Click on cover to visit book’s page on Goodreads
Book #1 in the Throne of Glass series: Released 8/7/12
(but go see if your local library has a copy first)
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 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.
This book was the April selection by the Bloggers’ Book Club group over on Goodreads. Now I knew this series was popular, I have seen the scores of reviews by other bloggers…, but I hadn’t looked into it much. I am slowly coming off my burnout of YA titles (this book helped a lot!), and just wasn’t interested in starting another series. I am so glad the book club selected this book for the April 2015 read, THANK YOU! I am hooked, gone and added everything to my to-read list and am plotting my future reading themes so I can come back and continue this series (damn you Amy, and your obsessive need to plan ahead). I’m hoping I can return to Calaena’s world sometime before August.
Why this book worked for me. First off it doesn’t really feel like a YA level read. Oh sure, there is no sex (not that there isn’t in other YA titles), the book felt like it was more mature than other YA reads I’ve done. Throne of Glass was an excellent balance of a slow-build romance (including a love triangle that actually worked), action, mystery, fantasy and even some dystopian elements all revolving around an intriguing character study. This book reminded me of many of my other favorites in tone: a world as magical and complex as Harry Potter, (don’t hate me, but) a healthier romance that is as exciting as Twilight, and a world that sucked me in as much as Game of Thrones (minus all the killing off of beloved characters). The start was a little slow, and that will be reflected in my star rating, but this world and its characters just blew me away.
The characters were probably the icing on the cake for this read. They didn’t give away all their secrets at once and continued to evolve as the story progressed. None was perfect and all the main players learned something as the plot unfolded, about themselves, their world and each other. We have a group of heroes, because I don’t think Calaena is the only one, that are all babies essentially, living in a cruel world were they are expected to make hard choices in order to survive. Sometimes that mean compromising their principles or finding the strength to do what isn’t easy, but right.
The heart of the story, for me, was the love triangle. The romance in this book is more slow-burn than hot and steamy, but oh so delicious. I am so torn over who to root for, I like both of Calaena’s suitors, or potential suitors. They both have characteristics that I think she needs, but I think one of them does love her more than the other. I guess I’m secretly rooting for him. In the end though I think she would be just fine on her own and free. This is where the romance is stronger and healthier than Twilight, Calaena is more independent and stronger than Bella, she could walk away without her world coming to a screeching halt. I’ll be interested to see how this plays out in future books.
This book left we wanting to know more. More about the world and Calaena’s past, more about this mysterious magic and why it was banished from the world. It also left me wanting justice for all the people who have been oppressed by this land-hungry king. I’m tempted to go and read the prequels, but I think I will read them in order published. This is a great read that had a lot to offer a reader. I can’t wait to get lost in the pages of the next book.