Throne Of Glass (book 1) by Sarah J Maas (book review).
This is book one in the ‘Throne Of Glass’ series which currently stands at four full-sized books and one bind-up of short stories.
Celaena Sardothien is the best assassin in her world but she made a mistake and was caught. She has spent the past year (an unprecedented length of time, most people die in a few weeks) in the salt mines of Endovier. Now she has been taken from that hellhole into one of a completely different ilk and told either she is to take part in a competition to become the King’s champion by killing 23 other hardened criminals and killers or she can go back to the mines. Celaena will have to take part in 13 tests from archery to climbing with a final fight between the last 4 competitors standing. This sounds fine, right? Well now you need to factor in something really killing off competitors randomly in truly gruesome ways. Given that she would only need to work for the King for 6 years if she wins, Celaena takes that challenge in order to win her ultimate freedom while completely unaware of the terrifying danger hidden in the glass castle.
Now you’re probably looking at this 422 page young adult novel and thinking, this thing is enormous! However, you will speed through this book as it’s so engaging with both a well-paced plot and characters that you will be interested in, even the side characters. There is the traditional young adult novel love triangle but this one didn’t irritate me at all and, no, I haven’t decided if I’m team Chaol or team Dorian. I honestly can’t wait to see how that love story pans out, as long as it remains background to the main plot of the book.
I loved that there are so many beautiful descriptions of the dresses that Celaena loves to wear, even though she could thoroughly kick anyone’s butt. She really does revel in her own beauty but not in an obnoxious way, just enough to give you a little bit of sparkle in amongst all the darker elements of the book. As I mentioned, Celaena could definitely beat most people in a fair fight and she does love her weapons particularly knives. She also loves books, which is never a bad thing in a protagonist. However, given that Celaena is a girl, she does have certain disadvantages that the men in the completion don’t have one of which is she gets her period part way through the competition. I have to say well done to Sarah J. Maas for putting this into the book, I think I’m right in saying this is the first fantasy book with a female protagonist where she gets her period and I think that’s great! I’ve always wondered what would happen in this situation and now I know, she still kicks ass!
One bit of the book that I can’t wait to get more of in the next few books and I hope Maas has written more about is the magical element in this book. It appears that the King has a bit of an issue with magic and magical creatures, so he has banished it and them from his kingdom. However, magic does appear in this book linked to a few different characters, some very, very dark and others of a more beneficent nature. I’m really hoping we get more of this element in the next books.
Overall, I loved this book and have all the others waiting for me to dive into them. As a heads up, they appear to be getting bigger as the series goes on but that only makes me happier!
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(pub: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2012. 422 page paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-40883-233-2)
check out website: www.bloomsbury.com/uk/childrens/