Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas has lots of great elements, including a female assassin. I really wanted to like it, but in the end, it pales in comparison with similar stories.
Celaena Sardothien was the most
deadly assassin in Adarlan -- before she was captured and sent to the
mines. For the past several months, simply surviving one more day has
taken all of her strength. When Prince Dorian comes to her with a
proposition that would take her out of the mines and allow her to
eventually regain her freedom, she accepts his terms: she will compete
against twenty-three other fighters to earn the position of King's
Assassin. Celaena is taken back to the city, heavily guarded, and
trained to compete in the challenges. Once in the city, however, Celaena
finds that she faces more dangers than the ones posed by her
competitors. Someone, or something, is killing fighters in gruesome
ways, and Celaena's guard detail may not be enough to protect her from
this mysterious threat. Moreover, both the prince and his Captain of the
Guard pose another kind of danger . . . to Celaena's heart.
a lot of action in this book, even though the competition for the
King's Assassin position gets sidelined in favor of the other
storylines. The worldbuilding is also strong. On the other hand, the
language is stilted at times, and the romance never hooked me. I also
couldn't buy Celaena as the most famous assassin in the world; she took
too many foolish risks and was bad about not watching her back.
Inconsistencies in the writing compounded this problem -- for instance,
Celaena makes sure that her door hinges squeal so that nobody can sneak
up on her, but a few pages later, one of the Love Interests enters her
suite without waking her from sleep.
Even with these issues, I
might have enjoyed the story if it hadn't reminded me so strongly of
another book with many similar elements, but also better writing and
character development. If the description of Throne of Glass intrigues you, I'd actually recommend that you read Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)