After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. 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.
Before I begin explaining this book, I need to explain something. I read a lot. When I mean a lot, I don’t mean that I read a book a week, I mean that today, since I woke up I have finished one book, and started and completed two more. It is highly likely that I will start a third before I go to sleep tonight. All of this means that my favorite book changes quite often. I loved Harry Potter for a while, then moved on to Megan Turner’s The Thief, then to Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. That makes it all the more significant when I say that the Throne of Glass series has been my favorite since I started it almost four years ago. There have been some books that caught my interest and moved up on my list of loves, but I always came back to Sarah Maas, because she is just that good.
The series starts out by introducing the heroine, Celaena Sardothien, who has just spent a year in a slave camp where the average life expectancy is only a month. She was put there because she was Adarlan’s assassin – the best in the land, never caught, and never seen. Until her trial, almost no one even knew that she was a 17 year old girl. She has always been the best, the prettiest, and she knows it. Even worse, she makes sure everyone else knows it too.
I love Celaena.
Throughout this book, she isn’t just an assassin who has killed too many people to count. She isn’t just the girl who became a woman in the depths of Hell. She is a woman who is scarred and a little broken, but loves pretty things, and sweets, and music. She is a woman who is scared sometimes, who loves and gets mad and is happy. She is a person, not just an assassin, and that is what I love about Sarah Maas’s work.
Too many book these days are all about the situations the main character is in. I cannot count the number of times I have read a dystopian novel in which we get to watch the heroine come to age because of the circumstances that force her to grow up. In this world we get to see a woman who already knows that the world is bad, who has already grown up inside of it, and watched her love and her innocence die, but still has the will to truly live.
I rate this book 5 stars.