Throne of Glass arrived through my letterbox with high expectations. I had heard wonderful things about it from two blogger friends; Faye over at A Daydreamer’s Thoughts and Casey at Dark-Readers. As you may know, before I started blogging, fantasy and in particular high or epic fantasy didn’t really appeal to me, but after reviewing a few titles I have had my eyes opened more to the genre. Throne of Glass similarly won me over by the end.
The process of writing Throne of Glass is really worth mentioning. Mass started writing and submitting what would later be Throne of Glass when she just sixteen on fictionpress.net. For over a decade she has been building and developing her world and this really shows in the writing as I got the sense Maas knows the complete history. The descriptions of the glass palace were lush and evocative and Maas details her surroundings beautifully and meticulously.Originally envisioned as a retelling of Cinderella, where Cinderella leaves the ball because she something to flee from, Maas’ novel has evolved into a new, original tale that still has scatterings of the initial inspiration.
Celaena begins the novel a betrayed assassin and slave in Endovier’s ruthless salt mines. Then she is given a proposition; compete in a tournament to become the King’s Assassin for four years and win her freedom. However assassins begin to die and are murdered as an evil lurks in the castle. Add in a burning attraction for the Prince Dorian and you have quite a story.
At first, I found Throne Of Glass a little hard to get into. The fantastical names and prose style distanced me a little, as did the seemingly constant description of Celaena’s appearance and clothing, however as I persevered I found I was sucked into the world. Celaena is a feisty and strong character which I adored. Her dialogue was very punchy and reminded me a little of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (oh Joss Whedon, what a wonder Buffy was!) I really liked her guard Chad and really would have loved more of a romantic development with him than the prince. However considering Maas’ original inspiration and fairytale roots, I understand why there wasn’t.
The competition was fast paced and exciting though I felt the murders were more of a way to speed the competition on at times if I am honest. In terms of the strongest competition scenes, other than the duels, the second task with the flag was the most exciting and strong events for me. I did however, really like that the competition was central to the plot and not just put in to introduce the character to her romantic interest. The evolution of Celaena from former legend and slave to elegant, deadly woman was well handled. However, I personally felt she had not changed her position so much from the mines, even though she was in a much better situation, as she was still seen as ‘belonging’ to the King. On a similar note, one flaw with the plot was that the castle seemed fairly lax in security at times and I was surprised a lot of the assassins, Celaena included, who was aware of her pawn status, did not consider an escape attempt.
Overall, I think YA fantasy fans will adore this and even those, like myself, who have been hesitant to the genre will find a lot to like this. Assured and confident, this debut meets the hype that has surrounded it.
Throne of Glass is available now to buy and is published by Bloomsbury. I received a free review copy from the publishers which I would like to say thank you for! There are also several prequel novellas available via Kindle and ebook to read set in the world that fans who cannot wait for the next instalment should definitely check out.