In December I participated in a Jólabókaflóðið, an Icelandic tradition of gifting others books. It has a really neat background story that you can find here
So, in this book exchange I received the first book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah Maas. Unfortunately I sometimes judge a book by its cover, and I totally did this with this book. I didn’t (and still don’t) love the covers but decided to give it a shot. I am so glad I did!
After enduring a year in the horrendous salt mines of Endovier, renowned assassin Celaena Sardothein is freed by Crown Prince Dorian. His father, the King of Adarlan, is hosting a competition for a chance to serve as his Champion and winning would gain Celaena her freedom after four years in service. Celaena quickly shows the fellow competitors and their sponsors why she was so famous as an assassin. She befriends Dorian, his best friend and Captain of the Guard, Chaol, and a princess from a neighboring country. But things start to unravel as competitors end up dead from mysterious and gruesome wounds. And Celaena must try to solve these mysteries, win the competition, and seek revenge on those her put her in the mines in the first place.
While that seems pretty straightforward, you may be wondering why this is a 7 book series. Celaena is not entirely who she claims to be and an EPIC story unfolds. On that I really can’t say much more!
Here’s what I loved about the series:
- Sarah Maas has created a world that is as intricate and vast as Middle Earth or Narnia. Each book has a map of the world in the front and you just know a series is going to be amazing when there is a map involved!
- The characters. While Celaena remains the central character of the series, Maas adds more and more as the series develops. All are deeply flawed but all are believable. Some are loveable and some you’ll love to hate. You’ll also have emotional whiplash from some of them (I can’t say who!). By the 7th book, I was so anxious about who would live and who would die. I had to know and hated to find out at the same time. And yes, there are deaths. And it’s heartbreaking.
- I said it before but this series is EPIC. Battle after battle, war on multiple fronts, witches, magic wielders, saving the world, enchanted objects, blood oaths, swords that can detect if you are telling the truth….this series has all the makings for a movie. There is one battle scene from book #5 that was so suspenseful. My Apple Watch actually asked me if I was exercising since my heart rate was so high. Haha!
- I love a suspenseful book and this series is FULL of suspense.
Here’s a few things I didn’t love as much:
1. Even though the series is YA fantasy, I wasn’t prepared for the teenage angst-y stuff. As she goes on, Maas writes less and less of that and the characters develop and mature.
2. Although Maas wraps up the series well there are a few some plot holes that aren’t resolved.
3. I got tired of all the characters having expert poker faces. Maas repeatedly describes each character’s surprise via just a blink….Ex. Celaena is scared and keeps her poker face but she blinks. Dorian is horrified; he keeps his face neutral but blinks. Chaol finds out something really bad; he has had years of practice keeping his face calm as Captain of the Guard but blinks his surprise. Etc, etc. It got repetitive.
Overall I give this series 4.5/ 5 ⭐️
It was entertaining and a SUPER fun way to pass a lot of the quarantine!
-Violence: this is a pretty violent series. It’s violent for a purpose but it never feels like it’s unnecessary. Just be prepared for lots of sword & knife type violence.
-There are some demon-like magic creatures the characters in the book fight. They possess human bodies. Some of the interactions with them are super creepy and disturbing. There are also terrifying creatures throughout the series that are something straight out of hell.
-Sex: yes there are sex scenes. They start out very tame and glossed over in book #2 and then there is lots of sexual tension until book #5. Then multiple characters start to get busy. It’s easy to skip over if you don’t want to read it.
Genre: Young Adult fantasy