Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Released: August 02, 2012
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'She dropped into a crouch. As the blade sailed overhead, she lashed out at his legs. He didn't even have the time to cry out as she swept his feet out from under him, nor did he have the time to raise his weapon before she crouched over his chest, the iron-coated tip of the staff at his throat. She brought her mouth close to his ear. "My name is Celaena Sardothien," she whispered.'
While I had never come across the first draft of this story when it was published under the title Queen of Glass on FictionPress, I can finally appreciate the praising claims of those who had read it. This book was astonishingly good.
With a notorious female assassin as a main character, Thone of Glass redefines the meaning of impressive. Celaena Sardothien is Ardalan’s greatest assassin, both beautiful and deadly, yet with such an infamous title comes a price; she labours away in the salt mines of Endovier, funnelling her strength and frustration into a pickax. When a miraculous opportunity for freedom arrives in the form of the Crown Prince of Ardalan, Celaena is ready to grasp it with both hands. Her task: compete with others for the position of King’s Champion – his own personal assassin.
The determination, wit and pure strength that resonated in Celaena’s character made her instantly one of my favourite female protagonists of all time. Her quick thinking and chillingly precise knowledge of how to incapacitate anyone, anywhere, was both fascinating and strangely exhilarating. What’s interesting, and even slightly amusing, was that Calaena was not just an assassin, but she was also unexpectedly girly. Perhaps my understanding of assassins is limited, but I sure wasn’t expecting that side to peek through. Her playful, sarcastic retorts and unashamed comments were wonderfully entertaining, as was her desire to attend royal parties and fawn over luscious dresses. She never once failed to astound, and and I can think of two male characters who might agree with that.
The Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall, and the Crown Prince, Dorian Havilliard are perhaps potential contenders in a love triangle. I say perhaps as it didn’t quite read like one to me, though I have chosen my favourite love interest (and was left disappointed when the romance appeared to be swaying towards the other guy – I won’t mention who) and hope that the next book is more fulfilling in that regard. Regardless, both men had a strong presence in the story and appealing, sometimes similar, qualities about them. Both were steadfast and determined to ensure Celaena emerged triumphant in the contest, proving to be loyal companions to a sharp-tongued assassin. Where Dorian was the more open of the two, flirting endlessly with Celaena, Chaol didn’t fail to leave an impression with his unbreakable exterior glimmering with brief glimpses of humour and a deeper personality.
With such a well-crafted set of fleshed-out characters, it was near impossible to disengage from the story. The author’s world is completely entrancing, with hidden depths of magic and mentions of Fae lurking behind the primary plot. A few aspects remained unexplained throughout the book, particularly regarding Celaena’s past, but I am confident any dark areas will be addressed in the books to come. Overall, the plot proved to be a gripping one, with the right amount of action and mystery complementing the romance and court intrigue.
Sarah J Maas has delivered a truly captivating story and I can say with assurance that the ten years she spent working on Celaena’s world has paid off. With four e-novellas also available (which I am determined to read as soon as possible), she has set the bar high with this book and I am already eagerly anticipating the sequel.
Rating: 5 stars