My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The gutsy, girl narrator is in full force in Maas’s first installment of the Throne of Glass trilogy. Celaena Sardothien has more moxy than most, having been trained as an assassin since before age 10. She speaks her mind and fights back, even when she knows both will get her in trouble. One would think that her profession would negate any true moral compass but Celaena’s is remarkably strong, guiding her through the treacherous waters of the king’s competition and her love quad-rangle between the prince, Dorian; her training partner and Captain of the King’s Guard, Chaol; and the ghost of her first love, Sam.
While description of the competition becomes a little tedious at times, I’m not sure how else Maas could have introduced all of the nuanced elements of this tale without a 13-week time frame. Erilea is an interesting world to visit. With a past that includes faerie magic as part of childhood mythology but an adult world that, in all outward appearance, eschews magic, Celaena is ignorant of much that will impact her survival of the competition. As Celaena herself begins to discover deep ties to Elven magic, readers must ask themselves exactly what other secrets do Erilea, the king, and Celaena’s past hold.
As the treachery of the king’s court seems to bleed ever deeper into the layers of nobility and the levels of rebellion seem to match that depth, Celaena must decide whom to suspect and whom to trust, if anyone. Infuse the political intrigue with magic, demons, a vicious killer on the loose, and multiple twists in character’s loyalty, and readers get a fantastic plot, complex characters and a richly built world.