Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

“Throne of Glass” is the kickass starter of what promises to be an amazing fantasy series. If you enjoy concepts such as magic, kings, conquest and prophecy, then you gotta add “Throne of Glass” to your list of must-reads.

Many people have recommended this series to me because I absolutely love fantasy books like “The Lord of the Rings” and “Graceling.” Upon opening “Throne of Glass,” I was greeted with a map explaining the layout of the fantasy kingdom where the characters live. I believe fantasy books should always include maps – they solidify the story and keep the reader engaged. Furthermore, in the fantasy genre, it can be difficult learning an entirely new vocabulary connected to a list of names you have never seen before and have no hope of pronouncing correctly. In addition to the map, Sarah J. Maas also helps out her audience by including a pronunciation guide in the back of the book. With these complimentary tools laid out by Maas, diving head first into the story was easy.

“Throne of Glass” is from the point of view of 18 year-old Celaena Sardothien (her name being one of the more ordinary and easier ones to pronounce). However, Celaena is anything but ordinary. Celaena can kill anyone, anywhere, at any time. Since she was eight, Celaena trained with the greatest assassin of her time, Arobynn Hamel. At seventeen, she went on a killing spree, earning her the title Adarlan’s Assassin. However, Celaena was betrayed by someone close to her and became a slave in a death camp called Endovier. The book opens a year into her sentence when the King’s guard drags her from Endovier to the prince of the kingdom of Adarlan: Dorian. Prince Dorian gives Celaena an opportunity to fight for her freedom, as her royal sponser, in a completion to become his father’s champion: the King’s Champion. If Celaena wins, she must work as the King’s Champion for four years to have her murder charges dropped. Celaena, seeing this as her opportunity to escape death, agrees. She can almost taste her freedom, but she has to compete against twenty-two other skilled killers, fighters and thieves for the chance to become the King’s Champion. If she wins—freedom after four years of servitude. If she loses—she is sent back to Endovier as a slave where death is surely waiting.

As always, the first book in a fantasy series deals with a lot of world building. I believe this is always the main challenge of any fantasy series. If the author only deals with the setting, the reader will become bored, but if the author hardly deals with setting at all, the series will collapse due to plot holes in later books. Sarah J. Maas handles this challenge like a Kings’s champion. There is a near perfect balance of world building and suspense. Maas incorporates important themes such as suspense, mystery, love and friendship by building on the history of the characters and the kingdoms.

If you enjoy fantasy novels that deal with times of kings, knights and magic, then take this read for a spin. Thank you for reading, and remember: don’t knock it until you read it!