Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


I read this for the first time almost four years ago. It was only a few months after it came out, before it was truly well known. And I loved it. It was a perfect combination of badass characters, elegantly crafted dialogue and plot, and creative magic. And thankfully, it held up during this reread. It may be a simple fantasy novel that isn't meant to change my life or view on the world, but it's perfect for what it is: a character driven fantasy series beginner.

I love this book, I really do. However. It feels so much like a standalone novel. It has such a wrapped up, specific plot. So going forward, it kind of has to start from scratch. And in my memory, Crown of Midnight feels like a different story. I wish there was better transition between the beginning and the rest of the series.

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.

Celaena Sardothien is a grade-A badass. That's just a fact. If you think differently get the hell out. Okay, no, not really, please come back. But seriously, she's such a powerful, unique, intuitive character and I wish I was like her. She's such a strong example for young women. I mean, yeah, she's an assassin which isn't the best career choice, but her character and independence are #goals for women--and general humans--everywhere. In this first book, we learn so much about what is inside of her head, rather than her past or her future. But it's a wonderful starting off point.

Chaol Westfall, you beautiful, brooding bastard. In all honesty, we learn very little about Chaol in this book. But what we do learn we want more of. He's hard, kind, determined, powerful, dark, judgmental. He has a true power struggle in this novel; at the beginning, he believes that people that do good things are good and people that do bad things are bad. It isn't until he meets Celaena that he learns that things are not that black and white. And though he is a man of few words and few chapters from his perspective, we know that he can be so much more.

Dorian Havilliard...I have no words. Like, I love Celaena and Chaol, but there is something about this complicated Crown Prince that keeps my attention like no other. I love being in his mind, as well as watching him through Celaena's eyes. His mannerisms, his personality, his spirit, are so infallible. He's not God or anything, but he can do no wrong in my mind. Hopefully I don't end up eating those words.

People may scream at me for this, but in this book (and a little in the second too--don't kill me!) Celaena and Dorian are my ship. And rereading this, it reminded me how prominent they are. Of course there are the underlining, less obvious feelings Celaena has for Chaol, but her attraction to Dorian is spoken first, more often, and is actually acted upon. I mean--DAMN! Those kisses they share are passionate and powerful and so honest. Swoon. So yeah. I'll take the lighthearted Prince vs. the Brooding Guard any day.

I really enjoy Sarah J. Maas's writing. It's simple, but has a lot of depth if you are paying close attention or want to look for it. And every once in a while she throws in these powerful scenes or conversations or quotes and it makes me pause and think. I love that. She also writes some really hilarious exchanges that just have me laughing awkwardly in public like a fool.

I am eager as hell to plow through Crown of Midnight so I can finally start reading the books I haven't read yet. I have this fear that people reading this that have read the others are just straight up laughing in my face because of what's to come. But I'm really finally ready to have my own opinion of the whole series instead of being on the outside of the chaos.

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