Title: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: August 7th, 2013
Page Count: 404
Rating: Magically delicious.
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.THE REVIEW
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.
[Summary Source: Goodreads]
Uh. Homegirl Celaena's thrown into the salt mines because she gets caught on an ASSASSINATION MISSION. (Mission? I'm gonna go with mission, even if that's not the technical term.) Anyway, Celaena's basically spends a year dying in the salt mines until Prince Dorian and Captain Chaol Westfall show up and pull her out. Why spring Adarlan's Assassins from prison? Well, the king, Dorian's papa, is looking for a Champion (*cough* mercenary) to do his dirty work and he's holding a competition - 24 assassins/soldiers/criminals large - to do a whole survival of the fittest kind of thing.
Oh. And there's some kind of magical scary thing involved. It's going around killing competitors and making trouble. Said magical scary thing also indicates a larger magical scary thing plot. So yay for 5 more books and an untold number of novellas!
Let's break this down:
I think most of my issues with this book come from not reading the novellas before starting this book. I hear said novellas cover a lot of my plot hole problems - such as WHY Celaena was in Endovier to begin with. I mean, I get it, she's Adarlan's Assassin. Obviously she was caught trying to kill someone. But WHAT HAPPENED? And how does Sam fit in? I don't usually get caught up in this kind of stuff, but it kind of nagged at me all book long, since said information is pretty crucial to the plot. But yeah, I think I probably should have read the novella's FIRST. And that need kind of annoys me since it's the first book in the series and, in my mind, the first book is supposed to build the foundation, not need foundation to stand on.
That being said, I do think Book One put down a lot of really great groundwork. At first I was all: WHY IS THERE SO MUCH STUFF GOING ON (the magic, the competition, Celaena's princess bestie, ALL OF THE ROMANCE - to name a few), but then I found out there's going to be SIX BOOKS in this series and realized all of the plots are going to be needed to fill out SIX WHOLE BOOKS. So really, better there be A LOT OF STUFF with foreshadowing and whatnot set out in Book One than not enough stuff/a lack of foreshadowing (because, really, there's nothing I hate more than a lack of foreshadowing).
But, like, those gripes aside, I really did enjoy this book. Celaena is a fun, snarky protagonist. She's strong and very much someone you should be afraid of, but also somehow soft and girly all at the same time. Which makes sense because she's a teenage girl and not a machine.
And then there's Dorian and Chaol. In my unprofessional opinion, t's way, way, WAY too early to be choosing teams/ships/sides, but, like, I'd probably pick Chaol. Once upon a time I fell for the entitled prince (*cough Jonathan of Conte, Prince/later King of Tortall) but NOT AGAIN. Of course, Celaena doesn't have the experience I have with fictional royalty, so this is clearly just a comparison I've drawn for myself. But yeah. Both men are WONDERFUL as characters in this story. I loved getting to know Dorian better - what with all of the layers and crazy father having status. And I really enjoyed getting into Chaol's head, what with his tough guy exterior and all.
OH and that reminds me, I think my FAVORITE part of this book is the POV. I like not being limited to what any one character is experiencing. ESPECIALLY since this is going to be a six book long situation. I know I keep coming back to that, but I can't let it go. I'm pretty sure Sarah Maas didn't even know it was going to be six books when she started and yet she set the whole thing up brilliantly. I mean, imagine SIX BOOKS from JUST Celaena's head? I'd want out of her brain, y'know?
The long and short of it?
Plot: THERE IS SO MUCH HERE and I'm so excited to see what happens to all of it.
World Building: Again, there is so, so, so much here. Conquest, magic, assassins... I like what I'm reading here, I just need to read these novellas and get my backstory in place so I don't feel like a ship lost at sea - or some other, terrible cliche.
Character Development: I don't think this book had a single character I wasn't interested in. Even though there was a lot of people to keep an eye on, Sarah Maas really manages to make each of them count - and flourish in really amazing ways.
Prose: I really felt like I was IN this story and that's all about the quality of the prose, for me.
Would I Recommend This Book?: This really is a book for fantasy lovers. It's very magic heavy and I think you have to be prepared for that. While I do think people who aren't usually big fantasy lovers would like this book - Celaena and Sarah Maas's writing style are very accessible and relatable - it's a lot to digest. So, non-fantasy-lovers, tread carefully. And everyone else? Read the novellas first.
DORIAN? CHAOL? SAM? NOVELLAS? CHAMPIONS? MAGIC? I'm just throwing words at you guys right now and I'm not even sorry. Mostly because I just want you all to weigh in on all of these things. In the comments below, of course.