Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

At 17, Celaena Sardothien is the most renowned assassin in Adarlan, raised and trained by the king of the assassins after her parents' murder  - but it is the rare person who knows that the deadly mercenary is actually a 17-year-old girl.  After a job gone bad, Celaena has spent the last year as a prisoner of the king in the harsh salt mines at Endovier, a nightmare of a place that no one survives for long.  When the Captain of the Royal Guard, Chaol Westfall, suddenly appears at the prison mine to retrieve her, Celaena is sure that he has come to execute her.

Instead, the captain escorts the girl assassin to Dorian Havillard, the Crown Prince of Adarlan.  To her shock, Dorian reveals that she has been chosen to be his champion in a tournament hosted by the king in the glass palace in Adarlan's capital city.  Twenty-four warriors, each sponsored by a member of the nobility, will compete for the honor of becoming the King's Champion.  The winner will spend the next four years carrying out the king's orders in his campaign to conquer the land of Erilea - the losers will be sent back to the prisons and slave ships they were found in.

Celaena despises the king, and his son Dorian, with everything in her.  After the outlawing of magic when she was a child, the king's soldiers destroyed any and all traces of magic - including the people who wielded it, people like Celaena's parents.  There is nothing Celaena would like more than to be left alone in a room with the king, his son, and a good sword.  But if she plays the game and becomes Dorian's champion, there is a chance she could win her freedom without becoming a fugitive.

But when the champions begin showing up dead, victims of a brutal killer who seems more beast than human, Celaena feels compelled to uncover a dark evil lurking deep within the castle's glass walls.  With the help of an unexpected friendship with foreign princess Nehemia, the assassin-turned-champion sets out to discover who is using forbidden magic to kill off the champions.  Stripped of her weapons and surrounded by guards at all times, Celaena finds herself forced, for the first time, to rely upon others to help her - even if they are the people she believed she hated the most.  But can an assassin accept the friendship, or even love, of a crown prince and his captain?

A fabulous mash-up of Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, and last year's MCTBA nominee Starcrossed by Elizabeth Bunce, Throne of Glass delivers duels to the death, courtly intrigue, murder mystery and delicious romance in one adrenaline-fueled rush of a read.  Celaena is strong, fierce, and desperately fighting for her freedom - but she also has a soft spot for the palace hounds and a love and longing for knowledge held in the pages of the books that were denied her in prison.  Fantasy lovers, rejoice! because here is another fun, thrilling read to add to your 2013 list!

(who is loving The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson, sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and features another unexpected fantasy heroine!)

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