For my first ever blog post I’m going to talk about the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. Now I haven’t read the whole series since the latest book, Queen of Shadows, just recently came out, But I read the first book in August, and the second, third and novellas in September.
For anyone who doesn’t know this epic fantasy is about a teenage girl called Celaena – don’t ask me to pronounce names even with the pronunciation guide at the back of the book – who was once the most famous assassin of the kingdom until she was betrayed and sent to the mines of Endovier. The first book starts with Celeana being offered a chance to leave the mines through a competition to become the King’s Champion. While the competition goes on the something more sinister goes on within the castle walls.
Throne of Glass
The first book is a brilliant introduction to the world with great character development. It has everything you could want from an epic fantasy series. I’m not going to talk much about it because the rest of the series is fresher in my mind but I loved it. There was magic, assassins, great descriptions of fights and characters that I couldn’t get enough of.
The main characters are Celaena , Dorian and Chaol. Dorian is the Prince of Ardalan and Chaol the Captain of the Guard. This first story acts as a good intro into the dynamics of the three and their importance to the rest of the series.
Crown of Midnight
While dealing with the aftermath of the previous book this second story deals with how Celaena goes about the King’s demands. It is slowly revealed who Celaena might be and how the King of Ardalan managed to conquer a whole continent.
The main thing I loved about the series was the character development of all the characters, save the antagonists. The three main characters do change and grow with each new experience.
On that note, however, there is one part of Celeana’s character that I wasn’t so fond of. Trying to avoid spoilers, but towards the end someone she knows dies and Celaena finds out they were lying to her. I think it might have been better if the book showed more of the conflicting emotions that I assume Celeana dealt with like feelings of betrayal while still loving and mourning that person. It’s a bit pernickety of me to point but it’s just something I couldn’t get out of my head while I was reading.
While there is a lot of character development for the protagonists, the same can’t be said for the villains. The antagonists in this story are a bit one dimensional. We get no view on why the King conquered all these nations and committed so many atrocities…. but I don’t mind this. It makes him a lot easier to hate as you can’t find anything to connect to him with or empathise.
While the first book was an introduction to the world, this story was more about what the characters are and developing the rules of the world in finer detail like magic.
Novellas- Assassin’s Blade
To be honest I wasn’t a fan of the novellas. I don’t have any reason for not liking them since there are pirates and assassins and plots and anything else you could want in a story, but I just couldn’t get into them.
It could just be because I don’t like short stories, I don’t know. I do like how they showed what led up to how Celaena ended up in the slave mines and told some if the stories that is mentioned in the first two books but that is also a – sort of – bad thing. It added a bit more mystery to the main narrative when you didn’t know every detail in the story and they was a major plot reveal on who betrayed Celaena in the first place – on how she ended up in the mines- which might have been better in the main books.
These stories were would probably be better for people who can actually like short stories but not so much for me.
Heir of Fire
This book was brilliant. Again, it deals with the aftermath of the previous book but it is more about the lead up to the war against the King. We see both sides start training for the war and show what could be considered the first battle of it.
We see characters actively trying to find out how the King conquered the nations instead of just happening upon the information when looking for something else. The characters find out truths about themselves as well as their pasts, and not just the “good” side.
There are a few chapters in a point of view from, who could be considered, an antagonist, but not a main one – a witch named Manon. I wasn’t really interested in her chapters and generally just skimmed. It was hard to connect with her as a character but it was interesting seeing her question herself and her people.
Other than that, I more or less enjoyed everything about the story.
Something I really enjoyed is that there were some LGBT characters. There might have been one in Crown of Midnight, a courtesan, but it’s not made as clear. In this book the relationship between the two men is so sweet and one of them, Emrys, I was fascinated with. I kept thinking he was Merlin, mainly because of his name. He was really kind and protective over Celaena and I wished there was more of him in the book.
I can’t describe how much I enjoyed this story. It delved so much deeper into the characters psyche. We see the struggles and conflicts that each of the characters feel and how that makes them act and treat others. As someone who loves psychology I loved this and can’t help but recommend it to others.
Overall the series is brilliant. The whole world is brilliantly developed so that we can see different parts of the world without it being confusing. The books cross two continents and different parts of them yet you can still understand the plot easily. There are a couple of tropes that can sometimes be annoying in other books i.e. a love triangle but it’s not too bad. The stories deal with so many other things that you don’t notice it too much like colonisation, rebellion, friendship, pretty much everything you could want in a epic fantasy series. Each box just got better and better- except the novellas. After reading Heir of Fire I was ready to go out and buy Queen of Shadows and I never buy books new – uni and Harry Potter is the exception. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy and can’t wait to read the next book.