by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
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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 kings 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.
Throne of Glass is the first in a young adult fantasy by Sarah J. Maas. I became completely immersed in the world this author created. I quickly consumed this brilliant, captivating tale. Filled with fleshed out characters and intrigue this is sure to make my top ten list for 2012.
The tale begins when we meet eighteen year old Celaena Sardothien. She is Ardarlan’s most feared Assassin. The world is at war, and Celaena has spent the past year in the deadly salt mines of Endovier. Known for being a brutal prison; most do not last more than a few months. Starved and scarred she is summoned and assumes it is for her death. Prince Dorian Havilliard of Adarlan makes her an offer. If she wins the king’s competition for a royal assassin she can gain her freedom. Despite her hatred for the king, she readily accepts the prince’s offer. At Rifthold Castle she trains, makes friends and discovers secrets about herself and the castle. The tale that unfolds kept me riveted. Filled with romance, mystery and danger, I devoured this novel in two evenings.
The characters were all fascinating from the cruel and power hungry king to the mysterious Princess Nehemia. Celaena has to be one of my all time favorite protagonists. She is smart, fearless and charming. She can be snarky, quick witted and utterly delightful. Trained from the age of eight she is a deadly weapon and yet she can be completely feminine. Her conversations with the main characters had me laughing aloud. She is complex and I loved seeing all the different sides of her. The novel hints at things to come with Celaena and I cannot wait to see her growth in this series. The Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall, is assigned to watch, train, and guard Celaena. He doesn’t trust her in the beginning but their relationship grows. I really connected with him and found him to be noble, sensitive and loyal. The Crown Prince, Dorian Havilliard hasn’t yet learned to stand up to his father. I felt sorry for this quite, sensitive man. Celaena draws him out and allows Maas to reveal the many facets of this would be king. The elements of a love triangle are in place, and I waivered back and forth between the two men. Other characters added to the intrigue, suspense and mystery. Some I adored like Nox and some I loathed like Cain and Lady Kaltain. I seriously wanted to scratch her eyes out more than once..LOL.
The world building was fantastic, brilliant and spell-bounding. Maas breathed life into the glass castle, the characters and the world of Adarlan. In a world filled with Fae, witches and magic, the mortal king has outlawed all forms of magic. Celaena is well versed in the Fae and has a healthly fear of them. When she discovers Wyrdmarks around the castle she is intrigued and sets out to learn their meaning. I became swept up in the mystery of these marks and the discoveries she made. Something is brutally killing off the competitors and it doesn’t appear to be human. This adds a great deal of suspense to the tale. I loved the competitions the champions had to endure. I found myself on the edge of my seat as Celaena completed each phase. Maas has done an incredible job of weaving many different plots into a tale that is rich with well fleshed out characters. While this tale doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger, Maas leaves us with enough unanswered questions and suspense to have this reader itching to read book two.
I highly recommend Throne of Glass to fans of fantasy and strong female protagonist. This is a novel that will appeal to both the young and old. I have added Maas to my authors to read list.