Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Release: August 7, 2012
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 menthieves 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
Once Upon a Time, a little story was posted on fiction press. It was called Queen of Glass, and in the years that followed, the story gained thousands of loyal fans. I did not become a fan until back in 2007. I had never heard of Queen of Glass, and the summary was fairly vague. Admittedly, I was more curious about the number of reviews. I wanted to see what the rave was all about...
And I am SO glad I did.
My Senior year in High School was spent in the world Sarah had created, and the characters that inhabited it, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
But Sarah took her story down, in 2008, to pursue publication. It was a bittersweet moment, knowing I couldn't visit the world of Queen of Glass at whim. However, the promise of holding a published copy was more than enough to keep me satisfied. Fast forward a few years, and the story has changed. It's a series now, with a slightly younger Celaena and a new title: Throne of Glass. When I found that I won the ARC on Sarah's blog, I screamed for joy. Literally. And when it arrived in the mail, I screamed for joy again. And then I proceeded to consume its pages. Figuratively.
So let me just say that reading Throne of Glass was....
Just. Plain. Magical.
It lived up to EVERY SINGLE expectation I had, and then some.
Throne of Glass is the story of Adarlan's most infamous assassin: Celaena Sardothin. In a series of events, the assassin is betrayed, captured, and sent to spend the rest of her life serving in the Endovier Salt Mines. She does this for one year, until the eighteen-year-old killer is summoned by the Prince. He offers her a proposition: compete in his father's competition for the "privilege" of being the King's personal assassin or die in the Salt mines. Neither choice is appealing, but the promise of freedom is something Celaena can't resist. And thus, the story unfolds...
First, I adore Celaena. I already knew I would, but she is a character worth noting. Or she'll force you to take notice with a sword at your throat. Yeah, she's pretty kick-butt. She's vain, strong, passionate, head-strong, brave, determined, snarky, arrogant, and just plain awesome. She's more than just your typical, mindless killing assassin. She has a heart underneath her cold exterior. And the two guys to that melt her icy heart are just as amazing: Prince Dorian and Chaol Westfall.
As I said, it's been a while since I read Queen of Glass on Fictionpress. But I remember enough to know that Dorian didn't make too big of an impression in the first draft. Maybe it was because I was younger. Or maybe it was because I was too caught up in the world and plot. In Throne of Glass, though, Dorian stole my heart. His banters with Celaena never ceased to bring a smile to my face. And Chaol, he has my undying admiration and sympathy. It's hard to say which pairing I like best, so for now, I'll just say they are both amazing.
And that's what I love about the love triangle in Throne of Glass: It's not silly or contrived. Both guys compliment Celaena in very different ways, but love hardly enters the picture until the end! The girl doesn't even kiss one of the guys until the last 1/3 of the book! This is no infatuation or lust. It is admiration and respect from both sides. The word 'love' is never, ever used lightly in this book. Dorian and Chaol grow to appreciate Celaena for who she is and who she has become.
I also love that Sarah made a female "nemesis" that I actually felt sorry for. Kaltain is far more than just the typical "b-tchy" girl. She has motives and dreams. She experiences loss just like any of us and I hope she will make an appearance in later books. The fact that Sarah wrote a few scenes from Kaltain, Chaol, and Dorian's point of view was a sweet surprise and made me love each character more.
But enough about characters. Let's talk about the world! I was immediately sucked into the world that Sarah created. It's not overly complicated, but it's still fascinating and mesmorizing. The details Maas provides is just enough that I never felt overwhelmed (a symptom of author info-dump). And the plot! It was just as gripping and exciting as I remember and kept me reading long into the night. It is far more stream-lined and better paced than the Fiction Press draft.
And those last fifty pages were the definition of EPIC. I will say no more, though, because that would spoil the surprise and suspense.
Simply put, Throne of Glass is everything I hoped (and imagined) it would be. The wait for book two will be agonizing!!!!!!! The only consolation is that there is no major cliffhanger at the end. Just the promise of exciting adventures to come and I can't wait for Maas to take me back into the world of Erilea.
Thank you, Sarah, for providing the ARC and for writing such a beautiful story.