Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas

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.

There's 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.)

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