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 exhilarating. 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.
This review is of an ARC received from NetGalley. You can pick up a copy for yourself on August 7, 2012.
There are few beautiful things in this world. This is one of them.
That right there was my ONLY Goodreads status update over more than 400 pages of reading. I read this in one day, in nearly one sitting. (It would have been one sitting if my dad hadn’t interrupted with things supposedly more important. There is nothing more important than this.) This book was impossible to put down right from the get-go.
The main character of Celaena is initially very stiff. For the first few pages, I was wondering if I was going to like her at all. Then she opens her mouth to speak and the snark pours out and I decided I wanted to be her best friend. I found it wonderful how her character unfolds over the course of the novel, and you find out more and more about her as the pages go past. Even in the end of the book, you’re finding out a few more things that add loads of depth to her character and yet add more questions that need to be answered. Despite having no idea what it would be like to live her life, I found myself connecting with her all the same.
Originally, I wasn’t very excited by the idea of a love triangle forming between Celaena, Dorian and Chaol (or Captain Westfall, as the blurb names him). After all, you know how I feel about love triangles. (Hint: I hate them.) However, this one wasn’t badly done. Celaena is absolutely NOT a air-headed girl, and the guys played it out nicely. There was no brooding testosterone match. Plus, the love triangle was hardly the focus of the book AND it ended interestingly. So yes, believe it or not, I have found a love triangle I approve of.
No, pigs are not flying. Yet.
I had heard this world likened to that of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, and I can certainly see why. For one, I’m pretty sure there is only a handful of names in either books that I am actually sure how to pronounce. Another is that you have to try to keep track of a lot of country and character names. (Throne of Glass, however, is nowhere near as bad as Game of Thrones in that regard.) Also, to mention layers again, there are SO MANY. In a time when YA world-building is sometimes circumspect at best, Maas blows it out of the water with rock solid skill and precision.
All and all, I basically have no idea why you haven’t already pre-ordered this book. High fantasy seems to be an abandoned realm in YA fiction sometimes, yet Maas clearly shows that it is possible to have amazing world building, big character casts and countries and still keep it YA. The romance is wonderfully written, and it hardly takes over the novel. There’s a little bit of magic, a lot of snark and a whole bunch of utterly fantastic fight scenes. There are few times that NetGalley makes me ridiculously upset because I don’t own a print copy of this book, and this is one of them. I could lose myself in this world again and again and never get bored.