Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Buy it: UK, US
So, I'm pretty late to the game with this YA series from Sarah J. Maas, who has so far released three novels in the series along with a collection of short stories, with a new book called Queen of Shadows on the way. It's also garnered a pretty healthy fan base since Throne of Glass was released back in 2012, with 192,000 copies of the series sold since its debut.
Throne of Glass was Maas' first novel, reportedly conceived of when she was 16 years-old, and it does somewhat smack of new writer. This isn't necessarily a criticism, but an observation that you're getting a book that has some serious potential but the author hasn't quite worked everything out yet.
Erilea is the fantasy land in which the action of Throne of Glass takes place, following the story of Celaena Sardothian, an 18 year-old assassin who we first meet in a prison camp based in the salt mines of Adarlan, one of the kingdoms in Erilea. Celaena is given the chance of freedom when the king of Adarlan requests that she takes part in a tournament of sorts to become his own personal assassin for four years, after which she would be allowed to go on her merry way. Of course, the young lady accepts, and so begins an almost Hunger Games-esque fantasy yarn where potential candidates for the position have to go through a series of challenges, from archery to testing poisons - culminating in a tournament-like melee.
Along the way we meet the Chaol, the king's gruff-but-soft guard captain, and Dorian, the boyish hormone-addled prince, both of whom form a love triangle for Celaena. Yes, this assassin does go goo-goo for the lads and does love a nice pretty dress, which I can't decide whether it's empowering or not. Perhaps that's not for me to judge, but I do quite like her character. She's precocious, intelligent and a bit of a bad-ass. The supporting characters are also well-realised, but perhaps could have done with a bit more polish.
Throne of Glass does suffer from pacing issues and some of the challenges could have stood to be a little more exciting and gruelling to really draw the reader in, but as a debut book this is a solid read. I can imagine that Maas' talents become more well-defined as the series progresses, because Throne of Glass shows a lot of promise for the young writer.
Verdict: Read it