This was my first time rereading Throne of Glass. I enjoyed it, but I’m hoping that the next books in the series (the ones I haven’t read) are better.
Series: Throne of Glass book 1
Amazon description of Throne of Glass:
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.
First off–Can we talk about the cover? The first time I read the book, I read it on my Kindle (which I never use anymore) and it had the cover that’s on the right. It doesn’t fit the book in any particular way, but I’ve come to expect ambiguous picture-of-random-girl covers from YA books. I actually kind of like the first cover. However, the new cover (the one I have in paperback) really annoys me. It completely contradicts the mood/tone of the book and makes the novel seem sci-fi instead of fantasy.
Ok–rant over. Back to the actual review. (By the way, I’m trying out a new way of reviewing. I tried it with Jackaby and liked it, so I’m going to see if it works with other books.)
I liked her. She’s strong and sassy. Her self-confidence and accompanying self-doubt felt relatable and real. I liked the way her past influenced her character (though it is clear there is a lot we still don’t know about her backstory). I felt connected her emotions (especially when she saw the king–that was so powerful). All in all, Celaena was a very successful protagonist who drew me into the story.
Love Interests and the Romance
I liked both of the love interests in this book, and the love triangle didn’t bother me (as some do). Crown Prince Dorian is flirty, a fun character to read. I actually liked his reputation as a player. It added another layer to what threatens to be a stereotypical character, and kept him from being overly likable to the reader. His serious moments worked with his character, and the depth of his feelings for Celaena came across well. He really reminded me of Prince Max from The Selection; I actually found myself confusing the two books a little (mixing up scenes I remembered from one book with the other).
I liked Chaol more. His dynamic with Celaena was complicated in a good way. Their interactions were less flirty but felt more real, and the progression of their relationship was paced well (her relationship with the Crown Prince seemed a bit all-of-the-sudden). His friendship with the Crown Prince was extremely interesting and added complexity to the love triangle. Chaol’s character also came across very real, but I hope his character gets fleshed out more in later books.
The king wasn’t exactly a character, but his presence dramatically influenced the book. I loved Celaena’s reaction to him; it helped show off her inner fears and strength at the same time. Dorian’s reaction to his father was less specific, and I hope it is explained more thoroughly in later books.
I liked Princess Nehemia. She added complexity to the book and drew the rebel angle into the main plot. Her friendship with Celaena was good. However, the fantasy elements surrounding Nehemia felt a little off.
The fantasy elements of this book felt a little unfinished, like the author couldn’t quite decide what she wanted to do with them. In the beginning of the book, it seemed as if the fantasy elements were going to be very slight, but by the end, they were extremely important. Not that this kind of change is always bad, but the transition felt a little unfocused. Another thing that will hopefully get clearer in the rest of the series.
Plot (the competition)
I liked the competition. It showed off Celaena’s abilities and moved other subplots along. The other competitors were rather flat characters, but Celaena’s relationship with Cain definitely affected the book in a positive way.
The writing in Throne of Glass is good. I started forgetting that it was written in third person–Celaena’s voice was so well written, it felt like first person. I liked how the story subtly shifted what perspective it was told from. Getting parts of the story told from Chaol’s and Dorian’s perspectives definitely helped the reader understand and care about their character.