In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
Everyone has been raving about Throne of Glass--and the entire series--for a while now. At first, I was iffy because it's high fantasy and I'm not the biggest fantasy reader. Then I was intimidated by the hype surrounding these books. But I read the synopsis... and it sounded pretty darn good. So when I went to B&N after my high school graduation last June (because what ELSE do you do after you graduate?), I grabbed Throne of Glass. (Actually, I held up two books and asked my brother to pick one because I couldn't choose. He pointed at the other one, so of course I bought this one.) I've had this book in my possession since the beginning of June 2014. And yet, I JUST got to reading it this past January.
Let's just say I am kicking myself EXTREMELY hard right now.
Throne of Glass is amazing! All the time, books are built up to be something more than they truly are. It scares me, honestly. I have books on my TBR waiting to be read that I'm afraid to touch with a ten-foot pole because of this. Some books DO live up to the hype (ahem, have you read any books by Jennifer L. Armentrout? I suggest you start with her Lux series. Definitely lives up to all the love), but I worry. That was so senseless here, though. Throne of Glass, y'all. It deserves all the hype it gets.
I super enjoyed ALL of the characters. Celaena was a fierce, confident MC. And even better, she was fierce and confident, but she was also girly, too. She liked pretty clothing and seeing the finery she was surrounded with at the castle. I loved seeing how layered her personality was, and I suspect it's only going to get more involved as the series continues and we learn more. But Celaena was a protagonist I grew so fond of.
While Celaena was great, Chaol was my favorite. I swear, he is the cutest thing. He's tough and gruff, but he's also pretty shy. He's more reserved. I loved watching him warm up to Celaena and wonder at it. He's so serious about his duties, but Celaena's melting down his guard, and I enjoyed that. The Crown Prince, Dorian is the opposite. He's a ladies man. He's charming. And it took me forever to actually like him. I thought he was nice, but... he was a ladies man. That bothered me. Plus, it took a while for me to actually see his intentions. Dorian was nice, Chaol was nice enough, and Chaol was my favorite--but in the end I do enjoy them both. Super heart Chaol, though.
A great aspect of this story was the friendships. When it comes to girls being friends, I usually don't care. Terrible, I know, but when the friendships are just there as a way to give the girl someone to talk about boys with--and to make the girl not friendless, because she needs to have friends, right?--I could care less. Just bring the romance back and I'll enjoy that. But HERE. Here in Throne of Glass. Celaena makes friends with a princess named Nehemia, and I loved it. Their friendship made me so happy! It felt so real, and I look forward to more.
Chaol and Dorian's friendship was nice, too. They're kind of teetering in this book because of Celaena, but honestly. They're best friends. It was cute.
As for the plot, I found it to be extremely enjoyable. I did guess who the killer was, but the story was crafted in a way that I did doubt for a bit so when the killer was actually revealed, I could nod in satisfaction without feeling bored in the slightest. And the competition. Loved. It. And Sarah J. Maas' writing was gorgeous. I fell so in love with her words. I read this book so slow just so I could savor every last detail of this story. That writing skill made the world building exceptional, which is a worry for me when it comes to high fantasy--will I get bored? The answer here was no. Neither the story nor the world building bored me, both of which were instead weaved beautifully.
On the romance front, we have something of a love triangle. However, it is not an over the top obvious one in this book. We see Chaol warming to Celaena. His side of this triangle was more subtle, more of a simmer as it bubbled to the surface. His sweetness is more discreet, hidden in little things that were so fun to notice as I read. Made me so happy. Again, Dorian is the opposite. He takes time to actually move into serious romance with Celaena, but when he does it's clear. Kind of sudden. His and Celaena's feeling seemed to develop quick, but once I got used to their relationship it grew more believable. As a whole, the romance warmed my heart and I'm so excited to see where it goes and how it develops as the series continues.
Overall, Throne of Glass was the perfect book to venture into high fantasy with. It was also a great start to 2015! I adored the story, the characters, and their relationships. I was absolutely riveted throughout the entire novel, and I am so itching for the time to pick up Crown of Midnight! I want to jump back into this world, get back with these characters. SOON!
5 stars - A gorgeous start to a series I'm officially addicted to!