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 three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. 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.
Before reading Throne of Glass, I highly recommend reading the prequel novellas (which are wonderful!) as they’re referenced throughout the book and will give you a greater appreciation and understanding of Celaena’s character.
Celaena is easily one of my favourite female protagonists. As Adarlan’s assassin, she is strong, sarcastic, willful, and can easily plan a successful escape or murder without a second thought. However, she’s also incredibly vain, loves to dress up and attend parties, and is a voracious reader. This contradiction of sorts underscores one of my favourite points, that being feminine doesn’t make you weak, and made me love Celaena even more.
Following the current trend in YA books, there is a love triangle in Throne of Glass featuring Chaol, the stoic Captain of the Guard, and the flirtatious Crown Prince Dorian. Normally I dislike love triangles, but this case proved to be an exception. Both Chaol and Dorian are loyal companions with likeable qualities who are determined to see Celaena emerge victorious in the competition. The third-person narrative shifts between Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian’s perspectives, allowing us to objectively see the romance from all sides and giving us a better understanding of their personalities and motivations. (That being said, I do have my favourite love interest, though I won’t mention who, so hopefully the odds will be in my favour on that count).
Alongside the action-filled contest to find the King’s Champion, mentions of magic, the Fae, murder, court politics and empire building helped create a gripping plot filled with mystery and intrigue. My only complaint is that there were many points where the events of the competition were glossed over in favour of scenes that involved either the love triangle or Celaena reading in the library; it would have been nice to see more of her skills as opposed to just hearing about them.
Overall, I really enjoyed Throne of Glass, and will be waiting (not so) patiently for Crown of Midnight to be released.