Sarah J. Maas
August 7th, 2012
416 pages (hardcover)
Source - Netgalley
"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 exhilirating. 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."
Celaena Sardothien is the kind of character that demands attention. I quickly became a fan of Celaena's character in the first three Throne of Glass novellas (especially in The Assassin and the Desert) because despite her cocky and better-than-everyone-else attitude, she does have some great moments and character growth in each novella. As a bonus, Celaena gets the job done in each of those smaller stories, and she's not afraid to kick some butt along the way.
In Throne of Glass, Celaena is forced to reacquire and moderate her abilities for the sake of survival as she tries to win the privilege of being the King's champion. I expected action-packed story featuring gripping Tests as Celaena proves her worth, but strangely, I instead found that more focus is placed on Celaena's budding romantic relationships and the not-so-surprising mystery of who or what is killing off Celaena's competitors. In the end, I found the story enjoyable but was still somewhat saddened1 by how much emphasis was placed on trivial matters when there was so much potential for Throne of Glass.
Highlights: Vain, deadly, and quick with fabulously witty comebacks, Celaena also contains a softer side underneath all those prickly edges. I enjoyed how Maas focused on only one of Celaena's romantic relationships, and how Maas showed Celaena's struggle to reach her peak after spending so long in Endovier. Each Test kept me eagerly turning the pages for more. Nox and Nehemia were both surprising and wonderfully written supporting characters that I hope to see in future books.
Lowlights: The switching 3rd person POV. The lack of time spent on the Tests, and the amount instead spent hanging out with Celaena in her rooms or flirting with her love interests, who don't compare to the ones present in the novellas. A bit too much time spent on things that got old quickly (Celaena flirting, whining, eating / adoring candy). The main love interest seemed a bit cliché. The mysteries unraveled too obviously.
1 I liked this book, but felt a bit underwhelmed. Other readers seem to be loving it, so I'd recommend Throne of Glass to anyone craving a fantasy novel. I also highly recommend the ToG novellas, which are fantastic.