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I absolutely, completely and totally loved this book! The story, the characters, the setting and even the romance, every part of it was wonderful!
As most of you guys already know, I'm a huge fan of fantasy fiction but I must admit, after hearing all the hype around the blogsphere about how amazing Throne of Glass is, I was a little bit sceptical of whether it would live up to expectation. However I can now say that my expectations were totally shattered! This book is everything I thought it would be plus much, much more. It definitely falls into my list of top five all time favourite YA fantasies!
Eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien was once Adarlan's most feared Assassin, until a deadly betrayal led to her capture and lifelong imprisonment in the harsh slave mines of Endovier. For twelve months she has suffered and laboured there, surviving through impossible odds through her determination and sheer will to stay alive. But when the Crown Prince of Adarlan arrives with a proposition for her that could earn Celaena back her freedom, she jumps at the chance to leave despite the possible life threatening catch to the Prince's offer.
To regain her freedom, Celaena must battle it out with 24 other mercenaries in a competition to win herself the title of Kings Champion and become the royal household's official assassin. But when some of the other competitors start turning up murdered, horribly mauled and disfigured by something unknown, Celaena begins her own investigation that leads her down a path full of magick, adventure and insidious plots. And along the way the young assassin is about to discover, there may be more to her destiny than she ever possibly imagined...
One of my favourite things about this book was its characters. Celaena particularly was just an amazing protagonist and she really made the story great for me. Sarcastic, witty and tough as nails, I also loved that she had a girly side and could be quite vain at times, especially with her weakness for fancy clothes and trinkets.
Prince Dorian was also delicious to read and I enjoyed watching how his courage developed as he grew more confident in standing up to his father. However it was the Captain of Guard, Chaol who I really loved. Handsome, thoughtful and kind, the relationship between him and Celaena was moving, sweet and so often entertaining.
Yet watching the love-triangle form between Dorian, Celaena and Chaol was simply nail biting. It's clear to see that both men really grow to care for her even, each loving her in different ways for different reasons. I really can't wait to see where the romance goes in the next book although I confess, Dorian's cute but I'm definitely team Chaol!
The secondary characters, from the other competitors to the evil Duke and manipulative King were also very well crafted. Each one having their own secrets and hidden agendas, all of which made for a very layered plot that certainly kept you guessing. I also enjoyed how the author, Sarah J Maas wove magick and fae lore into the story and combined with the constant trials of the competition, it kept the pacing of the book at a nice even level.
Also although it left many questions unanswered, as well as ending on a teasing promise of things to come, I did feel like the book ended where it should - on a happy and satisfying note.
So overall I just loved this story and can't wait to get started on the e-novellas - The mini prequel stories of Celaena's adventures before she was captured. Fantasy fans or anyone who particularly enjoys other authors such as Maria V Snyder, Tamora Pierce of Garth Nix, guys this book is so for you! Totally and utterly recommended! 5 Stars!
About the book
Throne of Glass is the debut novel by Sarah J. Mass. It was published by Bloomsbury on 2nd August and the book is 432 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.
In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.
Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament--fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin's heart be melted?
(Taken from Goodreads.com)
What I thought
Even though I was still on my blogging break when this was released, I had still managed to hear about it over Twitter. Throne of Glass sounded exactly like the kind of book I would love so I couldn't wait to read it.
I loved protagonist Calaena. She has spent most of her life being an assassin... until the day she was caught, captured and sent to a slave mine. Being an assassin, it became quite clear that Calaena was someone not to mess with. I instantly loved how quick witted and clever she was and that she wasn't afraid to say what she really meant. As the book went on, I only grew to like her more and more. The tournament she has been entered in meant getting to know that she kicked ass with all different kinds of weapons and was as tough as steel. At the same time though, Calaena manages to show her feminine side which was a nice touch.
While at the castle, Calaena grips the attention of two men; Prince Dorian and Chaol. I have my personal favourite of the two but I could see the attraction with both men. Dorian, to begin with came across as selfish and annoying but he grew on me throughout the book. As he spends time with Calaena, his personality comes through more and more and I could see that he was actually a really nice guy. However, Chaol was the one who did it for me. He was sweet and caring, even though he tried to hide that at all times. He doesn't underestimate Calaena and in fact, he knows exactly what she is capable of and that scares him. I wish that I had gotten to see more of Chaol though outside of the training etc.
Secondary characters help to make this story even more interesting. As Calaena is taking part in a tournament, there are other competitors, some of which we get to know better and some that we don't. Princess Nehemia provides some great scenes with Calaena and also getting to know more about her was fascinating. As she was from a different part of the world that Sarah J. Mass created, not much is known about her but some things are revealed throughout the story. There is also the King who again, not much is known about. I wanted to know more about him and why Calaena hates him so much but I think that this is something to come in the next book.
My only problem with this book was the pacing. At times, it felt like nothing at all was happening. Calaena spends a lot of time sitting around reading (that could never be truly bad) but it was quite boring to read about at times. I think that the time could have been put to better use by having Calaena spend more time with Chaol or if more had been explained about the world that she lives in. There were some quite exciting moments in there too though so it wasn't all bad in regards to pacing. The plot was interesting and different though and I really enjoyed discovering this new world that had been created.
Throne of Glass is a fantastic debut novel and now I can't wait to read the next instalment.