Buy from Amazon • Buy from The Book Depository • Buy from Barnes & Noble • Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on August 7, 2012
Genres: YA Fantasy
Source: eARC via NetGalley
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 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.
And now the moment of truth: Throne of Glass itself. I went for the novellas first and after seeing those slowly decline in quality, I was worried the novel itself would share those flaws. I suppose I worried for nothing; Throne of Glass was the lengthier version of everything I wish the novellas could have been. I still had a few problems with it, but I’m hooked well enough to stay around.
Maas writes a clear and very readable story with few to no narrative tripping points to knock me out of Celaena’s world; it took me only two days to read the novel in its entirety. If it hadn’t been for the pesky necessity known as sleep, I would have read it in one. About halfway through the novel, I exclaimed to myself, “Finally, someone gets that a woman can be a butt-kicker and still like clothes and jewelry and girly stuff!” Celaena was someone I loved reading about because of her bright yet hardened personality and the challenges she faces.
Celaena, Prince Dorian, Captain of the Guard Chaol Westfall, noblewoman Kaltain Rompier, and the king himself all take their turns as narrators and show the readers far more than just what’s going on with the tournament. A secret scheme or two is hinted at and while they are not given much of a spotlight, there is the promise they will come to be very important. The grand mystery of this novel—who is killing the other potential champions?–may seem a bit obvious to some, but red herrings and small hints keep readers guessing. Believe me, I was happy to see improvement in the author’s ability to write a mystery. The second novella The Assassin and the Desert also had a mystery as its central plot and it was a poorly written one, in my opinion.
When it comes to Celaena’s clothes and how each of her two love interests feel about her (ah, love triangles: how I have not missed them), we get plenty of description. Concerning the all-important Tests that determine who stays in the competition and who gets knocked out, we get very little. I wanted to see more of the challenges Celaena had to go through. The focus on somewhat unnecessary details and the romance slowed down the pacing to the point where I had to force myself to keep reading until I hit a point where something of interest was finally happening.
There will be two more books in this series at the very least and that means at least two more books for the explanation of Celaena’s world, but I wanted to know a little more about the magic and the history of it in their world. In a scene at the beginning of the novel, Celaena wakes up in a tent to find small footprints leading in and out of the tent, along with flowers at the foot of her cot. This is promptly dropped and never brought up again. It may have been small, but I really wanted to know about it.
My recommendation? Pick up the novel but think long and hard about whether or not you want to read the novellas. They’re nothing compared to the book. As for me, I’ll be patiently awaiting the second novel in the series so I can see where the scheme revealed at the end of the novel will go and what Celaena will do about it.
(But I will continue to ignore its marketing as Game of Thrones for teens or, more specifically, teenage girls. I’ll tell you what Game of Thrones for teenage girls is: Game of Thrones. It really gets my goat when the marketing for a novel stereotypes it to “_____ for teenage girls” because it stars a girl and there’s more romance. That’s kinda sexist, don’t you think? I had this same problem with the way Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini was marketed as Percy Jackson for teenage girls. Last time I checked, Percy Jackson for teenage girls was Percy Jackson.)