It has taken me a while to jump on to the bandwagon of this series, written by Sarah J. Maas. I had heard so many great things about it that I was scared it wouldn't meet my expectations. I was afraid that the characters would be one dimensional, fall into the usual love triangle trap, and a story that had more or less been done before. So how did my expectations affect my reading of the book, and did it meet these fears of mine?
My initial concern over the characters was unwarranted. None of the characters were one dimensional. Celaena herself, though a badass, practical, uncaring assassin, was also a girl who liked to indulge herself in pretty clothing, having her hair styled and having female accessories actually be hidden weapons. Her development throughout the book is fantastic as she slowly opens herself up to others but is still guarded and wary. The Prince originally appears to be a bit of a womanising douchebag but the more you read about him, the more you'll love him. The only character I'm a bit unsure of is Chaol. He's a good character, but the connection between him and Celaena feels forced at times whereas it's so natural with Dorian and you can feel the heat between the two. Still, Celaena doesn't have time for boyfriends, because she has her priorities straight!
The love triangle is something that is approached gradually and though mentioned more from the male points of view, Celaena has bigger things to concentrate on and so often pushes thoughts of love aside. She even sacrifices what she could have so she could experience freedom and have a life. It's so nice to read about a female character who is not co-dependant on another and certainly has her own mind.
The story started out slowly but once you're sucked in, you're never getting out! The competition was reminiscent of The Hunger Games but is also totally different. As the champions are whittled down, Celaena finds herself in the middle of a political war she wanted to nothing to do with. The challenges were rather disappointing. There was a lot of stock put in to them but then they were either rarely mentioned, or they were anti-climactic challenges. After reading further on in the series, you will realise it's because the challenges themselves do not play a large role in the overall story, but really are there to set things in motion.
There are hints of magic throughout the book which feel out of place and totally random, but they fit in flawlessly as the overall series progresses and makes sense. There are scenes with magic that is confusing and difficult to follow but you can get the gist of what is happening.
Overall, the book was great, but once you read on in the series and it all starts making sense, it seems a bit all over the place and random, but you can see how it is leading up to greater things. Though this is a review on the first book only, Throne of Glass, though a great and entertaining read, is definitely the weakest in the series so far. But then, isn't that exactly what you want; a series that improves with each new book?