Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Author: Sarah J. Maas
In Throne of Glass, the first book in the Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas we get to meet some of the other key characters to the rest of the series including Prince Dorian Havilliard and the Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall. Celeana, who we first meet in the prequel, Assassin’s Blade, proves her skill and reinforces the attitude of an arrogant, sassy teenager that we grew to love in the prequel. She has endured a year of slavery in a death camp where most prisoners succumb within a month of being sent there, a feat that is shocking unto itself, but while there she also nearly escaped which we learn very early on in the book.
In this novel, we get to experience more of the fae universe that has been created by the author, Sarah J. Maas. We learn more about how magic left the realm and Celeana is forced to face old magic that has remained and poses a grave threat to her and her competition while she fights for her freedom under Prince Dorian.
I highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys fantasy and action. It also features an enemies to lovers romance that was very sweet, if brief. Read the rest of the Throne of Glass Series: Assassin's Blade, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn, Kingdom of Ash.
SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT
The book begins after Celaena has endured a year of brutal slavery at the whim of the King of Adarlan who has stolen everything Celaena loved and only gave her her life as another form of torment. It is in Endovier that we meet two key characters, Dorian, the Crown Prince of Adarlan, and Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard. Two of Celaena’s mortal enemies, but also the two people that offer her the key to her future. Prince Dorian arrives in Endovier with the sole purpose of locating Celaena and bartering her freedom in exchange for being his choice in a competition to become the King’s Champion, his personal assassin. During the competition, she grows close to both Chaol and Dorian who both lack the darkness and maleficence that the King carries around him like a cloak and dagger. It is easy to see that they both have been led to believe that the people who are kept as slaves are criminals and murderers and not innocent people defending their families from the onslaught of Adarlan’s conquest.
During the competition, Celaena begins a romantic relationship with Prince Dorian. She certainly liked him but he fell in love with her while she was still lost in the grief from her previous love, Sam, who died just before her enslavement. When she ends things at the end of this novel, Dorian understands and tries to move on. Celaena and Dorian become close friends and I find myself hoping that as I progress through the series that they will both survive and rule alongside one another even if not as romantic partners. Celaena also becomes close with the Princess Nehemia of Eyllwe, who is there to barter with the King of Adarlan for better conditions for her people who the Adarlan empire has conquered.
During the competition to become the King’s Champion Celaena is forced to hide her identity and calls herself Lillian Gordana, a jewel thief from Bell Haven. This is because Chaol and the Prince have taken it as part of their strategy to make her seem like less of a threat to the other competitors so that they might underestimate her come to the final test. Her biggest competition is Cain, a demi-fae (though his power is useless in this magic bound world and unknown to the other competitors) from the Whitefang mountains. He is the champion of Duke Perrington, a member of the King’s council who wears a black ring given to him by the King and seems to be cloaked in darkness.
The competitors begin to be murdered by a mysterious beast that is feasting on them and Celaena is trying to learn about mysterious symbols that she sees around the clocktower in the garden and around the dead bodies that Nehemia tells her are wyrdmarks. She learns that they are old magic, something that wasn’t banished with the rest of the magic a decade earlier. Celaena thinks that perhaps Nehemia is the one murdering competitors and that her next target might be Chaol or Dorian so she attends a ball to protect them. She soon learns that it was Cain, who also wears a black ring now when she discovers him calling a demon from an alternate dimension and he sicks the demon on her. The Ridderak, as it’s called, chases her and she manages to kill it with an ancient sword in the tomb of the first King and Queen down in the catacombs, but not before being bitten by the deadly thing. She stumbles back to her room and Nehemia uses her knowledge of the wyrdmarks to heal her. Cain has been using the deaths of the other competitors to increase his own power.
During the last test, Celaena defeats Grave easily, moving on to her final competition against Cain. Duke Perrington manipulated Kaltain Rompier into poisoning Celaena so that Cain can defeat her and he nearly does. It is when the poison is at its highest and Celaena is hallucinating and seeing the other realm that Queen Elena, the first queen, descends and banishes the poison from her system while defending her from the demons. Cain had been using this time to boast about his prowess, but without the poison in her system, Celaena is able to defeat him and win the competition. Cain tries to stab her in the back after she has won but Chaol sees him and stabs him in the heart. Celaena is then the King’s Champion, for better or worse.
After the brutal betrayal’s by people she trusted in Assassin’s Blade it isn’t difficult to understand how Celaena found herself questioning the loyalty of her friends, but she still risked her life to protect them and they did the same for her. At the end of this book, I found myself wishing that they could stab the King and the Prince could ascend to the throne, marry Celaena, and end the conquest from the Adarlan empire. I have a feeling that these characters will not last very long though after reading the prequel, Assassin’s Blade, which makes me want to read the next book and equally wary of reading it because I’m not ready for the deaths of any of these characters. I also suspect that Celaena has magic that is locked away becomes of the King’s unknown curse and that soon new fantasy elements will be revealed.