YA Novel Series Features Teen Assassin

YA Novel Series Features Teen Assassin

Shea Roberts, Staff Writer

“Throne of Glass” is a young adult fantasy novel series authored by Sarah J Maas. The series, which was released from August 2012 to October 2018, follows the journey of Celaena Sardothien, a teenage assassin in a corrupt kingdom who slowly comes to embrace her destiny to save the home and people she loves.

While the series will satisfy anyone with a taste for adventure, magic, a healthy shot of romance, and well-detailed writing, it will likely be especially inspiring to women. Even in this age, it’s rare to see not just one, but a cast of leading, capable ladies.

Readers meet dozens of diverse women—all incredibly strong, and not just in the shallow physical way that tends to constitute a “strong female character.” Some of the women are strongest because they don’t use their fists, but simply because they care.

That’s not to say women stay out of the action: men are certainly not the only warriors on the front lines. While three-dimensional characters are more satisfying to read, it doesn’t make it any less satisfying to see ladies pick up swords and weapons and kick ass.

The romance that “Throne of Glass” illustrates is another bonus. Romance is built from a shared understanding of each other, along with the difficulties their partner has faced, and then both partners must work to balance their lives. It’s a nice change of pace from the stereotypical relationships that tend to follow where women are the sole caretakers, while men are the tough providers. Both partners in every relationship do some of the emotional labor.

However, there are things that might annoy people about relationships. Because the setting is a fantasy world, some of the characters are Fae, who have lived for thousands of years and are more in touch with the “animal” side of their instincts, so to speak. This means some of the males have a possessive streak, and while the women generally tell them to knock it off, that being a part of a relationship at all might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Plus, on a disappointing note, there is little to no LGBTQ+ representation. One of the main characters confirms he is bisexual, but readers never see him in a relationship with a man. There are several lines that mention gay or lesbian relationships, but they’re between minor characters, and often their relationship is only touched on once or twice.

The largest bit of representation comes in the form of a lesbian relationship between a secondary main character and a minor character, which is exciting but not overall great—especially since both characters are introduced in the second to last book.

While Maas makes large strides to defy many typical gender norms, she mostly makes do with straight people. This doesn’t necessarily hurt her story, but it could stand to make it better if more readers could see themselves represented.

“Throne of Glass,” overall, talks about friendship being a strength, love being powerful, and destiny being something that you can always, always try to make for yourself. If you’re looking for books to read, put this series at the top of your list.