Age Group: YA
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Pub Date: August 2012
I had mixed feelings coming into Throne of Glass, mostly because I had been hearing a lot of different opinions about it. My conclusion is: I totally get why people love or hate it, and I really can’t decide how I feel.
Celaena Sardothien is an assassin in slavery until the Crown Prince, Dorian, pulls her out to become his champion in a competition held by his father to find the new royal assassin. Along the way, she is trained by the handsome Captain of Guard, Chaol, whilst trying to fit into the royal court. Yes, it’s a little ridiculous, but sometimes you have to shove away logic and sit back and enjoy the ride.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the love triangle. Shockingly, I am not opposed to love triangles, as over-used as they are, as long as they are done well and this wasn’t the worst one I’ve read. I liked both of the male characters, and it wasn’t blatantly obvious which one Celaena was going to pick, so my issue wasn’t with the triangle itself, but more with the number of clichés used. Up-close-and-personal-training, masquerade balls, childhood-friends-turned-love-rivals… Do I need to go on? I quickly stopped reading this as a fantasy book with a healthy dollop of romance, but as a romance with a fantasy background. Which is fine, as long as the writer knows what she’s writing.
I found both the plot and writing jumpy. It felt like Maas couldn’t decide if she wanted to write a riveting romance or an action novel, and the book wasn’t long enough to accommodate both. I found the stark contrast between cute and real romance, and grisly murders really bizarre. And the writing was painful to read. It was melodramatic, over-written, and sometimes made no sense. “Her blood grew warm and glittering” is an example of the problems I had.
Once I got past the writing and accepted the crazy premises, I actually enjoyed reading the book. I really loved the characters: Dorian was fun and Chaol serious, but most importantly both seemed like they had some depth to them. As for Celaena? I liked her character, but I didn’t feel like it fitted with her story. She was cool, witty, confident, and smart, but she didn’t strike me as an assassin. As much as I liked this version of Celaena, I wanted her to be darker and grittier, as the only way I kept on remembering that she was an assassin was because everyone kept on saying it.
Throne of Glass was a guilty pleasure for me. It was good in a bad way, and I understand why so many people love it. Despite it all, I found it really addictive and fun to read. However, if you’re looking for a more meaningful read about a teenage assassin, I would look elsewhere.
Sum It Up: Romantic fantasy, which is at sometimes a bit contrived and far-fetched, but really fun to read.