Throne of Glass
|Author||Sarah J. Maas|
|Published||August 2, 2012 – October 23, 2018|
Throne of Glass is a young adult high fantasy novel series by American author Sarah J. Maas, beginning with Throne of Glass, released in August 2012. The story follows the journey of Celaena Sardothien, a teenage assassin in a corrupt kingdom with a tyrannical ruler, The King of Adarlan. As the tale progresses, Celaena forms unexpected bonds and uncovers a conspiracy amidst her adventures. The series concluded with the eighth book in October 2018.
Throne of Glass follows Celaena Sardothien, an 18-year-old assassin in the Kingdom of Adarlan. After a year of suffering for her crimes in a slave camp called Endovier, she accepts the offer of Crown Prince Dorian, the King's son, to compete with other assassins and thieves for a chance to serve as the King's Champion, and eventually gain her freedom after four years in the King's service. This leads her to form unexpected bonds with Chaol, the Captain of the Guard, and Dorian, the Crown Prince of Adarlan. Over time, Celaena is drawn into a conspiracy and a series of battles, leading to discoveries surrounding both the Kingdom and herself.
|0.5||The Assassin's Blade||March 13, 2014||118,431 words / 435 pages||ISBN 9781619635173|
|A collection of 5 stories set prior to the Throne of Glass series, including four novellas previously published in e-book format: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Desert, The Assassin and the Underworld, and The Assassin and the Empire, as well as The Assassin and the Healer.|
|1||Throne of Glass||August 2, 2012||113,655 words / 406 pages||ISBN 9781619630345|
|After a year of slavery, an infamous teenage assassin named Celaena is given the chance to become the tyrannical king's personal assassin/King's Champion by representing Prince Dorian in a competition against the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. She must survive every test and trial in order to proceed to the final, in which she has to fight her remaining opponents to the death. As candidates are found dead in the castle, their bodies ruptured, Celaena finds herself delving deep into mysteries concerning not only her, but her very own ancestors and the creatures of darkness that dwell deep beneath the castle.|
|2||Crown of Midnight||August 27, 2013||114,494 words / 420 pages||ISBN 9781619630642|
|Celaena, the King's Champion, must win her freedom by butchering every person the king asks her to, but she cannot bear to kill for the crown. With every death she fakes, she puts her close friends at risk. Celaena must choose between a captain and a prince, and battle forces more threatening than the king. She also reunites with an old colleague, becomes obsessed with a rebel movement, and learns more about the king's source of power.|
|3||Heir of Fire||September 2, 2014||163,266 words / 569 pages||ISBN 9781619630673|
|Celaena travels to Wendlyn, a land where magic is still free, to undergo Fae training with the powerful and cold immortal Fae warrior Rowan Whitethorn. Tensions high between them, the pair have to work together to stop evil forces wreaking havoc, as well as Celaena learning to accept herself as the Queen of Terrasen. Meanwhile, in Adarlan, Chaol teams up with General Aedion Ashryver to rebel against the king and Dorian struggles to understand his growing powers. Manon Blackbeak, an immortal, Ironteeth witch, competes in a competition against other witches in order to become the official Wing leader of the clan.|
|4||Queen of Shadows||September 1, 2015||183,840 words / 648 pages||ISBN 9781619636064|
|Stronger than ever, Aelin Galathynius (aka Celaena Sardothien) returns to Rifthold, this time as a free woman. Upon her return, she learns that much has changed since she left, including the capture of her long-lost cousin Aedion and the possession of her friend Dorian at the hands of a Valg Prince. Aelin teams up with Chaol's team of rebels and her former master, King of Assassins Arobynn Hamel, determined to get her revenge for over ten years of pain, by freeing magic, killing the King of Adarlan, and rescuing Dorian. Across Adarlan in Morath, Manon is forced to use her witches to produce evil monsters as weapons. As she struggles between her duties and growing morals, she befriends Elide Lochan, a servant girl who is the rightful lady of Perranth, and daughter of Aelin's nursemaid as a child.|
|5||Empire of Storms||September 6, 2016||195,332 words / 689 pages||ISBN 9781619636071|
|Aelin is determined to never turn her back on her kingdom again. Cashing in debts to raise an army, Aelin and her court travel around Erilea in an attempt to stop Lord Erawan of the Valg from destroying the world, but with so many sworn enemies in want of revenge, including Queen Maeve of the Fae, survival seems unlikely. Aelin begins to realise that there are events in her life which may not have happened by coincidence; in fact, many have been pulling strings in the background long before she was born, and that she was destined for something far greater than she thought.|
|6||Tower of Dawn||September 5, 2017||191,282 words / 660 pages||ISBN 9781681195773|
|Taking place during the events of Empire of Storms, Chaol Westfall travels to the Southern Continent with Nesryn Faliq to seek treatment from the gifted healers there, and persuade the Southern Continent to ally with him and his friends in the brewing war against Erawan. Yrene Towers' attempts of healing him lead to her becoming entangled in Chaol's past, despite her own reservations against his loyalty to the very nation that prosecuted her family. Meanwhile, Nesryn improves relations with her family during her stay, and befriends Prince Sartaq.|
|7||Kingdom of Ash||October 23, 2018||272,682 words / 984 pages||ISBN 9781619636101|
|After being locked in an iron coffin for months by Maeve, Aelin resists torture in hopes of returning to her kingdom. Rowan searches with his cadre and Elide to find Aelin, his mate and wife. At the same time, Aedion and Lysandra continue to defend Terrasen with the armies that Aelin gathered before she was captured, from forces that would seek to destroy it: Erawan. After successfully allying with the Southern Continent, Chaol and his group race to reach his friends before it's too late. Manon and Dorian grow closer as they travel in search of the Crochan witches to raise an army, the final Wyrdkey, and answers to their role in the war and as leaders of their respective kingdoms. Threads draw every character closer as they move towards a final battle of freedom for Erilea.|
Embers of Memory, a two-person card game based on the Throne of Glass book series, was released in October 2019 by Osprey Games. It is set during the events of the final book in the series, Kingdom of Ash. The players are tasked with helping Aelin survive her imprisonment and ordeal at the hands of Maeve, diving with her into her memories and helping her find the way back out.
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- Aelin Galathynius aka Celaena Sardothien: The Queen of Terrasen and main protagonist of the series. When she was eight, her parents were murdered by the King of Adarlan, and she was found near-dead by Arobynn Hamel. Trained from childhood to become an assassin, she was betrayed and imprisoned by her master in the salt mines of Endovier. Before her capture, she was known as Adarlan's Assassin. With this reputation, Sardothien gets offered an opportunity to participate in a competition to become the King's Champion. If she wins, she must remain in the King of Adarlan's service for 4 years and will then be granted her freedom and a full pardon. During the contest, she adopts the persona of a jewel thief from a port in Belhaven to avoid her identity being revealed. She is described as beautiful and possessing striking features, clever, and arrogant.
- Rowan Whitethorn: He is a full-blooded Fae who is over three centuries old. He has silver hair and pine-green eyes. He can take the form of a White-tailed hawk and his powers include ice and wind. A few hundred years prior to the events of Throne of Glass, his mate, Lyria, and their unborn child were killed. He was tasked with training Aelin when she came to Doranelle to see Maeve. He was previously blood sworn to Maeve, but he and Aelin fell in love with each other and she eventually bargained for his freedom. He and Aelin eventually learned they were mates. Maeve tricked Rowan into believing Lyria was his mate, then had her killed, to leash her to him before Aelin was born. She had predicted Aelin's immense fire magic and wanted a way to control her, via her mate. Rowan and Aelin did not recognize that they were mates, though.
- Dorian Havilliard aka King of Adarlan: Havilliard chooses to sponsor Celaena as his contender for the competition to become his father's champion. He tries at times to stand up to his father, but he is never fully able to defy his father. His best friend is the Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall. Dorian is also bright, having a curious mind and a love of reading. He is adept at solving problems and will search for the answers to questions even if no one else can or will help. He also possesses a great deal of loyalty, as he goes out of his way and endangers himself to protect his friends. Dorian is tall and lean, with raven-black hair with his eyes being sapphire blue. Before meeting Celaena, Dorian is a vain heartbreaker, a puppet of his tyrannical father. He possesses raw magic.
- Manon Blackbeak Crochan: Manon is an Ironteeth witch and heir to the Blackbeak clan, one of the three clans in the Ironteeth witches. Her grandmother is the Blackbeak Matron. Her coven is known as the Thirteen, the fiercest coven in the Ironteeth witches. She went to Morath to train in fighting with wyverns, along with many other witches, where she develops a strong bond with her wyvern, Abraxos. She is revealed to be the last Crochan Queen. She is the key to unlocking the curse on the witches' homeland, the Western Wastes, as she was born of both Crochan and Ironteeth blood. Her father was a Crochan prince, and her mother an Ironteeth witch. Her alliances change in Empire of Storms, as she pursues change for a greater cause.
- Chaol Westfall: He is the Captain of the Guard, and is very wary of Celaena throughout the first and part of the second book, as he recognizes the threat she poses to the kingdom. He is very close to Dorian and is willing to sacrifice his life for him. Throughout the first book, Chaol helps Celaena get back into shape during the tournament, training diligently with her every morning. In the second book, he enters into a love affair with Celaena. This affair ends after the murder of Nehemia, which Celaena blames Chaol for. By the end of the series, he has rekindled their friendship. Chaol has been described to have a friendly relationship with his guards, and they appear to trust and respect him.
- Princess Nehemia Ytger: She is a princess of the kingdom of Eyllwe. Eyllwe is deciding to rely on Adarlan so that they won't be killed. She pretends that she can only speak in her native tongue and doesn't understand what people say when they are speaking; in the first book, she has Celaena teach her how to speak the common tongue. She is a very strong-willed person and refuses to be looked down upon. Her weapon is her staff that the people from her kingdom produce. She is able to communicate with Celaena because Celaena can speak in Nehemia's language. Nehemia eventually manipulates an acquaintance into killing her to motivate Celaena to free Terrasen, Eyllwe, and other countries from Adarlan.
- Aedion aka Wolf of the North: Aelin's cousin, demi-fae with enhanced sight, reflexes, and hearing, but does not have powers. Aedion has Aelin's snarky, sarcastic attitude and her self-confidence. He served as a general in Adarlan's military before reuniting with his cousin and joining her court. He is unfailingly loyal, willing to die for his queen, and even besmirch his own name for the good of Terrasen. Aedion is bisexual, revealing to Lysandra that he is attracted to people regardless of gender. Aedion is tall (6'3), heavily muscled, and handsome, with a tanned complexion from years in the snow-bright mountains of Terrasen. He has long, golden blonde hair and turquoise eyes ringed with gold.
- Kaltain Rompier: Kaltain is a young lady who comes from a family that is rich, but not so rich that they are widely known or have as many privileges as those in the King's court. She came to the palace as the guest of Duke Perrington so that she could get close to Dorian because she wanted to become his bride. She is willing to do anything to become Dorian's bride and to be in a position of power. She is imprisoned by Perrington and given to a Valg prince, who she secretly destroys. She has a rare form of magic called shadowfire, which made Perrington interested in her. Later in the series, she redeems herself when she gives Elide Lochan a Wyrdkey, then destroys part of Morath and herself along with it.
- The King of Adarlan: Dorian's unnamed father and the ruler of the Adarlanian Empire. He is the current monarch of the Empire and Head of House Havilliard. He was the father of Dorian and Hollin Havilliard, and the husband of Georgina Havilliard. The King was described as not looking at all like his son Dorian; he had a broad frame with a round face an craggy features, and sharp eyes. One of his brows is scarred. When the King was younger, and before he had been taken over by the Valg, he was much like his son Dorian, always poking around in forgotten places where he wasn’t wanted and reading books no one his age should read. However, he was inhabited by the Valg when he was still young, which changed him, making him tyrannical and sociopathic. Under the Valg's control, the King became a ruler who took great pleasure in exerting his will over others. He did not appear to care about anything other than himself and gaining more power. Had he never been possessed, he would have been a loving and kind father, which he showed to his son in Kingdom of Ash. He was also mentally strong for being able to survive Valg possession for decades; it is mentioned that common people could only take a few months of possession before they broke. It was later revealed his name was also Dorian.
- Lysandra: A former courtesan who worked with Arobynn Hamel. The earliest depiction we see of Lysandra is a spoiled girl who always gets what she wants, along with frequently getting in the way of her "enemy" Celaena Sardothien. As the series progresses, however, she displays a sharp mind, courage, and kindness. She has taken the small girl Evangeline under her wing and this is what makes Aelin begin to trust her again. Throughout the series Lysandra proves herself to be a loyal and courageous member of the new court of Terrasen. She is fiercely loyal and very dedicated to creating a better world for Evangeline. Lysandra is a shapeshifter and can shapeshift into any animal or human that she wills. She prefers her ghost leopard form. Lysandra is introduced as a stunningly beautiful curvy woman with dark brown hair reaching down her shoulders and back. Her skin is pale with emerald green eyes, full lips, and voluminous breasts. After magic returns, they become much smaller.
Sarah J. Maas has cited Disney's Cinderella as an inspiration for writing Throne of Glass. While viewing the scene in which the heroine flees the ball, Maas found the soundtrack "way too dark and intense". This led her to re-imagine a number of details. "The music fit much better when I imagined a thief—no, an assassin!—fleeing the palace," she said. "But who was she? Who had sent her to kill the prince? Who might the prince's enemies be? A powerful, corrupt empire, perhaps?"
Originally known as Queen of Glass, the story initially appeared on FictionPress.com. Bloomsbury acquired the novel in 2010, and purchased two additional Throne of Glass novels in 2012. Publicist Emma Bradshaw noted Maas' "huge online following, particularly in the US". Additionally, Throne of Glass became the first Bloomsbury children's novel to be featured on Netgalley.com, attracting requests "from all over the world."
Following its acquisition by Bloomsbury, the story went through a number of revisions prior to publication. Regarding the tale's development, Maas stated, "In the 10 years that I've been working on the series, Throne of Glass has become more of an original epic fantasy than a Cinderella retelling, but you can still find a few nods to the legend here and there."
In an interview prior to the series' debut, Maas discussed the process of creating her protagonist:
I grew up reading books like Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown and Garth Nix's Sabriel—both of which feature strong heroines, and both of which profoundly shaped my identity and empowered me. I started writing knowing I wanted to create books like that—mostly because that's what interests me and where my passion lies, but also because I'd love for some young woman to read [Throne of Glass] and feel empowered, too.
The story's teenage heroine, Celaena Sardothien, is introduced as an orphan who was raised and trained by an assassin. She is characterized as skilled, arrogant, and witty. While shaping her protagonist, Maas was inspired by the heroism of Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings, and by the characterization of Velma Kelly from Chicago. Maas has stated that the latter's "arrogance and fierceness made me want to write about a woman like her—about a woman who never once said sorry for being talented and determined and utterly in love with herself."
The author ultimately designed Celaena as a highly capable character whose talents also form a basis for numerous faults. In interviews preceding the series' release, Maas noted her heroine's issues with "impatience" and "vanity". She also suggested that Celaena would grow while adjusting to her new role. In addition to Celaena's skills as an assassin, Maas wanted the character to have several traits and hobbies befitting her age, including a fondness for "shopping, books, and fine dining", as well as a "penchant for getting into trouble."
In creating the friendship between Celaena and Chaol, Maas gave the characters a number of differences. As the story begins, Chaol is introduced as a strict and ethical captain, while Celaena is presented as a morally ambiguous assassin. According to the author, this contrast contributes to Chaol's character development as his bond with Celaena grows. Amidst their experiences, Chaol eventually comes to view her not just as a captive criminal, but also "as a human being." While writing the novel, Maas envisioned Chaol as a character who had "always seen the world in black and white," and concluded that "Celaena just throws a wrench in that."
Prince Dorian is presented as a suitor for Celaena as well. However, their relationship is complicated by his status as the crown prince.
In anticipation of the series' debut, Bloomsbury released e-book editions of four prequel novellas—The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Desert, The Assassin and the Underworld, and The Assassin and the Empire—between January and July 2012. Throne of Glass was previewed by Publishers Weekly in February, while the book trailer premiered on MTV.com in May. Additionally, film option rights were acquired by Creative Artists Agency.
Throne of Glass has received generally positive reviews, making its debut on the New York Times Best Seller list with the release of the second novel, Crown of Midnight. A review from Publishers Weekly lauded the series' opening as a "strong debut novel." The review went on to state, "This is not cuddly romance, but neither is it grim. Celaena is trained to murder, yet she hasn’t lost her taste for pretty dresses or good books, and a gleam of optimism tinges her outlook. Maas tends toward overdescription, but the verve and freshness of the narration make for a thrilling read." The Guardian gave it 5 stars out of 5 with the author of the review stating that the main character, Celaena, was more "relatable" than most other female protagonists. In her review for USA Today, Serena Chase called Celaena a "next-level Cinderella".
Kirkus stated, "A teenage assassin, a rebel princess, menacing gargoyles, supernatural portals and a glass castle prove to be as thrilling as they sound." With regard to the protagonist, Kirkus noted that "Celaena is still just a teenager trying to forge her way, giving the story timelessness. She might be in the throes of a bloodthirsty competition, but that doesn't mean she's not in turmoil over which tall, dark and handsomely titled man of the royal court should be her boyfriend—and which fancy gown she should wear to a costume party." The review concluded that the story's "commingling of comedy, brutality and fantasy evokes a rich alternate universe with a spitfire young woman as its brightest star."
Throne of Glass was named Amazon.com's "Best Book of the Month for Kids & Teens" in August 2012. Whitney Kate Sullivan of Romantic Times stated that "Maas' YA fantasy world is one of the most compelling that this reviewer has visited all year. The assassin heroine's growth and the multilayered secondary characters are amazing." Serena Chase of USA Today applauded the story's love triangle, and noted that "Maas excels at world building, spicing up this unusual take on the Cinderella story by injecting myths, fairy tales and religious traditions with the magic of a fresh and faulted world. Whereas many authors rely on geographic detail to build their worlds, Maas' environment is more politically driven and her characterizations are deftly drawn to support that sort of structure." Chase also commended Maas for creating "a truly remarkable heroine who doesn't sacrifice the grit that makes her real in order to do what's right in the end."
In September 2016, it was announced that the Throne of Glass series had been opted for a television adaptation by Hulu and Disney-ABC Domestic Television. The series is set to be titled Queen of Shadows, named after the fourth novel in the series, with The Mark Gordon Company serving as the main project studio. The adaptation will be written by Kira Snyder, with the pilot potentially being directed by Anna Foerster.
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