Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: female assassin, competition, love triangle
Format read: ARC received at ALA.
Summary: Celaena is the world’s greatest assassin who has been taken from prison by the Crowned Prince to fight for her freedom in a competition organized by the King.
An assassin. How is it possible that I just read a book about a female assassin and I loved it? This is so not me, you guys. Maas just killed my perfect track record of avoiding books with castles and horses and kings – and she made me want more. Let me tell you about all the awesome…
Celaena is a badass assassin. The Captain of the Guard, Chaol, and the Crown Prince, Dorian, arrive at Endovier where Celaena is in prison. She was the world’s greatest assassin who was finally captured and sentenced. Upon the very first meeting with Chaol, Dorian, and Calaena, I was in love. She’s tough and sarcastic and inappropriate at the most inopportune times. She doesn’t take crap from anyone and has an overwhelming problem with submission. She gets put in her place when she has to portray a weaker criminal during the King’s competition – she’s forced to pretend to be weak, mediocre, and she balks that she has to hide who she really is.
She must fight for her freedom. The king has summoned assassins, thieves, and ex-guards to train and fight in a competition to become his personal champion. The winner will be granted freedom after serving the king for a given amount of time. Celaena is the only female in the competition – the men she’s surrounded by are disgusting, inappropriate, and completely inferior to her. Who doesn’t like to see a girl triumph over twenty-three guys?
A mysterious murderer is roaming the castle. This person is taking out the champions before big tests and causing chaos. There’s a big game of whodunit as the reader is given glimpses into more than just Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian’s whereabouts. I had a list of people I didn’t trust and wanted so badly to figure out who the killer was. So much suspense!
The world was so vivid. I could picture exactly what her room looked like, where she trained, the lands they traveled through to reach the castle, and had a rich understanding of the glass castle. While I love to fall into the setting of a book, I don’t like being overwhelmed by paragraph upon paragraph of dense description. Maas described the world without me realizing what she was doing — I never felt bogged down in the details, but did walk away wishing I could physically experience the snowy, winter days from within the glass castle.
The third person narrative was very effective for telling this story. I’m accustomed to reading so many first-person contemporary books, but the third person change was refreshing. It gave me the chance to understand more than just the protagonist’s perspective. I had insight to Dorian and Chaol’s whereabouts or actions that let me know things Celaena wasn’t aware of. Maas told the story in a way that still felt very personal and intimate, despite being distanced from Celaena’s every thought.
There’s a love triangle … and I didn’t mind one bit. Dorian is very agressive with his feelings — he’s upfront about how he feels, what he wants. He doesn’t fail to be suggestive or use sexual innuendos to communicate what he desires. He’s known as a bit of a playboy and is accustomed to getting what he wants since, ya know, he is the Prince. Chaol feels that by neglecting his feelings, they won’t exist. How could he, the Captain of the Guard, fall for an assassin? He and Celaena’s mutual hate for one another morphs into a friendly banter. Their friendship is a slow progression. Both boys, clearly, have their strengths and it will be quite entertaining to see who readers favor.
What I hope to learn: I do want to know more about Celaena’s history and what happened to her parents. How did she become involved with the King of the Assassins? There are a few ebooks that tell Celaena’s story prior to where the Throne of Glass begins. Should I read those? I would love to know more about her training and how she came to be the girl I adored so much.
My last words: Celaena is a character I want to spend more time with and I want to know everything about. I can’t wait to see what happens in her future and I am so excited Maas has given me a new world to fall in love with. By the way, I’m totally Team Chaol.
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