Blurb from Goodreads:
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.
My rating: 4/5 Stars – A good read. I really enjoyed it.
Throne of Glass is an entertaining novel, although it didn’t have as much action, fighting, or assassin-y things as the blurb led me to expect. Instead, the story focuses heavily on the characters and their relationships. (And, yes, there is a love triangle, which features prominently in the storyline, so I wouldn’t recommend this book if that kind of shtick annoys you.)
Despite my disappointment that she rarely gets to show off her assassin skills, I loved that Celaena is a strong, multifaceted heroine with contradictions and faults that make her believable and sympathetic. The other main characters – Dorian, Chaol, and Nehemia – are equally well fleshed out, each with their own histories, desires, and struggles. I have to applaud Ms. Maas for not only creating fascinating characters, but also for writing badass females who aren’t treated like damsels in distress by the men around them. For example, Elena and Nehemia are two of the most courageous and intelligent figures in the book, and Chaol openly acknowledges that Celaena can fight her own battles and doesn’t belong to anyone except herself. It’s so refreshing to read about men who don’t feel the need to be overprotective and alpha-male with the women they care about! Perhaps this is one reason why the romance was one of my favorite parts of the book. In addition, the story’s antagonists are surprisingly interesting characters, and I can’t wait to find out more about their mysterious, shady dealings in book two.
Speaking of sequels, Throne of Glass is clearly just the beginning of a multi book series. Much is left unexplained about the magic system, the characters’ histories, and the villains’ long-term plans, but this book does a nice job of setting up these mysteries to be explored in subsequent installments. In addition to delving deeper into unanswered questions, I hope that future books spend more time on worldbuilding; I feel as if this story barely scratches the surface of a diverse and complex universe with a ton of unmined potential.
My only real criticism is that the plot is somewhat predictable, and I couldn’t help noticing several small discrepancies in the storyline and quality of writing, as if certain scenes, plot elements, and descriptions aren’t quite as well thought out as the rest of the novel. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I would have liked to have seen more action, combat, and perhaps even an assassination or two. But, for the most part, this book kept me glued to the page with intriguing characters, mysteries, and relationships.
Overall, Throne of Glass is a darkly fun, suspenseful young adult fantasy with room to grow into an awesome series. I’m already looking forward to the next installment, coming out in 2013.
- The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (prequel novella)
- The Assassin and the Desert (prequel novella)
- The Assassin and the Underworld (prequel novella)
- The Assassin and the Empire (prequel novella)
- Throne of Glass (Note: The book can certainly be enjoyed without having read the novellas. I went into Throne of Glass without any background and wasn’t lost or confused at all.)
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