Audiobook Review: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)

Published August 2nd 2012 

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Narrator: Elizabeth Evans

Audiobook Length: 13 hours 3 minutes

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. 

After the quick and wild ride of the prequel novellas in the Assassin’s Blade collection, I was excited to begin the full-length novels with Throne of Glass. The storyline flowed nicely from the prequel novellas straight into this story and it was nice to have some foundation of the main character, assassin, Celaena Sardothien, who is now eighteen years old at the start of this novel.  After being captured, she has spent the last year as a slave in the salt mines of Endovier. She is taken from there by Crown Prince Dorian Havilliard and the Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall when they offer her a chance to become the Champion for the King of Adarlan. As the Champion, she would serve the king’s personal assassin for four years and then be free, but to get it, she will first have to win a cutthroat competition involving others vying for the same job.

The beginning of this novel does a lot of set up of the characters, although the reader should read the prequel to gain more insight into Celaena. As she is from Terrason, a kingdom conquered by the King almost a decade ago, she is not native to the customs of Adarlan. This adds an additional element that not only must Celaena navigate winning the competition, but also the general cultural differences of this land. There is a large focus on the love triangle in this story, although I hope that Celaena ends up with neither as I could not picture either of them working well. While I could select one between the two if she is definitely ending up with one of them, the structure of the story does not make it seem that either of the choices are endgame for Celaena. I could be wrong, but there are hints throughout the writing that make it seem these is another choice coming later in the series. Now as individuals, I absolutely loved Dorian and Chaol. I enjoyed their feelings for Celaena, but I still could not picture the series ending with her with either suitor. Dorian initially appears as the arrogant and entitled prince, but there is more to him than meets the eye. Chaol is the mysterious brooding captain, who is Dorian’s best friend and also has a lot more to him than initially presented.

This novel is very detailed as it sets up all the characters, some initial relationships, and the general plot. While I love details in stories, I sometimes felt that this novel went a little too much into detail and there are some pages that could have been cut. I think about 80ish (maybe even 100) or so pages could have been deleted and the story would have the same impact, so I am hoping that this is not a continuing trend throughout the rest of the series, although I am most likely setting myself up for disappointment. Now the plot and information itself was well done as it does not feel overwhelming to new readers who are unfamiliar with the series. While the book is long, the information and characters are easy to track and understand. As I said above, the romantic relationships and the friendships seem to be the focus of this story rather than the actual competition. I did greatly enjoy Nehemia, the princess of Ellywe, another kingdom conquered by the King. Their friendship was very sweet, and I loved how their relationship grew throughout the novel.

Overall, this was an interesting and enjoyable introduction into the series. There are some nice twists throughout that I am curious to see how they unfold in the next installment. While I am a huge fan of romances in stories, I do with there was a little more exploration of the competition. The events and elements are shown throughout the novel, but I would have loved more considering that is the main premise of the story. For those, like myself, that are new to the series, the reader does not get a lot of examples of Celaena as a great assassin as there are not a lot shown in the story. She also makes many mistakes that I would not think an assassin would do here and there in the novel, so I wish these were explained a little more. Even though this novel was not perfect for me, my curiosity has peaked where I am very interested in continuing the series to see what happens next!

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