Title: Throne of Glass
Series: Throne of Glass #1
By: Sarah J. Maas
Published: 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 four 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.
Throne of Glass is the first book in the same named series by Sarah J. Maas. This is a fantasy series, labeled as YA, but in my opinion, it leans more towards the NA end of the spectrum. These are books that I had been hearing about for what feels like forever and while they looked great, I had so many series on my to read pile already, I hadn't taken the time to add a new one. Lately, I’ve been on an audiobook kick (the joys of working data entry) and I saw this series again and said, aha, now is the time. I’m so glad I did. I think. I’m very aware of the evil possibilities that could be awaiting the characters I’ve come to love.
To set the scene for you, I need you to picture a brutal king; unforgiving and cruel, ruling in a world that was once lush with magic, overflowing with art and so many varying cultures that there was always something new to be learned or discovered by traveling beyond your own borders. This world is now turning gray and dull, though. Magic has been shut down somehow-and that one brutal king is dead set on ruling everything and everyone in this world and he doesn’t matter who gets hurt in the process. The main character, Celaena is from one of the conquered kingdoms and has spent the last year in a slave camp.
There are so many things to love about this book. For one, it doesn’t give up its secrets all at once. Honestly, this first book while wholly entertaining was mostly educational, setting the stage for the rest of the series while introducing the main characters and giving you a sense of who they are and how they interact together. That being said, Throne of Glass was enthralling and held me captivated from start to finish. Never at any point did I sigh and think oh my god, get on with it. No. I was completely invested in the characters and the story and I merely wanted more.
Let’s talk about the characters a bit. Celaena is a force to be reckoned with. Formerly an assassin, the land’s most renowned assassin, actually, she’s now competing with a group of men to become the King’s Champion and earn her freedom from said king and her past crimes. She’s smart and spunky and sometimes cool towards people, but she is not heartless as I’ve seen in some other reviews. She’s complicated, but worth the effort to get to know in my opinion. Dorian, the crown prince, is about as different from his father as he possibly could be and he quickly becomes friends with Celaena to everyone’s horror (especially his best friend, the Captain of the guard, Chaol). Chaol seems to toe the line between despising Celaena and all she’s done and admiring her for her unbreakable spirit. I love all three of them and their progression and growth over the course of the book, even if Chaol and Dorian can sometimes be a bit narrow minded in the respect that they don’t always take time to think about what Celaena’s life must have been like before they met her.
This is a fantastic first installment in my opinion and it definitely leaves you desperate for book two, so you can continue the story and find out what’s coming next. If you love strong female characters, fantasy and excellent writing, you really must go out and grab a copy of this book NOW. I promise you won’t regret it.
About the Author:
Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows, Book 4, will be out in September 2015), as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (out 5/5/15).
Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.