|I like this cover better--very bad-assed|
416 pages, hardcover
Available August 7, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Review copy provided by publisher via BEA
In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing she never thought she'd have again: a friend. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world. (back copy via ARC)
There were times I LOVED this book, and there were times I just wanted to shake that conceited, self-centered beyotch Celaena. Oh, I do enjoy when a book plays with my emotions like that, even if the main character did completely drive me up the wall more than half of the time.
Bear with me here. First off, it's a very medieval, interesting world. There are hints of magic, which grow stronger as the story progresses. A power-hungry dictator rules the kingdom and wants to rule the entire world, burning and destroying it until it's shaped exactly the way he believes it should be. There are the stereotypical airheaded social climbers and mean girls as well as some very mysterious and intriguing characters, which balance the stereotypes out.
The main character, Celaena, is an eighteen-year-old assassin. She's trained for this role with one of the best since she crawled out of the river when she was eight. She's feared across the entire kingdom and, though she's been captured, tried, and sentenced to life in the salt mines, no one knows she's "just" a girl. She knows how to do most things so much better than anyone else in this crazy assassin competition the king's cooked up, she's practically filing her nails during the Tests. She's awesome and she knows it.
Of course there are two guys who like her, too. Her. A convicted felon and assassin. *sigh* One is the stalwart Captain of the Guard and the other just happens to be the kingdom's Crown Prince. She mostly lusts over the prince and, for the most part, ignores the much more interesting Captain. There are strong hints that she's much more than a lowly river rat but the two men don't know this. Oh, love triangle. How you muddy up the plot.
Don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed this story. I wanted to know what was up with the strange markings around the castle, who was killing all the combatants, wanted to know more about the odd foreign princess with a mysterious agenda, and about the magic that whispers around the edges of the kingdom. But this story also induced moments of eye-rolling on my part. Overall, however, THRONE OF GLASS is an action-packed, intriguing novel with a strong set-up for future stories.