Series: Throne of Glass #1
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on 08-07-2012
Genres: Young Adult
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.
Throne of Glass is a mixture of fantasy and medieval elements. It is what the television show Survivor would be like if George R.R. Martin wrote the script and the script was then run through a young adult censor. It took me longer than I would have liked to finish, but we can all blame that on the time suck that is grad school.
I found the first book in this new series quite enjoyable. I was not sure exactly what I was in for after I read the blurb. It would have been all too easy for the author to make this book a shallow replica of A Game of Thrones. However, Throne of Glass is its own story and brings to life memorable characters who really stand on their own. A lot of the literature I find myself reading these days have characters whose names and personalities I cannot even recall after I’ve finished the book. This is not the case for Celaena, Prince Dorian, Chaol, Nehemia and Kaltain. Each of these characters are shining examples of great writing and proof that the author understands how to show the reader something and not just tell them.
Lots of romantic interludes throughout the novel, mostly between Celaena and the prince. I had expected more of a love triangle situation as that is what most YA novels have been going for, but this is different. Dorian (the prince) and Chaol (captain of the guard) are best friends and, over the short span of this first book, both begin to fall in love with the young assassin. The point where this tale deviates from the normal love triangle is that Chaol shows hardly any interest in Celaena at all and Dorian is not falling all over himself to get to her either. The whole romance angle of the story is quite logical and refreshing for this particularly jaded reviewer.
The only huge problem I had with the book was how confused I felt about what goal the main characters were moving towards. The superficial goal, obviously, was to win the King’s Champion competition, but there were other storylines being woven underneath this and I’m just not sure what Kaltain’s purpose was in the story or this whole wyrdmarks business. I also did not get a good sense of Celaena’s history, which is usually something an author sets up in the first book. I understand what made her an assassin but that is all. I also wish the author had given the reader more information about the lands surrounding Adarlan and their history.
Overall though it was a great story and is a promising beginning. I’m quite excited to get to the next book and see what tasks are going to be put before Celaena and if we get to see the relationship between Celaena and Chaol grow as the relationship between her and Dorian did in this book.