- Sarah J Maas
Review Copy courtesy of Bloomsbury: Released 2nd August 2012
After serving out a year of hard labour 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...
It feels like I’ve been waiting ages for this book to come and for once it was worth the wait! Celaena, assassin extraordinaire is given the chance of freedom from the mines of Endovier, if she takes part in a tournament to become the king’s Champion. The fact that she hates the king and all his does in his never-ending conquest, doesn’t stop her from grabbing the chance and working hard to return to her full fitness after a year of drudgery.
Celaena is thrown into a situation which will test her strength, her courage and challenge her core beliefs. After reading four novellas starring Celaena, I felt like I was meeting up with an old friend – but this is a friend who has been changed by her experiences – and she still has some secrets. Celaena is an angry young woman – she is proud, arrogant (deservedly so) and confident in her own abilities. But she is strangely vulnerable when it comes to trusting others – she doesn’t have a sneaky, cunning side to her, being straight forward and wilful. She is a great role-model – if you don’t mind the assassin part!
I loved the introduction of the new characters – Captain Westfall and Prince Dorian, both old-fashion types of men, full of courage and morals in a world lacking in both. Her friend Princess Nehemia is one intriguing character and I want to know more about her, while her companionship with fellow competitor Nox was built on respect and I liked him more than I expected. In short, every character was unique and interesting.
The plot meandered slightly, taking place over so many weeks that so much time was rushed over a simple – training continued. Tension built towards the end and many foundations for future conflict and excitement was laid. In many respects this was very much setting the scene and introducing the new set up. However, the writing was easy to fall into and get swept along with – Sarak J Maas has a deft touch with words, painting pictures of the world that makes it feel like you are there in the winter air yourself.
Throne of Glass is a fun read with traditional fantasy elements. It is so easy to swallow that you are left immediately desperate for more (there is definitely something addictive in the writing!). I think it will be a long wait for the next book in this series to come out.
Recommended for fans of Kristin Cashore and Maria V Synder. 8.5 out of 10.