Bloomsbury Childrens | August 2012 | 432 pgs
I took a little break from thrillers featuring unlikeable and unreliable characters and dived into this YA fantasy series; a story about the journey and adventures of an eighteen-year-old girl who is trained as an assassin and has slaved at the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier until she is given a chance to win her freedom - to represent the Crown Prince of Adarlan in a to-the-death tournament. The winner will be the King's Champion and will abide by his orders for future (assassinating) missions.
Calaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most notorious assassin, and perhaps the greatest in all of Erilea. Calaena knows it's a lose-lose situation no matter which path she chose - it's too torturing working at the salt mines (she has some scars to prove) and she couldn't fathom the thoughts of serving the King who has ruined her country but at least she has the chance of gaining her freedom. And so there begins her training before the duel comes. During her time spent at the training, she gradually became friends with the Crown Prince, Dorian Havilliard, and the Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall. While the former loves teasing her, the latter is cold and calm though he is protective of her.
When the other competitors are a threat to her, especially a particular sly and arrogant soldier named Cain, Calaena soon realises that there is something dark and sinister which is the real threat, for her competitors ended up dead one by one and they all died gruesomely. No one knew how or why they were murdered but Calaena is certain of one thing, that some evil force is at work and she intends to find out the truth before she is the next target.
Although I am late in reading this series, I am not new to Sarah J. Maas' work; after all I enjoyed her Court of Thorns and Roses series and can't wait for the third installment to release next year. This first installment of the Throne of Glass series wowed me in many levels. The world building, the plot and the characterisation are all very well done. I enjoyed reading the interactions between Calaena, Dorian and Chaol. Calaena's friendship with Princess Nehemia was also an enjoyable read, as I felt Calaena needs some female companionship and a friend among all the alpha males even though she is not a weakling herself. No, I definitely think Calaena is far more superior when her skills are concerned and nothing could stop her since she has nothing to lose and with that strong dignity of hers. But that is not all, I also liked the idea of the Fae world and the magical element amid the political empire, despite the King banished and outlawed all traces of magic.
I can see why this series is so popular and makes a great fantasy series - the world building so well constructed by the author, the development of the core characters and finally that wonderful storytelling which had me glued to the pages from the beginning till the end. I can't wait to find out what's in store with the rest of this series.
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