Sunday, July 15, 2012

Once I read a book and it was a gas...its title was Throne of Glass

I couldn't help referencing Blondie's "Heart of Glass" in the title of this post. Every time I've opened up the digital galley to read Throne of Glass, those catchy lines (the only ones I know) have skittered across my brain. "Da dada dada, and it was a gas...da dada dada, heart of glass."

Anyway, Throne of Glass was a gas-- an exciting fantasy with a beautiful and deadly heroine. Throw in a competition, a prince, and a unknown evil, and you've got a great escapist read.

Eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien was her country Adarlan's most notorious assassin, until she got caught. Forced into slavery in a salt mine, she refuses to be broken. She remains as cunning and deadly as ever. When the Crown Prince of Adarlan arrives at the mine, she is surprised, especially when he reveals his intention. Celaena is to compete against other villains and soldiers in a competition. If she wins, she will be named King's Champion and be freed after a period of servitude. If she loses, it is back to the mine and certain death.

Wanting her freedom, Celeana agrees-- grudgingly-- to the deal. She is transported to the Glass Castle where she will train and compete under an assumed name. Despite her unbreakable spirit and prickly demeanor, she has caught the Crown Prince's eye and the eye of her trainer, the Captain of the Royal Guard. As training begins, a series of murders alarms castle residents. It appears to be an otherworldly force, but that is impossible because magic has disappeared from the kingdom. Or has it? Can Celaena figure out the force behind the murders and win the competition?

I was skeptical about this story, to be honest. Pretty girl assassin? Handsome prince? I was concerned that Celaena was going to be too frothy and the prince was going to be a doofus. But aha! I was wrong! What I liked a lot about Celaena is that she has an edge to her. She may look awesome in a ballgown, but you best make sure she doesn't have a knife strapped to her thigh. And the prince, Dorian, is handsome but has character to back it up. Their dialogue is well-crafted and snarky. I loved it.

Celaena is not transformed overnight. I tip my hat to Sarah Maas, the author, for developing all of the characters in this book in measured steps. All the parts of this book unfold in a wonderful way, and it is clearly first in a series that shows promise.

The blurb on Netgalley calls Throne of Glass "the teen girl version of Game of Thrones." I have only read the first in that series, but I like to think that Arya Stark would grow up to be like Celaena Sardothien-- crafty and quick with a sword.

This is a debut novel by Sarah Maas, but she's been writing this epic online for years. Congratulations on getting this book in print, Sarah, and I look forward to the next in the series! Throne of Glass will be published on August 7, 2012 by Bloomsbury Children's Books, a division of Bloomsbury Publishing. The digital galley was provided through Netgalley.

Ex libris,


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