Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass is the second teen-girl assassin book I've read in the past few months, and while I preferred Robin LaFevers's Grave Mercy (which sang to my very soul), Maas's offering is pretty fun, too. Between the two of them, “Ruthless killer” is fast becoming one of my favorite types of fantasy heroines.

At 17, Celaena Sardothien was the kingdom of Adarlan's most notorious assassin... then she was betrayed, captured, and sentenced to a slow, brutal death in the salt mines. But after a year of beatings and hard labor, Adarlan's crown prince gives Celaena a choice: remain in prison, or compete against nearly two dozen of her fellow criminals in a series of tests, with the eventual “winner” becoming the king's personal assassin. Celaena accepts his offer, but abandons her private plan (of getting the hell out of dodge as soon as her guards are distracted) shortly after reaching the castle, when she realizes that proximity to the royal family might give her a chance to actually do some good—or at least get revenge.

The best thing about Throne of Glass is Celaena herself, who is alternately practical and self-indulgent; capable of incredible brutality and yet giddily appreciative of puppies, hot guys, and candy. Spending time with her was a delight, and I enjoyed both her determined attempt to win the contest and her budding friendship with a mysterious visiting princess. The romantic elements of the story, sadly, are less successful. Celaena is torn between two suitors: the crown prince, and the captain of the royal guards. Romance transforms the prince from an intriguingly complicated, calculating character into a “love will conquer all” sap, while the captain starts feeding Calaena tips like “Having other people underestimate you is good!”, which one hopes a small, female, teenage assassin would already know. I have every intention of picking up the second book in this series, but I'd be more than fine if the author decided to put her romantic storylines on the back burner, giving her ruthless, intelligent heroine a chance to shine alone.
Posted by: Julianka


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