|Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas|
(Book #1 of Throne of Glass series)
August 7, 2012
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.
Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
My Thoughts on the Prequel Novellas:
As you can see from the blurb above Celaena starts book one of the Throne of Glass series coming from serving a sentence in the salt mines of Endovier. But how did she get there? Who was Celaena before her imprisonment? What changed in her life to get here there? Well, there are four prequel novellas that guide us along the path of not just how Celaena became a salt mine prisoner, but the path of who she is and was. I have not read Throne of Glass yet. That is what I am endeavoring to start this week. But I was intrigued to read these novellas first. They were originally published prior to TOG's publication, so I wanted to stay true to the author's intention.
Now that I have read all of the novellas, I can honestly say that I am very glad that I did. I not only enjoyed reading each individual story, but also appreciated them as a whole, giving me the big picture of Celaena and her world. I truly look forward to diving head first into Throne of Glass. Here are a few spoiler-free highlights:
1.) I got to see Celaena's true character change from someone I honestly didn't like very much, into someone I had watched fight and hurt and struggle and love and grow. She became a multi-dimensional person to me. She became more than an assassin. She took risks, she made mistakes, she made good and bad choices; she became human. And learning about her and what she went through, the good and bad, makes me eager to see what she will endure next and how she will overcome whatever further circumstances are thrown in her path.
2.) I got to see how Celaena was raised, who she came from, what it meant to be an assassin. I got to meet the King of the Assassins and experience what Celaena felt like, good and bad, to be under his tutelage. I got to meet Sam and develop my fondness for this very special assassin. I got to meet the Silent Assassins, and so many more. I also wonder if and when some of the characters we've met along the way will make reappearances in future novels, because Maas has done a great job creating characters, both good and bad, that I want to revisit.
3.) I got engrossed in the Maas's world building. This world was such an interesting mix of fantasy, with a splash of middle ages. The streets, the buildings, the clothing, the state of the cities and land, the king and his treatment of the people and how he obtained his position. There were so many great tidbits to glean, but they were well interwoven throughout the story to not overwhelm me with the dreaded info-dump. Maas also did not shelter the reader from references to the ugliness of this world, from the slavery to the murder to the prostitutes to the backstabbing and betrayal to the abuse. There was both beauty and horrors to behold, and it made the world all the more real for it.
Overall Rating Range: 4 to 5 STARS
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (Novella #1)
On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes—and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about.
The Assassin and the Desert (Novella #2)
The Silent Assassins of the Red Desert aren’t much for conversation, and Celaena Sardothien wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s not there to chatter, she’s there to hone her craft as the world’s most feared killer for hire. When the quiet is shattered by forces who want to destroy the Silent Assassins, Celaena must find a way to stop them, or she’ll be lucky to leave the desert alive.
The Assassin and the Underworld (Novella #3)
When the King of the Assassins gives Celaena Sardothien a special assignment that will help fight slavery in the kingdom, she jumps at the chance to strike a blow against an evil practice. The misson is a dark and deadly affair which takes Celaena from the rooftops of the city to the bottom of the sewer—and she doesn’t like what she finds there.
The Assassin and the Empire (Novella #4)
Celaena Sardothien is the assassin with everything: a place to call her own, the love of handsome Sam, and, best of all, freedom. Yet, she won’t be truly free until she is far away from her old master, Arobynn Hamel; Celaena must take one last daring assignment that will liberate her forever. But having it all, means you have a lot to lose . . .