Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
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.
Ok, so I didn’t totally love this one. But I am more than intrigued by the premise and by the questions laid out in this first novel. Also, I know there’s at least four more books in this series (I think?) so I have to hope our main character does some growing. And that the author fixes some of her own issues with the writing.
I’m going to open up this up by stating this book is actually inspired by Cinderella. Really. Looking back, there’s a scene that definitely screams Cinderella, but I didn’t pick it up while reading. My edition of this book has an interview with the author and it was mentioned in there. This was a surprise and I wonder what role that inspiration will play in the development of the series.
All of my issues with this book come from the main character…or how she’s written. I think the author makes Celaena much too silly in places. The exclamation point thing kind of killed me a little bit. And some bits of the writing were just ridiculous. Again, during the author interview, the author mentions that Celaena is most like her and has some of her personal likes and dislikes. I think that’s where my confusion with her as a character is coming in…she’s a totally badass assassin who can sometimes act very, very silly and makes questionable decisions. Case in point: Celaena ends up getting a puppy at one point and someone suggests she could name it Goldie. To which she responds that’s the stupidest name ever and decides to name it Fleetfoot. Uh, I don’t think Fleetfoot is much of an improvement.
Overall, the worldbuilding, premise, and set-up are very, very solid. What the characters lack now, I have to hope they make up for in subsequent books. In any case, it wasn’t so distracting that I had trouble reading this book. I read it pretty quickly so it definitely wasn’t a huge hangup.
This series came well recommended from a friend so I will definitely be continuing on. Have any of you read this series? What did you think of this first book vs. the later books?
Buy this book: Throne of Glass