Sarah J. Maas is an author I haven’t read before and so it’s part of my New Authors Challenge which is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog. Check out their blog and also the challenge. I’m really enjoying all the new authors I’m reading this year!
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Throne of Glass
by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Published by Bloomsbury USA Children’s, 2012
Synopsis: 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 king’s 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.
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In the garden, the Captain of the Guard stared up at the young woman’s balcony, watching as she waltzed alone, lost in her dreams. But he knew her thoughts weren’t of him.
She stopped and stared upward. Even from a distance, he could see the blush upon her cheeks. She seemed young—no, new. It made his chest ache.
Still, he watched, watched until she sighed and went inside. She never bothered to look below.
“I can survive well enough on my own–if given proper reading material.”
What worked for me:
- The book is very intense. Calaena is an assassin…only 18 years old. She’s been in the salt mines for the past year where most people don’t live more than a few months.
- Lots goes on beneath the surface of the book and many of the characters’ lives.
- I didn’t think I would like to read a book about an assassin. I didn’t want to read a violent book. I was won over by the characters.
- Calaena Sardothien–trained as an assassin from the time she was 8 years old. Dark and angry sometimes, but also loves to read and play the piano. A complex character.
- Chaol Westfall–captain of the guard, friend of Prince Dorian and Calaena’s trainer. He can’t believed she’s not hardened by the people she’s killed. They gradually become friends.
- Prince Dorian–Calaena’s sponsor in the champion contest. The outward face he shows in court as a flirt is not the true one. He doesn’t like his father, loves to read, wants to escape from court.
- Princess Nehemia Ytger–sent to court by her father.
- King of Adarlan–sentenced Calaena to the salt mines of Endovier. Calaena hates him, but she’s willing to be his assassin in exchange for her freedom.
What didn’t work:
- There’s a love triangle which I didn’t care for. I don’t like my fantasies with very much romance and I don’t like love triangles in general.
- I like that Calaena is a nuanced character, but she’s only 18 years old. It’s hard to see how she isn’t completely hardened by all the killing she’s done. She reminds me of the children soldiers in Africa and other parts of the world. They aren’t nearly as emotionally healthy as Calaena is. And I wonder how that can be.
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Even with the love triangle I like the book and am glad to find another new author. I know I will read the next book, but haven’t felt the urge to. I think it’s the same reason I hesitated to read this book…I’m not in the mood for a dark book. Even though this promised to be a dark book it really wasn’t that dark so perhaps the next one won’t be either. I will read it one of these days and discover one way or the other!
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Have you read this book? How did you like it?