Young Adult Fantasy, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass is the first in a series of 7. (Not including the pre-qual, The Assasins Blade.) The King that sits upon the throne of glass needs a champion. Assassin Celaena Sardothien is a legend, but she is serving a death sentence in the Endovier Salt Mines. The last person she expected to see was the crown Prince, asking her to participate in a competition that would end with her becoming the protector of the very King who had banished her. But Celaena has no choice. To have any chance at survival, she must agree to fight twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors and serve as an assassin to the crown. Only then will she earn her freedom. However, when the other competitors start mysteriously dying off, Celaena must find the evil source before it’s too late.
“Something evil dwells in this castle, something wicked enough to make the stars quake. Its malice echoes into all worlds.”
Throne of Glass is the real deal. I know I’m late to the game, having never read this series, but it’s incredible. There’s a reason the author has become an international sensation! The characters are beautifully written, especially the female lead Celaena. I absolutely love how the author created a strong, complex female lead who managed not to become a monster regardless of her past. Yes, she is an assassin. But she was only eight when Arobynn Hamel found her half-dead and started training her. Celaena was left with little choice but to serve him. She’s so much more than what she seems, and I have my predictions going forward!
This brings me to the first location of importance: Brannons Forest.
She had often wished for adventure, for old spells and wicked kings. But she hadn’t realized it would be like this- a fight for her freedom.
The first time I really started to think about Celaena’s history was during her ride towards the Throne of Glass and the Kingdom of Adarlan. Passing through Brennan’s forest, the Royal guards are hesitant and uncomfortable in the magic that resides there. Talk of immortal Fae and fairies and being better off without them circles between the guards, and Celaena is disgusted. She knows more than she lets on, and I was quick to wonder why?
With magic outlawed and removed by the King, most questioned if it had ever really existed at all. All that seemed to remain were the stories. But then why does Celaena find small white flowers at the foot of her cot, with infant-sized footprints leading in and out of the tent?
This brings me to the Second location of importance: The Tunnels
“Over the next thirteen weeks, you shall each dwell and compete in my home. You will train every day, and be tested once a week-a test during which one of you will be eliminated.”
What’s a good Young Adult Fantasy without epic battles? Without them, we would lose the conflict and storylines that are needed to capture our attention. But a lot of the conflict in this story happens away from the battlefield, including within Celaena. If she wins this competition, she has been offered her freedom. But will serving as the King’s Assassin break her before she has time to reap her reward? And does she believe in herself enough or, will escape be her only option?
This brings me to the third location of importance: Endovier Salt Mines
“I’m not married, because I can’t stomach the idea of marrying a woman inferior to me in mind and spirit. It would mean the death of my soul.”
Are you Team Dorian or Team Chaol?
Of course, my opinion might change as I get further into the series, but I think I’m leaning toward the Captain of the Guard! Prince Dorian is attractive and playful with Celaena, but I feel it was way too easy to win him over. It seems he is more interested in Celaena’s mystery and beauty than who she really is underneath.
In contrast, the Captain of the Guard was suspicious from the start, and it wasn’t until much later on, when he really started to know and understand Celaena, that he let down his own…guard. But Celaena’s past is shrouded in mystery, and her time at the Salt Mines seems to hold importance to who she has become. We see snapshots through her dialogue with both Chaol and the Prince, but not enough to understand the depth of what she was forced to endure and overcome.