In which Ashley jumps on the Throne of Glass and does not look back.
When I stumbled upon Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (the first in a six-book series by the same name), a simple sequence of events took place that led me right to a seat on the hype train.
1. I read the title, and immediately thought of Game of Thrones (that has to be what it’s going for, right?). While a throne of glass sounds just as uncomfortable as the Iron Throne, they have such vastly different metaphorical connotations. The Iron Throne is threatening, made up of tons of weapons designed to take your head off; a throne of glass implies transparency and fragility, though it’s still supposed to be a symbol of power.
So I was intrigued to compare and contrast this to Game of Thrones. And that’s when I learned…
2. Throne of Glass is about the baddest of badass assassins, who happens to be a young woman named Celaena Sardothien. After she’s been enslaved in a salt mine for a year as punishment for all that killing she’s done, the Crown Prince of Adarlan offers Celaena a chance to win her freedom by competing in a Hunger Games–esque tournament (twenty-four will fight each other, but only one will win!) to determine who will be the King’s go-to assassin for the next several years.
3. I saw the cover, and was immediately slain by its rendition of Celaena. (In the “I’m in heaven and it’s awesome” sort of way.)
Let’s manage some expectations right now, though: this book is not actually about Celaena assassinating people left and right. Nobody assassinates anyone in this first book (and from what I’ve read of the second, assassinations are still questionable). In fact, nobody is even supposed to die in this competition (but let’s be real, some do, because what’s the fun if there’s no killing, amiright?).
But the lack of decapitations is not a detriment to this debut. It instead explores the power of mere stories—tales of killings from Calaena’s past, speculation about whom she’ll have to assassinate in the future, inform how others view her. Everyone, from the crown prince to a besieged princess to Calaena’s trainer, behave in ways that appear at odds with their titles and reputations. Unlike the lot in Game of Thrones, there’s an optimism that all of these characters hold on to, despite their grim realities.
All of the gritty action takes place within the King’s glass castle (yes, a whole castle made of glass, except for the original stone base), which is hiding a lot within its transparent walls—forbidden and supposably forgotten magic, long-dead fairy queens, portals to other dimensions, etc.
I don’t normally read series as they come out (my heart can’t take all that anticipatory hype and the particular torture tactic of cliffhangers), but the Throne of Glass series is a worthy exception. It promises a lot of action and romance before the glass shatters.
Ashley is an Editorial Curation Assistant at Scribd. She has never assassinated anyone (though she has thought about it). She’s made it her mission to celebrate the best in young adult fiction with lovingly made collections like Logged In and #WeNeedDiverseBooks.