Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Probably a book that’ll end up on the list of my favourite books of 2022!

Themes: YA fantasy

The synopsis

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

The review

I am not surprised I loved this book since I already loved Crescent City when I read it last year. This book has all the elements I enjoy and especially the figure of the assassin.

First, I want to address a criticism I saw about Maas’ writing. Even if it’s clearly not Shakespeare (and that is not what I am asking for) and there are authors that have a much more elaborate style, it is not poorly written either and the style is good enough for making me forget that I am reading.

Now about the book itself. I really liked the balance between Celaena’s role as the best assassin in the country and her age. Her character is logical, with a morally grey part but also a more young, naive one (remember she is just 18). It makes her evolution all the more interesting, from being just the young assassin to an efficient one learning to trust people. I admit I am biased about this character since she is exactly the type I enjoy with a sassy and humorous personality who does not hesitate to take the lead and move the action forward.

Concerning the other characters, I found the female ones much more developed. To be honest, Chaol and Dorian (the heroes) have just enough details to differentiate them as the moody, serious one (Chaol) and evaporate-but-with-a-profound-side (Dorian). And all that for the sake of the love triangle that will probably be happening in the next volume. I have the same criticism for the antagonists, that are a bit too cliché at the moment. I hope we will have real, complex villains in the next books.

I also loved discovering the world in this book, even if we are still at its early stage since the majority of the action is taking place in the castle. I am expecting a lot more discoveries in the rest of the series since Celaena will surely travel for her missions. I would not mind if we had a bit more court life in the next volume too.

In brief: An excellent book for the fans of Sarah J. Maas or of YA fantasy. I am very intrigued by the characters and the world, and cannot wait to discover more about the magic that has been forbidden by the current emperor!

My rating: 4/5

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