Throne of Glass
Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: August 7th 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Genre: Fantasy, 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 kings council. If shebeats 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.
A story on fictionpress has to work very hard to stand out from the masses. A lot of stories get published up there every day, every hour, every minute, and there has to be something about your chapter that gets people to come back and read it every time. The stories that stand out the most are almost always the ones with unique, quirky and entertaining main characters, and Throne of Glass fits that mold perfectly, giving the professional published world the kind of main character it needs more of, in my opinion.
The prose and feeling of the series reminds me a lot of Maria V. Snyder and Kristin Cashore. The idea of the story is similar to that of Kiera Cass's The Selection, except the competition is to be the King's Champion, competitors are dying and it takes place in a fantasy kingdom. The amount of work that
has put into this novel shows as the entire book has a polished feel to it. The
world building is intriguing and leaves things open for the sequels (which
there have to be, because I will die if I can't read more). In fact the book,
although being its own book, also feels like an introduction and set up for
future book. It's odd to try and explain as so much happens in the book, but I
can't help but feel like there is so much more to happen in the future.
One of the few issues I had, more so in the beginning than later, was the insertion of non-Celaena points of view. Even though it helps to round out what's really going on, and I do support the use of it with the "villains", I'd rather be as in the dark about the two love interest's feelings for her as Celaena is and not see the little things from their points of view. There is something about being kept in the dark that makes a love story feel more natural.
For the most part I'm very impressed and give a lot of respect for Maas getting a story published from Fictionpress and having it being promoted and be given an awesome cover. I used to be an avid Fictionpress reader and it just warms my heart.
I like how the romance portion of Throne of Glass finds itself unresolved by the end. It's very obvious that the Prince has puppy love for Celaena and she at least is in lust with him. On the other hand we have the Captain's silent and slow-forming attraction for her forming. Both are enjoyable interests that I kind of wish it was socially acceptable for her to have both and live happily ever after, but alas there will be only one in the end and I really do wonder which one Maas and our Assassin shall have her end up with. I like the fact I can't pick it out, and that it's for more realistic reasons than overly dramatic ones.
I really liked the mystery added on top of the competition, it layered the storyline in a way to make it more interesting. I did feel like the climax had a deus ex machina feel to it, with Elena just coming to the rescue and poof everything is better, and that combined with the point of view issue are the reasons why I didn't give this book a full out 5 Bookmarks.
I recommend this book for fans of Kristin Cashore and Maria V. Snyder. Celaena reminds me of Katsa from time to time, but she is also her own original self. The characters are interesting and the mystery will have you guessing. It is also a very good example of YA Fantasy.