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,