Review: Throne of Glass

This post will include my review of the book Throne of Glass. The first in a series by Sarah J. Maas, published in May 2013.

The text below is taken from the blurb on the back of the book.


MEET CELAENA SARDOTHIEN. BEAUTIFUL. DEADLY. DESTINED FOR GREATNESS.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament – fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

I picked this book up because of the cover. I am a bit of a sucker when it comes to assassin stories and as soon as I saw that word on the front along with the cool picture I was at the counter buying the book without even looking at the blurb on the back. When I got home and read the back of the book I began to worry that perhaps I’d made a very serious mistake.

Would her assassin’s heart be melted?

What kind of book was this? A love story? A version of Twilight with assassins and magic in place of vampires and werewolves? Thankfully it proved to be neither of those things.

Don’t get me wrong there is a very definite love story here, well the beginnings of one anyway, but it isn’t what dominated the story. The story really did centre around the tournament, and also a series of unexplained deaths among the competitors. The romance didn’t drive the plot. There was enough world building and character development in here to keep me interested, and I genuinely did want to see how things panned out for not only Celaena, but also for Captain Westfall and the Prince. The other characters were interesting too, but many of them didn’t really go anywhere (most of the competitors in the tournament were little more than names) so there was no sense of menace or threat whenever an interaction took place.

I do realise that I am not in this books target demographic, so please bare that in mind when I discuss what I didn’t like so much. My biggest issue stems from the fact that I cannot accept that an 18yo who just spent a year in a slave camp could be the best warrior, the most nimble thief, and the shrewdest woman at court. For me that required too great a suspension of disbelief. Natural talent coupled with years of training is one thing, but 18 is simply to young to have been able to gain the experience needed for those years of training to be put to best use. Add a year of malnutrition, and time spent working below ground, shackled to a chain gang and regularly beaten and Celaena should be lucky to be alive let alone a viable candidate for the winning the tournament.

This was a pretty big negative for me, and tainted what was otherwise an engaging story.

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