Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review - Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Genre: High Fantasy 
Published: August 2012
Hardcover - 404 pgs 

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 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.

Sometimes you need to throw your plans aside to pick up a book you are pretty much guaranteed to like. I have a massive stack of books sitting on my floor that I need to read, but I picked this up instead. I was on a serious fantasy kick after I finished The Abhorsen Trilogy and needed something similar. I don't think I could have picked the book up at a better time honestly. 

Of course, going into this book I was rather excited. Assassin is one of my favorite character types. They are almost always clever and witty and their occupation makes the story fast paced and intriguing. Celaena is not an exception to this. However, she is not a cardboard cut out either. First of all a lot of assassin characters are male and very focused on the killing for money aspect of their jobs. Celaena is female, obviously, and she is at once both very feminine and focused on her skills and own desires. 

While she is a very dangerous and cunning killer, almost immediately I realized how complex and conflicted she is. One of my favorite of her many amazing character traits is her exploitation of her own femininity. While she enjoys wearing dresses, dancing and the occasional kiss, she isn't going to do any one because she is expected to. I fell in love with her intensity and independence. (I'm already pushing this on people) Speaking of love, there is already set up for an intense love triangle that I am sure is going to take several books to fully flesh out. I have a fairly good record for getting the love interest correct in love triangles, but I have no idea who is going to win out for this one! 

The book is heavy on the world building, but to me it was well balanced with character introductions and a fast paced story. Even though there is a lot of information, you can tell the world is only going to continue to grow and expand. We get a taste of history, politics, religions, cultures, wars, social customs and magic systems within this first book. This world is going to complex and I am excited for every moment of it. The same goes for the characters. This story is pure set up for a long series that I am already ready to continue on with. 

I gave this book a four out of five because this is a set up for an series that I see a lot of potential in. While I enjoyed all the characters, the pacing and the world building, I know this is set up and there are going to be more exciting things coming in the future. The sheer amount of unanswered questions and references to past/future events were the only thing that frustrated me mostly because I don't have the next books to read right now!  So I'm saving my 5 stars simply because I know something even more amazing is coming.

Rating: 4/5  

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