Series: Throne of Glass #1
Published by Bloomsbury on 8/2/2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
Throne of Glass is full of win!!!!
I haven’t been this excited for a fantasy book in a long ass time. I mean that from the deep, deep depths of my little book lovers soul. I can’t even remember the last true fantasy book I was this excited about. Maybe the Belgariad Series by David Eddings? And they aren’t even remotely similar. Throne of Glass had me wanting to swing from the ceiling like a monkey. I even have the tweet to prove it:
Caelena is an assassin who was captured and thrown into the slave mining pits of Endovier as a punishment after her trial. She’s thus far managed to not get herself killed – assassins are a resilient lot, afterall – when she’s summoned for an audience with the Crown Prince of Adarlan. He offers her terms: fight to become his father’s champion at the royal Palace in Rifthold and earn her freedom in a number of years. She accepts.
The world-building is vivid and detailed. Sarah Maas has managed to create a world I can just step into and find my way around, with her book as my map. The castle at Rifthold is entirely made out of glass, and she waxes poetic from character perspectives about the design, from the inside, and out. It sounded truly magnificent – and ominous. Since most of the novel takes place there, Maas doesn’t have as much time to dedicate to Endovier or the woods, but what time she does give them is well done.
The character development is truly something spectacular to behold. In the beginning of Throne of Glass, Caelena has to chant to herself to fear not, which I found odd coming from an assassin. But as the novel progressed and I got to know her character more, I saw how she was from deep inside. And I realized that sometimes courage comes not from the absence of fear, but from the willingness to face it head on. Caelena is courageous.
The rest of the characters are just as extraordinary: Prince Dorian passes himself off as whimsical and trivial, but as the pages flipped, I found him to be serious and full of ideas that could better his country (if only his father wasn’t running it). Likewise, the yin to his yang, Captain of the Guard, Chaol, is stoic and distant, and takes himself and his duties so seriously. He’s also Dorian’s best friend. These two guys captured my heart, but I must say, I did have a favorite. I won’t tell you who it is, because the way my review will continue could spoil it for you.
I also enjoyed the paranormal elements (magic) of Throne of Glass as well. What fantasy novel is without its paranormal subplot? There are dirty things afoot in the palace and if Caelena wants to survive to see the day of her duel, she must figure it out! But I especially liked that Maas incorporates these elements into the history of the kingdom. That was just cool.
The only thing that bothered me about Throne of Glass was that, at times, the pace seemed to lose steam. It wasn’t all the time, and it wasn’t often, but it was just enough that it did feel longer than it actually was and I found myself checking to see how much further I had to go before I was finished. But it was still a bad-ass page-turner of a story and I would recommend this to everyone who enjoys fantasy novels. And then some! It ended exactly how I hoped it would and I can’t wait to see if there is more coming from this author. In fact, I would love to see the author continue this into a series.
Libraries were full of ideas – perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.