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 four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. 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.
It’s a funny thing when you hear nothing but praise and rave reviews for a book — the expectations when you read it are so high. I’d heard so much about Throne of Glass, that it was one of the best series ever. I did enjoy the book, but I didn’t love it. It feels awkward to be in the minority this way, but there you go.
Maas’ writing is lovely. She has a way with words and descriptions. The world that she created was vivid and easy to understand.
I wanted to love Celaena, but I didn’t. She is an 18 year old assassin, the best one around, she’s lived as a slave in the salt mines for the last year and has managed to survive when most die within months. She has all of this grit and toughness, but we don’t really see it much in the book. Mostly, the characters refer back to it. Granted, she is in a competition during the course of the book against 12 others to become the King’s Champion. She shows toughness and skill there, but we don’t really see that part of her that everyone talks about. Instead she seems way more concerned with pretty dresses and attending parties. It’s a bit Cinderella-like.
Then there is the love triangle — Celaena is attracted both to the prince and the captain of the guard. This seemed a bit forced to me.
I did enjoy the friendship between Celaeana and the visiting princess and the involvement of the magical elements in the story. And I did want to read and find out how the story ended, but I don’t think this is the series for me.