not your standard issue vanilla “likable” character.
      The concept of the badass is something that I feel strongly about. I’m planning at least two discussions on it. I won’t complain one bit if I get hits for it ;-P

  2. I need combination of both – incredible characters and intense world-building – to truly fall in love with fantasy novel. Only one aspect is not enough to completely win me over.
    And I plan to read this series once it is completed. And thanks for advice about reading Assassin’s Blade first! I have been wondering whther to read it or not for some time!

    1. Maas definitely has both, amazing characters and beautiful world-building!!
      I don’t blame you for waiting until completion, I like being able to gobble down series too sometimes. (I did this with the Infernal Devices, though I wish it had gone on forever, lol!)
      Oh yes! Definitely read Assassin’s Blade first! I’m so glad I could recommend it to you! ^.^

  3. I absolutely love the Throne of Glass series. I read the books in the order they came out (and only had to wait a short three months for Queen of Shadows, book 4, to come out). I love your review over the book and I’ll agree with you it took a while to get through Throne of Glass, but I still loved it when I finished it. Personally I liked reading Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight before reading Assassin’s Blade because you got to know more about the current Celaena before finding out about her past. It also made everything with Sam feel so much worse. I’d also recommend A Court of Thrones and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. It’s just as beautiful as her other books and set sort of in the same word.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! I do love Throne of Glass, Celaena is one of my favorite characters of all time, I adore her “fight-back” personality!
      I was absolutely horrified by the whole Sam thing in Assasin’s Blade. I kid you not, I cried profusely, had to put the book down and turned to my husband for a hug because the feels were too high! Lol. So I totally cannot imagine reading CoM then AB, I think I might have died, >.<! And I look forward to reading ACoTaR! With the sequel coming out soon I want to jump on the bandwagon, but I'm trying to slow the pace with which I devour books and focus on finishing my manuscript (kinda sort of working, hehe). Anyway, thanks again for your comment! I hope so see you around!

  4. Whoohoo! I love this series so much. The first book was a 4 star for me, too, and I had an issue with Dorian because WOMANIZERS ARE SO MUCH NOPE. I had a few other issues with the book, too, but they were minor. The rest I LOVED. And the series KEEPS GETTING MORE AND MORE AMAZING AND WOWOWOW. I can’t wait to read your reviews of the rest of the series! ❤

    1. Sierra!!! Ahh ^.^ you’re sooo amazing for jumping over here and showering me with comment love!!! ❤
      Dorian definitely grew on me. He was so many levels of NO at first. I just can't do the womanizer thing. BUT, I was surprised by the fact that I ended up liking him. Plus, it was sort of a bonus for me at the end when C basically ends things with him. I was sort of snidely satisfied by that. Lol. My BFF is a HUGE fan of the series too and tells me the same, that the books just keep getting better and better! I can't wait to read them and hopefully produce good reviews. I've been having trouble with inspo lately. (sad face)

      1. aawwwww OF COURSE! I wanted to earlier but was on my phone and I HATE leaving comments from my phone. For some reason I just can’t get it together LOL

        Your blog is LOVELY, btw! ❤

        And yes, I agree. Womanizers usually irk me to no end. But yes, Dorian is now one of my favorite characters! Something happened with him toward the end of Crown of Midnight that just aaagh and then HEIR OF FIRE RUINED ME FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER. *ahem* *composes self*

        I really can't wait to see what you think as you read the rest! I'm jealous you get to read them again for the first time! :O


      2. I just melted. You think my blog is lovely!! Thank you!!! ^.^

        I’ve been browsing all over yours and OMG I want to be your biggest fan. (*rolls eyes bc pretty sure that spot is already taken, kicks foot like a petulant overgrown child in dirt*) BUT BUT BUT your books sound AMAZING sauce. Like I want to read NOW!!! You’re blog is sooooooo inspiring too!!! OMG, I’ve been feeling in such a rut lately and everything everything about your blog inspires me! Your tone, your personality. AHHH (fangirl mode commencing, watch out) Lol.


        I’m dying. Like. What. Thank you so so so much!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ I'M SO EXCITED YOU THINK MY BOOKS SOUND AMAZING AAAAGH!! ❤ One day, hopefully soon, they will be on the shelves. And I might need another new beta reader one day…might you be interested??? 😀

        Seriously, you saying that I inspire you, my tone/personality on the blog, just boosts my confidence for the weeks to come. Querying is terrifying but my confidence in this book (THE COLOR PROJECT) getting picked up grows with every person who says they're interested! Thank you thank you!!

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