Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien, Adarlan’s most notorious assassin has spent the past year in slavery toiling in the salt mines of Endovier as punishment. Tough, most prisoners don’t survive the first month and yet Celaena almost escaped four months earlier. At the age of eight, someone found her half dead along a frozen riverbank and brought her to the King of the Assassins, who trained her to be ruthless. Now she is being escorted by a contingent of guards through a building to parts unknown. To her surprise, Chaol Westfall, Captain of the Royal Guard, has brought her to the throne room to meet Dorian Havillard, the Crown Prince of Adarlan. She is dismayed to find him handsome. He wonders what has made her so tough.

Dorian has come with a proposition for Celaena; work as a loyal servant of the king, become his assassin. In return, she can earn her freedom after six years of service. The catch is the King is hosting a competition. He invited the twenty-three members of his council to bring their champions to train in the glass castle and compete in duels. The ultimate winner becomes the official assassin of Adarlan. Dorian wants Celaena to be his champion and compete against other thieves and assassins from across Erilea. He tells her she will have to compete under a false name to keep her identity a secret. Celaena is famous throughout Erilea and it wouldn’t look good that such a young girl held Adarlan captive. Dorian and Celaena bargain down to four years of service for her freedom. The next morning under guard, Celaena travels to the capital, Rifthold, with Dorian and Chaol.

Once at the castle, word spreads that Celaena is Dorian’s newest lady friend. To the champions, she is a jewel thief and will keep her skills unknown to the others. When the King calls them all together, Celaena is terrified and recalls her sentencing. Dorian and Chaol reassure her. Turns out she is the only female amongst the champions. Over the next thirteen weeks, they will train daily and be tested once a week where one person will be eliminated. Some will die or be let go through additional testing. After the Yulemas holiday, the four remaining will duel each to determining the winner. The court knows that a contest is being held but the details and participants will be kept secret. The King will be gone on business until Yulemas but will receive updates about the contest and any problems.

Celaena begins training with Chaol the next morning and finds that she is a bit out of shape after a year of salt mining. The first week, Celaena trains on her own and privately with Chaol. The day of the first test, Celaena knows something is terribly wrong when Chaol doesn’t join her. In the training room, she finds out that one of the champions was found dead in a hallway that morning. Soon a pattern emerges, the body of a slain champion is found just before each test. Not knowing who to trust, Celaena is just hoping not to end up back in Endovier.

Who or what is killing the champions and why? Will Celaena be able to survive to the end and become the King’s assassin? What happens when her feelings become conflicted not only for Dorian but Chaol as well? Is someone using Celaena as a pawn? Can Celaena stop the killer before it comes for her? And what does the king have in mind for her?

This book is a must read for those who liked Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers and the ending doesn’t leave readers hanging but opens the door for a sequel.

Visit Sarah J. Maas' website.

The author published four novellas that provide background information about Celaena Sardothien prior to her sentencing to Endovier.

Book 0.1 – The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
Readers get a brief glimpse of Celaena’s relationship with Sam Cortland when they go on a mission to Skull Bay.

Book 0.2 – The Assassin and the Desert
Two months after the events of The Pirate Lord, Celaena is training with the Silent Assassins in the desert as punishment for her actions in Skull Bay.

Book 0.3 – The Assassin and the Underworld
Celaena has returned from the desert to confront her feelings not only for her mentor, Arobynn but Sam Cortland as well.

Book 0.4 – The Assassin and the Empire

Celaena has everything she has ever hoped for but it is about to come crashing down around her.

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