Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas
Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Release Date: August 7th 2012
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 king's 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.
Great books are always hard to review, because you never know where to start your praising. Throne of Glass is one of these books.
The book is about Celeana, an imprisoned assassin, who is offered freedom by Prince Dorian if she can win a royal fighting competition. She is brought to the castle, where she is trained by Chaol, Captain of the Guards. The book gets a supernatural twist when dead mutilated bodies of competitors and strange magical marks show up. Can Celaena figure this out and win the competition?
The first thing I love about this book is the protagonist Celaena. She is the perfect heroine: strong, smart, witty, but still girly. In the beginning of the book I did not really like her, she came over as arrogant and vain, but slowly I came to know more about her and began to like her. The only thing remark I have is that we are told she is a badass assassin, but I never really experienced that. She made a lot of comments about how good she was (which made me think she was arrogant at first) and of course a few threats, but the reader never gets proof of the fact that she is an assassin. From all the events in the book I could only conclude she was a normal young girl, who loves parties, dresses and candy, not a vicious killer.
I would have liked to know more about her past. We know her parents were killed and she was trained to be an assassin by another King, but that's it. I guess I should check out the novellas accompanying this book, maybe they'll tell me more.
I absolutely loved the love triangle in this book, and that does not happen often (read: never). You could sense the triangle from the beginning of the book, but it never fully developed, which meant it is not plot-overshadowing, there is no deciding between boys, no fighting boys.. Awesome!
First we have Dorian, the Crown Prince. Celaena hates him, but finds him attractive at the same time. Dorian himself is quite funny, but a womanizer. I was not really a fan of his character and the relationship between him and Celaena did sometimes seem a bit forced, unnatural. I did like that he is trying to become a better person than his father, I think he would be a good king.
And than there is Chaol. If I would participate in the whole 'team' thing, I'd be team Chaol.
He just has this growing affection of Celaene, rather than Dorian's open flirtation, which I love. I really liked the development in their relationship, they first became friends and at the end it seems they both are attracted to each other. Chaol is funny like Dorian, but he is so much sweeter and more supportive. What he did for her at the last Test... sigh.
The other, secondary characters were amazing too. They were all well-developed and added their own thing to the story. The King, with his creepy plans; Princess Nehemia, whose friendship with Celaena I really liked and Nox, the friendly competitor. I hope we will get to know them even better in the next book.
I loved the supernatural/magical part of the book. It was super creepy. I mean dead mutilated bodies, creepy demon beasts, ghosts, weird marks, I would not have closed an eye at night if I were Celaena. It was maybe slightly predictable who the bad guy was, but the 'ultimate' bad guys who were behind the whole plot I never guessed. At the end I really wanted to know more about the lost magic, the Wyldmarks and Celaena's connection to 'the other side'. And what does Nehemia have to do with it all? Something for the sequel I hope.
The writing and world-building was also great. The reader slowly gets to know more and more about the kingdom, its enemies, the magic and of course the characters. This is all done in a detailed manner, love it. The only thing that irritated me in the writing was that often instead of saying 'Celaena did..', it said 'The assassin did..'. I just found this a bit weird.
The only thing I was a little disappointed in, was the lack of actual competition. I already mentioned I did not really experience Celaena's assassin side, I guess that was because most Tests in the competition were briefly described or only mentioned. I would have loved to read more about Celaena fighting or even to get to know the other competitors better.
I would definitely recommend this book. It is a great, captivating fantasy book, with a good love triangle and creepy magic.