Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Author's Website: http://sarahjmaas.com/
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Editor: Margaret Miller
Agent: Tamar Rydzinski
Released: August 7, 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Yes (Book 2 Fall 2013)
Source: Library
Challenge: 2012 Debut Author Challenge, YA/MG Fantasy
Celaena is in the deadly prison camp Endovier after having been caught and tried as an assassin. She's the most feared assassin in the kingdom, though many don't know her true age. And now the Crown Prince has come to offer her freedom - in exchange for serving as his candidate in a contest for King's Champion. Celaena travels with him to the glass palace and begins training and competing - but soon the competitors start dying in gruesome murders one after the other. It's up to Celaena to find out what's killing them, and to rid the palace and the kingdom of the evil lurking beneath the harsh surface...
The first thing that struck me when I started reading Throne of Glass was Celaena's voice. She's strong and confident, but scared and vulnerable at the same time. She seems to have nothing to lose, but there's a depth of complicated feelings and needs to her, something that makes the stakes that much higher. She wants her freedom, but she's not willing to do just anything to win it, which means that her struggle throughout the book is not merely against the other would-be Champions but also within herself as she contemplates what she agreed to and if she'll agree to anything further. All through it, her clear and distinct voice narrates the story and commands respect and admiration as she holds up under terrible circumstances and through confusing turns of events. When she begins to investigate the murders, it's again interesting that she reveals two sides of her personality - she's strong and fearless, so it seems, as she ventures into frightening places, but then she reacts like any normal girl and becomes scared and confused.

Part of this is shown in her relationship with Nehemia, the visiting princess. Celaena has never had a real friend before, and she lets her guard down with Nehemia in ways she hasn't done before. But Celaena has to deal with the ups and downs of friendship as well, and that reveals her as just as vulnerable as anyone else.

Celaena's interactions with Chaol show her bravado and vulnerability too. The way she tries to rile him up at the beginning, and then as the relationship progresses and they both begin to like each other and see each other not as guard and guarded but as friends - it showcases the face Celaena feels she has to put on for the world and the emotions running deep beneath the surface.

Aside from Celaena's personality and relationships, though, the plot of the story is fantastic and amazing! The mystery gets deeper and deeper, the danger more and more heightened, the risk and tension mounting page by page. Each new development adds layers to the problems, and raises more questions and more excitement. The pages almost turned themselves as I eagerly waited to see how everything would turn out!

The ending of the book is perfect, in that it deals again with Celaena's inner struggle about how far she's willing to go, and it sets up nicely for the plot and relationships of the next book. The second book in this series is due to be released Fall 2013.

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