Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas
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.
This book has been on my TBR for a while, and with all of the commotion about the third book, Heir of Fire, being released, I’ve finally decided it was time to give it a go. Besides, I was in the right kind of mood for a good assassin story.
And now I understand what all of the commotion was about.
I have fallen in love with every single one of the characters. Well, I love the good ones anyway, and I thorough hate the bad ones, which is just as good (and potentially even more thrilling). Calaena has one of the single best personalities I think I’ve ever read in a heroine. She constantly made me laugh, especially when she was teasing some of the other characters (see some of the quotes below). Sure, she has her frustrating moments, but I think that just makes her all the more real. She’s young, and even though she’s an assassin it’s clear that she has room to grow up. I like knowing that there’s potential for her to mature even when I already like her so much.
Tack onto that the wonderful Prince Dorian, Captain Chaol Westall, and, most importantly, Nehemia, you have a wonderful cast of secondary characters who just add that much more. They provide the texture that the story needs, and they all provide the emotional context needed to fully grasp the conflict in the world.
Speaking of the world …
Maas has done a beautiful job creating a multi-faceted, layered world that is just screaming with potential. Even the pieces of the world that we didn’t experience (and indeed, we seemed to have only spent time in one small corner of a vast landscape) have enough background provided that it’s clear Maas understands her entire world, not just the portions she chooses to share with us. We’re only just beginning to catch a glimpse into the magical components of this world by the end of this book, and I must say that I’m fascinated. There’s some seriously cool stuff going on behind the scenes that I can’t wait to bring to the forefront. Allusions to the fae, demons, ghosts (that’s really not the right word, I know, but I’m not sure that there is a right word at this point in time—you’ll understand when you read this if you haven’t already).
The plot was … well, not exactly what I expected having only really read the description. The book overall was a bit slower paced than I had anticipated, but that’s not a problem for me—it still felt natural, and there’s nothing I like less than a forced pacing. There was a bit less mystery/investigation feel than I was expecting, but it was offset by a greater presence of magic than I had anticipated. And several of the threads of mystery that were brought up haven’t been resolved yet, and I ended this book content with the knowledge that there’s a solid macro-plot that will hold the next couple of books together with this one. As my frequent readers know, I love me some good macro plots. 🙂
I don’t want to say much more for fear of giving anything away. Suffice to say that if you haven’t read this book yet, you need to. Now. And if you’re not convinced yet, here are some fun quotes to help:
“How long was I asleep?” she whispered. He didn’t respond.
“How long was I asleep?” she asked again, and noticed a hint of red in his cheeks.
“You were asleep, too?”
“Until you began drooling on my shoulder.”
“No. I can survive well enough on my own— if given the proper reading material.”
“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”
“She moaned into her pillow. “Go away. I feel like dying.”
“No fair maiden should die alone,” he said, putting a hand on hers. “Shall I read to you in your final moments? What story would you like?”
She snatched her hand back. “How about the story of the idiotic prince who won’t leave the assassin alone?”
“Oh! I love that story! It has such a happy ending, too–why, the assassin was really feigning her illness in order to get the prince’s attention! Who would have guessed it? Such a clever girl. And the bedroom scene is so lovely–it’s worth reading through all of their ceaseless banter!”
After a too-long moment, the crown prince spoke. “I don’t quite comprehend why you’d force someone to bow when the purpose of the gesture is to display allegiance and respect.” His words were coated with glorious boredom.
“You’re remarkably judgmental.”
“What’s the point in having a mind if you don’t use it to make judgments?”
“What’s the point in having a heart if you don’t use it to spare others from the harsh judgments of your mind?”
(There were so many quotable quotes that I just listed a few that I hadn’t seen commonly shared; it was tough to narrow down the list!)
Posted on September 6, 2014, in High Fantasy and tagged assassin, book reviews, books, calaena, Celaena Sardothien, champion, duel, fae, fantasy, high fantasy, sarah j maas, thief, throne of glass, warrior. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.