(Throne of Glass, #1)
Published: August 7 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 moreINTERESTING 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 toDISCOVER a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
First and foremost, I am very aware that half the people who even see this review have probably already read this book. For reasons mostly involving boredom, reading slumps and the possibility of me not finishing another book for a while, I will review this book anyway. This disclaimer is merely for repetitive thoughts that will undoubtedly occur throughout the review. I hope you enjoy it regardless of them :)
Alright, so the the thing that stuck out to me the most about this book was the characters, which is my first very repetitive thought. I don't have much to say other than I am actually torn, for the first time, on who's side of the love triangle I'm on. I can't begin to describe the characters since that would be a spoiler, and also because I'm not sure I can do them justice with my own words. Celaena was a strange mix of girly, book-nerdy, smart and brave that I found refreshingly unique. I felt myself relating a lot to her, and loving that she was as vulnerable at times as she was great in others. You sometimes read a lot of characters that are either too pathetic or too perfect, so this was a nice, realistic mix of the two. Sarah J. Maas is the new queen of clever, badass, sarcastic, swaggery (don't think that's a word) characters. The love-hate relationships between them were funny, the love-love relationships were heart warming, and most importantly, there were villains well-worthy of beheading, eye gouging, or whatever appeases the dark, sadistic part we all undeniably have in our hearts. That was a very happy sentence.
Moving on to the actual world Maas set up for this series, I couldn't get enough of it. I loved the royal, castle-type setting, with all gowns, parties and fancy rooms. This book was descriptive enough to make you feel like you were witnessing the scenes clearly, but not so much as to bore you with knowledge of every crack in the wall. Again, it was a nice balance between the two. We didn't get to see much of Calaena's life as a slave in the mines, just reocurring thoughts of all the terrible things she went through and how she actually managed to survive. I didn't mind that too much since I enjoyed the setting of Rifthold so much. The only thing that bothered me slightly was that the premise of magic in this book wasn't explained as well as I'd hoped. There wasn't much history to be told, but I suppose that's all we could get since Celaena only knew so much. Info-dumpy chapters are never fun to read. I feel like this book was an excellent start to what i hope will be a magnificent series, if what I've heard is true about the other two books currently out. The world-building was very good.
The plot, however, was very interesting. I didn't expect there to be so many deaths, which only increased my growing curiosity as to who the killer was. This is in the blurb, so I'm not spoiling anything. This book turned out to have a mysterious conflict, which I did not expect. There was also a lot of suspense, which I happily devoured. But again, my only problem was how predictable the resolution was. This is probably another common thing you hear about this book. i expected there to be some kind of major plot twist that would send me rocketing back in my seat in shock, but I saw it coming from the start. This made me contemplate giving the book a lower rating, but no matter how unsurprising it was, I still thought it was written fantastically, and enjoyed it nonetheless. For that I think the book deserves a solid 4.5.
Definitely recommend this for anyone who likes books with mystery, supernatural creatures, snarky characters, or just plain awesome action!