Title: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genres: magical/fantasy, badassness, assassins, (there's lots of ssss going on here.)
Rating: 4.4 stars
Summary: 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 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.
I finally finished it! A few months ago, all I saw on the blogs I follow, was Throne of Glass, the new awesome book. I eventually bought it from TBD so I could get the UK cover (which I think is way more bad-ass, see below) and while I waited for it to get here, I read the four prequel novellas.
Usually I read the ".5" books in a series either way after, or not at all. But these four are so good! I'm very glad I read them first! Celaena's adventures leading up to Throne of Glass give her a whole other dimension, insight to who she was before the salt mines. I high recommend spending the $4 to get them all, before picking up Throne of Glass. And if you've already read it? Read them anyway, and maybe the wait till the second book in the series will seem less far away...
Fantasy is my favorite genre, (sci-fi is close behind) and for the most part, this is pretty good fantasy, especially for a debut author. I'm really picky with the fantasy I read; it has to have the right balance of well written action and believable world building, complicated court politics and that dash of romance.
The world building is slight, but since 90% of the story takes place inside the castle of class, let's say the castle building is really good. The castle is beautifully described, down to the very curtains in Celaena's chambers. The four pre-novellas actually did most of the world building in my head, but I have a strong feeling we shall be leaving the castle with Celaena in the next book. Also, maps! In the beginning of the book. Any fantasy book needs maps.
The contest plot is like any contest plot...and it reminded me a whole lot of The Goblet of Fire. Also, the mysterious monster killing people and blood written on the walls...The Chamber of Secrets...this isn't a bad thing, it just kind of made me laugh! The similarities are outstanding but it's still plenty enjoyable.
Love triangle: I'm actually a fan of this particular one. Usually I hate them. I totally like Chaol more than the stupid Prince Dorian, but as far as how it's played out, it's done well and sort of equally. While there's tension between the three, with all that fun first-book-unsaid-feelings thing going on, it doesn't overwhelm the other parts of the plot. I don't really have more to say than that.
Other characters: Slightly underdeveloped and confusing. The POVs switch to a few other people's now and then so you can see what's going on behind Celaena's back, but by the end, I was still confused as to who was on who's side, and what they knew. So the supporting characters are okay.
Some books I recommend if you enjoyed this, or visa versa:
The Graceling Trilogy by Kristin Cashore
Any of Maria V. Snyder's books
Here's a small cover comparison: US/UK
The US one I initially loved, as I saw it all around Goodreads. But then when it came to stores, I looked closer and decided Celaena looked just a bit too nice and pretty with that, dare I call, touch of kindness in her eyes?...Then I stumbled upon the UK cover...It's almost otherworldly and weird and she's coming at you and you're thinking, "Oh shit, she's going to kill me." At least, that's what I thought right as I clicked the "buy now" button. :) What are your thoughts?