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 three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. 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.
Why I Read This:
Prince, fantasy, assassin, competition. The summary hit on so many things I love to read about.
Despite the fact that I really wanted to read this book, I opened it up and immediately had this unexplainable fear that it would be too much like gladiators or too much like the Hunger Games. I was completely wrong about that! Throne of Glass definitely has an extreme competitive edge to the plotline, but it takes on it's own unique twist.
For one, the competition is supposed to be friendly - no blood shed. The king is simply looking for a champion (for what we don't find out until the end). He might not care if people die in the process, but he is also not demanding of bloodshed. That doesn't mean that the competitors wont do anything to win though. They all have their pride on the line - bragging rights - and some of them like Celaena also have their freedom to fight for.
As a fantasy this was a fascinating read as well. I felt like the story had a strong edge to it, much like many dystopian's I've read, but the world is distinctly based in fantasy and filled with nobility such as kings, princes, earls and ladies. There is also magic in this world, although it has been outlawed by the king.
If there was anything I didn't particularly care for it was the love story. I mean, I did like the tension between Celaena and her admirers but I had hoped it would take a different direction than it did. Calaena was an interesting character to watch. I never knew what she was going to do next so I suppose she really surprised me by actually liking one of them back!
This was a great read. I hadn't read this type of fantasy in a while and I'm glad I did. The writing is so strong, the characters are complex, and there are lots of surprises.
I borrowed my copy. This review is based on reading the ARC.