Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass #1
Published August 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury
In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
**A review copy was provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.**
Wow - just...wow! So Throne of Glass had been sitting up on the top of my wishlist since before it's release and as always, when I get ready to read a highly-anticipated book, I was worried that it wouldn't live up to the hype. For, about two seconds. I'm exaggerating (a little), but in all honesty, within the first few chapters I was more invested in this story than even I was expecting! This was a richly-woven tale of epic proportions that had me hooked right away and never let go.
Throne of Glass tells the story of Celaena, an assassin trained by the most lethal man in existence since she was 8 years old. Celaena is currently serving out a life-sentence in the worst kind of jail/labor camp imaginable when 2 strange men come calling with an offer: if she can survive and win a deadly competition with 23 other assassins, killers and thieves, she has a shot at winning her freedom. Soon she's left the salt mines behind for the Glass Castle itself; home of the King of all the lands! She has little time to adjust and begin training to win the competition before a mystery emerges; someone is killing off the other competitors one by one, and Celaena will be forced to try and figure out what is amiss in the Glass Castle...before it's too late.
Celaena is a character unlike any other I've read. She's lethal, cunning, cocky, intelligent and angry. Her life, both prior to and during her imprisonment, have clearly left their mark on her. I knew going in that a lot of fellow readers had some issues with her attitude and her behavior but I'll be honest: she drew me in from the first chapter and pretty soon I just had all kinds of love for her! Her personality was just so strong, her confidence so unwavering - not traits often given to female characters but with Celaena, it just worked. She could have come off as needlessly arrogant, but to me it was clearly a defense mechanism, she did what she had to do to survive. Anyways she soon starts displaying her full-on kick-ass qualities as proof of her bad-assitude. That being said,she also had well-hidden vulnerabilities which as a reader we are privy to and helped make her relatable and more human.
"The leaves dangled like jewels - tiny droplets of ruby, pearl, topaz, amethyst, emerald and garnet; and a carpet if such riches coated the forest floor around them."
The intrigue was just sky-high in Throne of Glass and it remained solid throughout. So many elements that I loved were in play here and it all just came together brilliantly. It's almost hard to fit this book into one category: it's an adventure and a mystery all at once set in a historical-esque world with fantasy, paranormal and romantic elements lightly sprinkled in for good measure. It also has it fair share or creepiness and gore which I wasn't expecting but worked perfectly with the kind of story being told. The mythology within the story was perfectly mysterious and it added a whole other layer to this already impressive world. Somehow all these elements instantly mesh together beautifully and certainly stands as a testament to author Sarah J. Maas' mad storytelling skills. The writing style was, like the characters and the world they live in: indescribably addictive with plenty of breathtaking passages along the way where the words seemed to leap of the pages and paint a living picture in my mind's eye as I was reading. I just couldn't get enough!
"Libraries were full of ideas - perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons."
Finally, I loved that for a medieval-feeling world, Throne of Glass had a definite feminist vibe. In this world, they worship a Goddess over all else, and the Goddess has other lesser Gods at her service. Add in an MC who is female who more than holds her own against any man she faces, in battle or otherwise who also pulls off almost obscene amount of swagger... and yeah, this book is pretty much made of win.
Bottom line? Throne of Glass was a perfect mix of action, suspense, world-building, character-building and romance with truly lovely prose, rich with vivid imagery. Everything worked for me in this one and I can't wait to jump right into Crown of Midnight...which I plan to do right now!
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars