I actually found this review of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass quite difficult to write. It tells the story of assassin turned prisoner Celaena and her participation in the competition to become the King’s Champion. I LOVED the book and got caught up in the story and characters. However this made it rather tricky to analyse why I liked it so much and what made it work. Nevertheless I’ll give it a go.
What I liked
The characters. I found our protagonist Celaena Sardothien very engaging and fun to follow. She is strong-willed, smart, resourceful – and very funny. It’s clear her experiences in the prison of Endovier have left their mark on her, both physically and emotionally. Maas did however add in a few quirks to keep her real. I liked that she wasn’t immediately up to full physical strength after her imprisonment and had to balance physical weakness with smarts. The fact that she was terrified to stand on the glass in the glass castle was interesting.
The setting. Now, I am a person who has a stronger affinity with words than with pictures, but I loved the mental picture that Maas conjured of the glass castle at Rifthold. I really wish I could visit it. I liked that the fantastical aspect of the story was kept pretty low key. The magic is more Game of Thrones than Harry Potter.
The love triangle. Again this was very low key. Unusually, both love interests seemed valid partners for Celaena – often it’s clear which one is the “right” one. That’s not true in this case. I look forward to seeing how both relationships develop in future books.
The pacing. The plot is pretty straightforward with few subplots or diversions. Maas keeps it moving along at a good pace, with always a reason to keep turning the page.
What I didn’t like
The only thing I might have to say negatively about Throne of Glass is that the King seems somewhat of a moustache twirling villain. I like my villains to be more subtle.
I gave Throne of Glass five stars out of five and look forward to reading the sequel, Crown of Midnight.