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Saturday, 6 April 2013

Book Review: Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas

Published August 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children's

Goodreads Description
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 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.

I remember hearing a lot of hype over this book when it first came out last year. After skimming the hundredth book review about how amazing this book was, I decided to put it onto my to be read pile. I didn't get a chance to read it until last week, but I have to say that I definitely agreed on how good this book was!

From the summary, Throne of Glass reminded me a little of Hunger Games with the whole need-to-kill-your-enemies-or-be-killed-tournament. But there was a lot more going on than just the tournament:

Celaena Sardothien is the region's most famous and talented assassin. Taken in at the age of eight by the king of assassins, Celaena has committed many heavy crimes and when she was finally caught, she was taken to the salt mines of Endovier. She spent a year slaving away in prison, barely surviving each day when she was finally taken out and offered a chance at freedom from the crown prince.

The catch? Become his champion in a tournament to find the best assassin in the region. Celaena hates the idea of being a tool to anyone, but she realizes that this is her only chance at freedom, so she accepts the conditions that should she come out as the victor, she'd have to serve the king for an additional four years before being a free woman.

Disguised as another lady in prince Dorian's court, Celaena spends her days training and practicing with the captain of the guard, Chaol Westfall. However, as the tournament progresses, strange deaths occur after one another, all including the participants of the tournament and Celaena is forced to solve the mystery.

I have to admit, the part that drew me in wasn't quite the tournament itself, but rather the parts where she has to train with Chaol. Sad but true. There's just something so alluring and sexy about battle commanders... like Dimitri Belikov from Vampire Academy and damn, he is drop dead gorgeous.

Unlike Dorian's flirty, womanizing and gentlemanly ways, Chaol is almost his opposite with his stoic, loyalty and sense of duty. He is constantly aware that Celaena is a criminal who could kill him and the prince if he let down his guard. However, as he spends his days with her, he sees more of her gentler side and is reluctantly drawn to her. I really loved Chaol's character. He is just so dynamic. One moment, he'll be dragging Celaena away in shackles and chains with a cold and uncaring face, the next, he'll be blushing and tripping over his feet. I enjoyed reading about his conflicting thoughts about seeing Celaena as a criminal. He doesn't want to care for her, but he cannot help it

Dorian is the prince of Adarlan. With such a role, he is responsible for his people and is forced to entertain the nobles at the court. However, he hates court life, especially now that he's at the age where he could marry. Polite and warm hearted, Dorian is loved by his people. Wanting to prove his independence, Dorian is the one who offers Celaena the chance at freedom if she wins the tournament. Like Chaol, Dorian had very little intention of interacting with her more than needed, but over time, he sees that she is very different from the rest of the noble women. She is able to make him forget about his title, and make him laugh like no other noble can. And so, like Chaol, Dorian falls for her a little more throughout the story. However, unlike his childhood friend, Dorian is less subtle with his attempts to woo her.

Romance aside, I enjoyed reading about the mysteries surrounding the tournament, especially when the participants are being taken off one by one. And how none of the deaths were natural. At first, I didn't think that there would be supernatural aspects with this type of story, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was and it made up endless possibilities as to how Celaena would solve this mystery.

The writing was very smooth and easy to follow. When I first picked up the book, I was interested in the summary, but I didn't think that I would love it so much. Other than times I was forced to put the book down, I didn't want to because it was so suspenseful and I wanted to see if Chaol was able to convey his feelings. The ending wasn't much of a surprise because I kind of knew how it would end, but even then, there were some aspects that weren't predicted and I can't wait to see where Sarah J. Maas will take us with the next book in the series, Crown of Midnight, now that the stakes are even higher.

Source: Borrowed
Rating: 5 coffee cups (Loved it and couldn't put it down)

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