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.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Format: Hardcover, 404 pages
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Status: Read from January 07 to 09, 2017
A bad-ass heroine and a pulse pounding plot, Throne of Glass is sure to have you hooked right from the get go with a sassy and sarcastic main character, magic and mystery and eye candy a plenty!
Celaena is an exceptionally sassy, sarcastic and a bad-ass heroine. She is exactly how I imagined a rebellious teen who’s been raised to kill people would act.
We start in the middle of Celaena Sardothien’s predicament, she has been betrayed, caught and forced into slavery in the Salt Mines of Endovier but that’s only the beginning. After a year, Celaena is dragged to see the Crown Prince of Adarlan who wants her to compete to be the King’s Champion — the very same king who enslaved her. If proclaimed the winner, she will work a four year contract as an assassin for the empire that she hates after which, she will earn her freedom. An interesting premise which is soon blown out the water when compared to the various sub plots and the bigger picture set for the whole series!
The beginning is slightly underwhelming, with a lot of talk, introductions and essentially moving from one place to another before any of the action starts. I can understand why most wouldn’t persist past this point but believe me, it is worth it and it’s surprisingly refreshing to have a beginning that fair enough, lacks action but is no less intriguing and gripping without it.
Once in Rifthold the pace picks up and the intrigue, mystery and action starts flying left, right and center! Though the tournament doesn’t take place until the very end of the book, it is filled with plenty to keep us occupied in the mean time – secret passageways and symbols, romance and relationships, training and enemies and not forgetting that ‘something’ which is skulking around the castle killing all the contestants…
For a book with such a simple premise, there are a hell of a lot of layers to it. Each layer keeping us bound to the pages, to the outcome and to the characters. There are plenty of clues littered throughout the book, some obvious some not, that unravel slowly and subtly keeping us constantly gripped, shocked and eager to know Celaena’s fate.
The characters are no less than incredible in this series. They are unbelievably well written, detailed with thorough back story, personal motives, likes and loves and they are just perfection!
Celaena kind of reminds me of an Anti-Hero. She’s feisty, headstrong and slightly self destructive but she is intelligent and independent – something that any young woman should aspire to be. And because of this I admired her choice when it came to Chaol and Dorian, initially I penned Dorian as the most obvious choice for Celaena but as Chaol’s personality and history slowly unraveled it seemed natural for Celaena to fall for him based on their similarities rather than their differences (opposites clearly do not always attract!). Although I didn’t like Chaol in the beginning, I do think that he grew as a character by association with Celaena and in doing so became a better man.
Dorian is adorable and handsome and although he is the prince he has grown bored of the constant labor of court. He is difficult to decipher in the beginning. He is very confident but he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve as many would prefer to think and the court rumors are what makes Celaena skeptical in the first place. He is a complex character that is conflicted between obeying his father’s order and following his heart, a similar internal conflict to Chaol but ultimately his loyalties are in the right place.
Nehemia is brilliant. As if one strong female protagonist wasn’t enough (it isn’t) we get this bad-ass wandering in. Nehemia is the Princess of Eyllwe and she gives Celaena a run for her money in the sass and sarcasm department. So it’s natural that they become the best of friends. Nehemia is in Rifthold for intentions that I won’t reveal but she is an extremely important piece of the puzzle that is Celaena Sardothien.
There are two villains in this book. The first of which is the King of Adarlan. A sign of a brilliant character is one who comes off both cruel and menacing with minimal page time. And this guy gets it. Whether it’s his glares or his sharp words that imply he knows far more than he’s letting on, this guy is not one you want to mess with. Any scene including this brute is set to make your skin crawl.
The second and more prominent villain is Cain. It’s clear from the first meeting that Cain is one to steer clear from. With his reputation and antics in the training area its clear that he intends to win in anyway possible. I shan’t reveal the full extent to which he is willing to go to gain the upper hand but the outcome more than delivers.
The grand finale and the conclusion of the tournament is incredible. The tension sparks off the page along with the swords clashing in the scene and I was literally left on the edge of my seat squealing at every blow and every fall.
Overall, this is a fantastic start to a series and I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected! There was a lot in this book that I didn’t anticipate which just goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover – or blurb!
The world building is astounding, the characters are fantastic — living and breathing people coming to life with each proceeding chapter and the plot only looks set to get deeper, greater and even more enthralling!