Throne Of Glass (Throne Of Glass #1) by Sarah J Maas
August 7, 2012
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “- she crouched over his chest, the iron-coated tip of the staff at his throat. She brought her mouth close to his ear. “My name is Celaena Sardothien,” she whispered.’ “
18-year-old Celaena Sardothien was one of the most feared assassins in Andover until she was caught and transported to the deadly salt mines of Endovier. After a year of hard labor, she is approached by the Crown Prince of Ardalan with an offer of freedom. Act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Should she win, she only need serve the kingdom for five years. Should she lose, she’s back in the salt mines. Her competitors? Thieves and other warriors gathered from all corners of the empire. Each sponsored by a member of the royal council.
Celaena is no fool and quickly accepts his offer. Raised by the Assassin King as his personal weapon, she dreams of the day she is finally free. She quickly adapts to the training sessions with the handsome but standoffish Chaol Westfall, Captain of the Guard, but finds the intrigue of court life boring. That is until the Crown Prince starts making his interest in her known. Sparring with him provides much needed diversion until her competition start dying off one by one. Celaena uses her skills in an attempt to route out the killer before she becomes the next victim, only to find help from some unexpected allies. Allies who shine light on her past and lead her towards a destiny that will change her life forever.
This epic debut unveils a YA fantasy based storyline loosely crafted along the same lines as George R.R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice and Fire series. Well-plotted and cast with characters that are strong and personable, Throne Of Glass is filled with tense suspense, delicious betrayal, and dangerous antagonists. A fascinating read that captured me at page one. Instead of being overburdened by overwrought interpretation and world building at the sacrifice of story, or being heavy on story but leaving the world largely undefined, Throne Of Glass is a perfect balance and hits all the right notes. The world building is a wonderful blend of mischievous romance, non stop action, realistic main characters, intriguing secondary characters, and nail biting betrayal from all sides. Well thought out and fast paced, it creates a satisfying arc of development for the main characters and culminates in two very different sort of conflicts – one that threatens the life of Celaena and one that threatens her soul.
Our heroine, Celaena Sardothian, is one of the greatest assassins in Andover. She is female, beautiful, and extremely deadly. Though young, only eighteen, she has already lived a lifetime that is reflected in her attitude and skills. Captured and sent to die in the salt mines, she has not broken as so many before her. She is an interesting mixture of strength, wit, and pragmatic views that is offset by her extreme feminine nature. She is a girly girl. I enjoyed watching her ruminate on the various ways of killing a man, only to have her squeal over the latest fashion in court attire. Though her life is dependant on winning this competition, she sails through life with aplomb, eager to take advantage of what life in the palace has to offer. This both fascinates and confuses the two men who are risking everything to assure her victory.
The romance is more of an undercurrent through the main storyline rather than a dominant aspect. It runs playfully through out, neither affirming or denying the possibilities. There are two romantic contenders; Chaol Westfall, Captain of the Guard and Dorian Havilliard, Crown Prince of Ardalan. Both have something to offer Celaena yet all three stand to lose everything should they fail the objective at hand. This particular aspect also endeared me to Celaena because while she was attracted to both, her life and freedom mean more to her. That’s not saying she won’t accept and use all the help they offer. Both men are strong solid presences in the story, united in their quest for Celaena to survive and win the competition. Opposite in personality; Dorian is more open and flirtatious while Chaol’s quiet nature is broken by bits of humor that hints at interesting things to come.
The secondary characters are dynamic building blocks in this unfolding story as each one has a secret waiting to be revealed, adding suspense and tension to the story. Deeply characterized, no one is as they seem and we find ourselves on constant guard as each betrayal and deception is revealed. An engaging plot line and multiple sub plots feed upon one another as each revelation brings us closer to the end. Maas only scratches the surface in this installment and I look forward to watching Celaena’s full story reveal itself in later books.
Sarah J Maas’s debut is a captivating fantasy that will appeal to both young and adult readers who love a strong female protagonist, non stop action, and a tense mystery that leaves you reeling with each delicious clue. An altogether satisfying read that ensures Sarah J. Maas is an author to watch. I look forward to the second installment. Those who want to know more about Celaena, there are four novellas currently available that sheds light on Celaena’s life as an assassin and what leads to her imprisonment.