Throne of Glass
by Sarah J. Maas
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. (description from Amazon.com)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Celaena is a broken, yet resiliant character. She's notorious and almost anonymous at the same time. Though she's the kingdom's premier assassin, most have no idea what she looks like and no one knows her true past. She survived a year in a death camp, working the salt mines, and that is almost unbelievable. Is it any wonder that she terrifies and enchants almost everyone she meets?
Though love triangles start to feel old if they are not done well, in this book, the triangle totally worked for me. Perhaps because Celaena continuously puts her own wellbeing first...the way things should work! Though she's entranced with the Crown Prince and would gladly be with him, if she is to be his Father's Assassin, a relationship could never work... and then there is the Captain of the Guard. Though he does not elicit the same, ahem...lustful...feelings in her, there is a soul deep connection that can only make them truly friends...and perhaps more someday.
Maas did a masterful job at worldbuilding in this book. While the reader never truly gets the entire back story on the kingdom that Celaena finds herself in, Maas trickles little bits of information into the story as things develop, allowing readers to learn just enough to be aware of how things work, and also leave them salivating for more backstory. In fact, I'm now working my way through the four e-pubbed novellas (The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Empire, The Assassin and the Desert, and The Assassin and the Underworld) in hopes of learning more before the next book...
In a kingdom where magic is forbidden, there is certainly a lot of weird, unexplainable things going on here. There also seems to be a certain reason why a lot of these events seem to seek out Celaena... Maas again managed to blend the perfect amount of realism and the fantastic. With characters that know things they shouldn't and those that seem to be perfectly in the dark... Celaena must determine who she can truly trust...her life most certainly depends on it.
Fans of Tamora Pierce, Rae Carson, and other fantasy writers with strong female characters will devour this book!
Full disclosure: Review copy received from NetGalley, signed ARC received at BEA 2012.