Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: 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 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 exhilarating. 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.


There's been so much buzz surrounding this book in the past few months that I had to read it. However, I had pretty high expectations for it since I've heard it mentioned so often which usually (but not always) ends badly. I was pleasantly surprised when this book didn't disappoint. How could it, with a hardcore heroine like Celaena? A case in point:
"She stalked towards him, keeping her sword sheathed at her side. Verin's grin widened as he lifted his blade. 
He swung, but Celaena struck, ramming her fist into his arm, sending the blade soaring through the air. In the same breath, her palm hit his left arm, knocking it aside too. As he staggered back, her leg came up, and Verin's eyes bulged as her foot slammed into his chest. The kick sent him flying, and his body crunched as it hit the floor and slid out of the ring, instantly eliminating him. The hall was utterly silent. 
"Mock me again," she spat at Verin, "and I'll do that with my sword the next time." She turned from him, and found Brullo's face slack. "Here's a lesson for you, Weapons Master," she said, stalking past him. "Give me real men to fight. Then maybe I'll bother trying."
While this book was slow for about the first half of the book, the remaining story more than made up for the time it took to get there. I loved the growth of Celaena who, if I'm being honest, I wasn't a fan of at the beginning of this book. Come to think of it, I wasn't a fan of Dorian (the Crown Prince) or Chaol (the Captain of the Guard) either. But by the end, I loved them all in their own ways.

I went into this book not knowing that it would have hints of magic and fantasy characters. While it's talked about a shockingly few number of times, I am undecided if I thought this element helped or hindered the story. The last few assassin books I've read have left me wanting more action and less politics or magic or unnecessary fantastical detours. What ever happened to just a girl that kicks butt and takes names? Why does the butt-kicking have to be at the king's bidding? Can't she just do it for the sheer joy of a job well done? (This is obviously not serious.) Surprisingly, buried in all the boring bits of history and war, there was a wonderful story here full of suspense and action and romance.

Speaking of romance, that was probably the most frustrating part of this book for me. I hate when I feel like I pick the wrong guy to root for. I really wanted her to end up with a certain someone, which she didn't in the end. It hints at maybe a future for the pair, but in a consolation prize kind of way. Don't be deterred though. It still had plenty of love story. I just felt like it was with the wrong guy. And even worse, I liked the guy she chose too! My heart, the traitor.

This is one I highly recommend. I hope you like it as much as I did!

Happy Reading! 

**I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

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