Despite the tragic blurbs that brand the back of my beautiful white and electric coloured copies, Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight are one of the most empowering YA fantasy novels I have ever encountered.
In Throne of Glass we meet Celaena Sardothien, once a famous assassin, now enslaved and broken. The Prince of Ardalan, from the empire that caught her, offers her a chance at freedom. All she has to do is win a competition against men bigger and burlier than her and afterwards serve as the King’s Champion (a glorified term for being the King’s Assassin). Crown of Midnight handles the outcomes and consequences after the competition and we delve deeper into the secrets of the kingdom.
Throne of Glass is wonderful in keeping the plot in Throne of Glass very simple. In the slow progression of meeting Celaena in the mines of Endovier to the end of the competition for King’s Champion we learn more about the world we have been flung into. Maas excellent simplicity keeps from overwhelming the reader and you are eased into a universe very different from ours. With action-filled chapters tangled with forbidden romance you are left wanting(read: needing) more!
Crown of Midnight is a more fast paced book, relying on our full understanding of the slow explanation carried out in the previous book. Celaena has finally returned to her full capacity as an assassin. She runs, every morning, with the Captain of the Guard Chaol Westfall. She reads in a forgotten library, almost every day, with the Princess of Eyllwe Nehemia Ytger. Eyllwe is controlled by the King of Ardalan but has not yet been occupied and although she resents who’s roof she sleeps under it is imperative for her people that she stays. And by the end of the book Nehemia’s purpose and Celaena’s purpose are merged into one common goal that takes Celaena far far away from the glass castle we have been accustomed to. Her adventures continue into the Heir of Fire that is burning a hole in my bookshelf and screaming to be read!!
Celaena Sardothien is a strong and able young woman. She is driven and incredibly intelligent, she is also witty and very very… commonplace. You shouldn’t be able to identify with an assassin but I could definitely see myself in Celaena. She loves books and spends a stretch of time reading instead of sleeping. And her hunger for romance and excitement is an important part in her identity. In defiance of her label as an assassin she is also an 18-year old girl and just like anyone else she wants to kiss cute boys and dance with them. It makes her very.. human. It’s easy to forget that you aren’t born an assassin, you become one.
Dorian Havilliard is not so much the King’s son as he is the Prince of Ardalan. His character is down to earth and with a heart as big as his fortune. Every girl would bend over backwards for him and he is aware of his effect on girls. He yearns for something different than familiar obligations and is instantly drawn to the mysterious assassin that he brought back from the pits of Endovier.
Chaol Westfall is the opposite of Dorian Havilliard despite being very close friends. Chaol is unaware of his masculine impact on the women of the court, he wishes to be exactly where he is, and he is instantly drawn to the mysterious assassin that he helped bring back from the pits of Endovier. Chaol is one of my favourite characters of all time, he is up there with Draco Malfoy(Harry Potter) and Adam Parrish(The Raven Cycle). His kindness is ocean deep and his heart is a precious porcelain trinket that keeps being passed around fidgeting fingers. He deserves so much more than what the story gives him and I hope that his character find peace and happiness.
Princess Nehemia Ytger of Eyllwe is one of the most enigmatic characters to ever have been written. She is wonderful, beautiful, smart, bookish, polylingual, and incredibly hard to read. At one point she’s a lady in waiting and the next she is the leader of her people. You never know what she has planned and all you do get to know is that she does have a plan. And somehow you feel safe as a pawn in her game because you know she would lose before she would let anyone die for her.
Surprisingly, I have no issues with Maas writing. For a YA fantasy series I find the writing appropriate. I do have an issue when Maas attempts to turn her writing into something she has yet to master. She tries very hard sometimes to make her writing more mesmerising and it feels incredibly forced. But these few instances are very easy to disregard due to the incredible plot and captivating characters.
Overall, I loved the plot these two books have established and I am highly anticipating all the possible stories that may unfold. I’m definitely forcing my sisters to read them and be just as infatuated with these strong female leads as I am. And to welcome them into the Chaol Trash world(read: hell) that I have now entered.