I first heard about Throne of Glass through my aunt, who recommended it to me so I could read some from authors who were writing in similar genres to me. I read the synopsis, and it seemed pretty interesting. I happened to stumble on some YouTube reviews of the novel. That’s where I learned about how divided people were on the series. Recently, I decided that I wanted to form my own opinions on the book, instead of just going off what others believed. I read Throne of Glass pretty quickly, and this is what I thought of the book. This review will contain SPOILERS!
For those who don’t know about Throne of Glass, the story follows the famous assassin Celaena Sardothien, who was enslaved in the salt mines and freed to compete in a competition to become an assassin for the King of Adarlan. While Celaena is at the castle, other assassins in the competition start dying off one by one, and it’s up to her to solve the mystery while trying to win the competition.
There are aspects of each one that I enjoyed, but there were some characters that I thought were a bit bland:
I enjoyed the idea behind Celaena, who’s supposed to be an incredible and dangerous assassin. From the way she was talked about, it gave me an image of what she was like, and I looked forward to reading her story. Within the first hundred pages, however, I found her more annoying. She’s introduced as very strong and powerful, but I was only seeing her for how stuck up and self-inflated she was. When she was asked to do very simple things by Chaol, she resisted or refused to do them, even though they were supposed to help her. Additionally, we are constantly reminded of Celaena’s past and who she is. After about the fourth time, I found myself getting annoyed.
Dorian, the prince of Adarlan, was one of my favorite characters in this novel, and that’s mainly because of his lighthearted personality. Later in the story, he’s seen in something of a romantic relationship with Celaena. I didn’t think that these two had much chemistry, and it was at these points when Dorian came across as a more bland and typical prince charming.
I don’t have much to say about Chaol, at this point. Chaol is the captain of the guard and trained Celaena for the competition. He also played the responsible friend to Dorian and Celaena. I thought his overall personality matched well with the other characters and balanced them out. We did get plenty of hints that he was slowly falling for Celaena, and I have to admit that this seemed more out of character for him. Given the type of personality we see, I didn’t feel that it fit, especially when he’s seen giving orders to Celaena within the competition. Otherwise, Chaol shows no real interest in her.
Nehemia was one of my favorite characters, as well. She is presented as an intelligent, loyal, warrior and princess from a foreign kingdom who fights for her people, even in the face of danger. She and Celaena formed a friendship, and I thought this brought out some of the best sides of Nehemia. At the end of the novel, we learn that Nehemia uses Wyrdmarks, an ancient magic that was banned in Adarlan. I thought that this added an extra layer to her character, and it made me want to read more about her rather than about Celaena.
The King of Adarlan:
Throughout the novel, we are told that the King of Adarlan is a really evil guy, and he’s done all these evil things. We don’t see a lot from the king for most of the novel, but in the parts where he is seen, I thought he was written pretty well. There were a few parts where I was underwhelmed (and he seemed like a stereotypical bad guy), but in the end, I wanted to read more about him, the things he’s done, and why he did them.
Overall, I thought that there were a lot of good elements of suspense. My favorite parts in the entire book had to be when Celaena was learning about the evil in the castle, and she’s working with Queen Elena, the first queen of Adarlan. These were the parts where I was the most excited to continue reading, and I wanted to find out if my predictions about the murderer were correct.
There were a lot of very obvious hints that the murder was Cain, and I picked up on it very quickly. When he was revealed as such, it felt very overplayed, like the author wanted to seem clever. When Celaena has this grand battle with Cain’s demon creature from another world, it was very quick and not nearly as satisfying as it should be. As soon as it was over, it felt like the rest of the book should be over. That disappointed me, because this scene was a huge step in the novel, and I was hoping for something more. I did enjoy the suspense going into it. The author did that very well!
Another major part of this book was the tournament to become the King’s Champion. I was really hoping to see this tournament play out, and learn more about Celaena’s abilities. Unfortunately, the vast majority of this tournament was done through telling. We are told about Celaena’s abilities and her victories after a time skip, so we never get to see how she stands out from the others. This actually made me dislike her character more, because it felt like the audience is just supposed to believe that she’s really amazing, but we never get to see most of it.
There was also a romantic subplot, a love triangle to be specific. I thought that this was one of the weakest parts of the book. It involved Dorian and Chaol, but even in the beginning, it felt very obvious that Celaena was going to choose Dorian. To me, it wasn’t that exciting because, most of the time, neither seemed to have good chemistry. The relationship felt a little forced. I was happy to see that they decided to just stay friends at the end of the book, because this would give us a better picture of Celaena as an individual in the sequel.
Finally, the climax! I was really hoping for an amazing fight, and it could have been, but I was mostly confused, and I didn’t understand what was happening. The beginning was the easiest to follow, and I enjoyed reading it. Celaena and Cain both started using magic in the middle of the fight when there’s a low. This made the scene more confusing to me, and I skimmed across the parts that didn’t make sense. Because the magic system is never really explained, it was difficult for me to understand how it worked in this fight. Because of how magic was briefly explained and used in the rest of the novel, I was really excited for what the magic system could be. In the final scene, however, it seemed as though new aspects of the system were being introduced for plot convenience.
I have mixed feelings about this book. While there were a lot of parts that left me disappointed or confused, the majority was exciting. The author wrote very suspenseful moments with how she kept us waiting to find out what would happen next, and I really enjoyed these parts. I think this book sets a good base for the rest of the series, and although I don’t plan on reading it, I have a feeling that the author will address some of the key issues with each of the characters. Most of the plot of Throne of Glass didn’t leave a lasting impression on me, but the points when characters had moments of growth and revelations are definitely ones I will remember.
Overall, I would recommend this book to younger teenagers and people who are interested in reading the rest of the series. I give this book a 3.5/5 stars, and I have no intention of reading the rest of the books. I’ve heard good things about the rest of the series from fans, so I’m sure that the plot and overall story improves. If you are a reader into high fantasy and continuous levels of suspense, I think you would enjoy this book and the rest of the series.