Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas

The story opens with master assassin Celaena surviving her first year of a life sentence in the brutal salt mines following betrayal.  The tyrant king has planned a competition to appoint a King’s Assassin and the dashing Crown Prince has decided she will be his champion in the contest back at the king’s castle of glass.  If she beats out the competition, she will be awarded the title and earn her freedom in four years.  Only 18, she has endured a great deal and feels confident in her abilities, but first she must get back into shape, having barely survived the lashings and salt mine slavery.  During the months of competition she earns the admiration and love of the Crown Prince and the Captain of the Guard (love triangle).  She discovers a dual purpose in coming to the castle; to win her freedom and to fight an evil that is controlling the throne.  It turns out Celaena is not your average teen assassin; she has been blessed by mystical forces, and perhaps has a higher purpose to save the lands. 

It is hard not to like Celaena, Crown Prince Dorian, and Chaol, Captain of the Guard. Celaena has an incredible work ethic and will to survive, while blessed with beauty (of course).  If the evil forces don’t come after Dorian, he will make an excellent king.  And tender Chaol – how can he be Captain of the Guard if he has never killed a man before?  That’s a bit of a puzzle, but I’m still rooting for him.  Celaena’s character reminded me of Alanna, heroine of Tamora Pierce’s Tortall novels, but Celaena has endured a great deal more than Alanna.  Plenty of action and dialog spice up the writing so that it all flows nicely.  While I could see the plot developing so that there really are no huge surprises, it was still great fun to read.  I appreciate that this book is fine for young teens.  Kissing is the extent of the sexual content and there is no foul language.  There is plenty of violence.  After all, this is a competition to become the King’s Assassin and the evil beast that kills off competitors is rather messy when gutting his victims.  The four novellas about Celaena’s life before her salt mine imprisonment are available in ebook format , however Throne of Glass can stand alone.   I look forward to more books about Celaena and this kingdom where the characters should continue to deepen.  Highly recommend for teens.

NetGalley review     Publication date 8.7.12

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