Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

* * * *
Available August 7, 2012

Description taken from the author's website:

When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King’s Champion and be released from prison.

 Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

 The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.

And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she’d have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival–and a desperate quest to root out the source of evil before it destroys her world.

Throne of Glass is being touted as the teen Game of Thrones. I have not watched the series nor have I read those books, so I have no means of comparison.  However, with the way things played out in this outstanding debut, I have no doubt that Sarah J. Maas has quite an epic adventure in store for us!

Celaena is an assassin armed with a sharp mind, a keen eye and cutting wit. She is by far one of my favorite heroines that I have encountered. Little does Celaena realize that accepting Prince Dorian’s offer to become his champion would send her on a journey that would both challenge her and also introduce her to a court life that is riddled with political drama and intrigue. Overseeing her training, is Chaol Westfall, the no nonsense captain of the guard and also Prince Dorian’s best friend. He comes off as gruff, but we all know that means deep down inside he’s a softie, right? And Prince Dorian is simply misunderstood.

There are many things I appreciate about TOG. It’s a story about Celaena and her fight to win her freedom. While there’s a hint of a possible love triangle between the three main characters, the story never veers off course. Celaena is smart but she’s not a woman who uses her femininity to manipulate either Prince Dorian or Chaol. To that end she stands in stark contrast to the other ladies at court. Thankfully, Celaena is not on her own in this regard as she befriends the visiting Princess Nehemia. Princess Nehemia's agenda at court is not at first clear but together with Celaena, these two are formidable young women and powerful allies. Celaena is also a brilliant athlete who takes her training seriously. She employs her keen power of observation and instinct to get a leg up on her competitors. I also enjoy how politics and dark magical forces slowly entwine themselves with the competition.  Living in a world where magic has gone underground adds great suspense to the story. Celaena learns that the mysterious deaths of her fellow competitors are part of a very sinister plot to undermine the current regime and that her presence at the competition is no coincidence. She grapples with the truth that her destiny is far greater than just earning her freedom. Once she accepts that, her dedication and resolve know no limits.

There were a couple times where the story had me on edge wondering if Celaena would meet with an untimely death. Granted I know that there can’t very well be a series without her but I was seriously caught up in the thick of it and worried for her! And I freely admit that I was like a giddy 14 year-old girl impatiently waiting to find out who she’d kiss first. I’m not telling :)

Throne of Glass is an impressive debut that's a whole lot of fun - I know many readers will take a shine to it. Celaena’s witty banter with both Prince Dorian and Chaol, particularly Chaol are fantastic. While Prince Dorian is playful, Celaena's and Chaol's tendency to goad each other provide for some of the funniest moments in the book. The political dynamics introduced, including many levels of deception and backstabbing, are only a small hint of the drama to come!

~ Bel

Visit Sarah J. Maas' website at http://sarahjmaas.com/ where you can access the pronunciation guide. Also, in anticipation of the release of TOG on August 7, three e-novellas are currently available for download: The Assassin And The Pirate Lord, The Assassin And The Desert and The Assassin And The Underworld. Also check out this stunning book trailer for TOG:

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