Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.
In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.
Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?
It’s not often that a book like Throne of Glass comes along, with it’s epic fantasy lands capturing and captivating me into a land filled with royalty, assassins, outlawed magic, romance, beautiful dresses and different kingdoms. I knew I would love it after countless recommendations from other bloggers, and it surely lived up to its name.
I now see why Celaena Sardothien is everyone’s favourite heroine, she’s beautiful, kick ass, alluring, intelligent and deadly, but her vibrant personality makes her come to life. Moments of vulnerability, a sharp wit, arrogance and alluring charm really flesh out her character, and the book delivers wonderful character development throughout. Every line delivered is with sarcasm, sharp wit and humour which is entertaining and hilarious to read. She’s not totally perfect however, as the Celaena we first meet is arrogant, ruthless and bitter after being imprisoned for years. I liked her strength and dedication, as well as her vulnerability which made her all the more believable as a character.
“I’m already notorious as an assassin – I don’t particularly feel like being notorious for sharing your bed.” – Celaena
While the book is mostly centered around a tournament to find out who the King’s Champion will be, it also features a healthy dose of mystery with the competitors being slowly killed off in a gruesome way. Celaena takes it upon herself to investigate these murders to find out who is behind them, while she’s also strengthening and honing her skills for the tournament. With horror, magic and hidden secrets hidden between the Castle’s walls, this part of novel reminded me of Harry Potter in a way.
With her charm and wit, she’s captivated two sexy guys under her spell – Prince Dorian, and the Captain of the Guard, Chaol. This is a love triangle that is done well, it will have you rooting for both guys who are both suitable companions. Dorian is charming and handsome, who is attracted Celaena because she treats him so differently to all the other ladies of the Court, but he’s the Prince of a Kingdom who has taken everything away from her. Chaol is a man of honour, responsible for training and disciplining Celaena but he also puts his duty for the Kingdom’s safety first, and an assassin is first and foremost a threat against the Kingdom.
“I think you have far more attractive suitors vying for your attention. I’m boring company to keep.” – Chaol
She haunted his thoughts, made him wish to do grand and wonderful things in her name. – Dorian
The romance, like the various subplots of mystery, history and politics, is weaved intricately into the story without losing sight of the plot. Celaena doesn’t turn into jelly at the sight of these two men but instead, plays them to her needs to win the tournament and attain freedom. There is a lot of witty, teasing banter between both of the males and Celaena, which is exciting to experience.
An honourable mention goes to Princess Nehemia, one of the castle dwellers who quickly becomes friends with Celaena. She is exotic, feisty, honourable, wise and loyal to her own kingdom, and she shows Celaena how you can be family, even though you don’t share the same blood. Her knowledge of the ancient magic of Wyrdmarks makes her a valuable source of knowledge for our assassin.
“Something about him makes me want to beat in his face.” – Nehemia
Throne of Glass is a superb debut in high fantasy for YA readers, and it truly deserves all its praise. Rarely do you find a multi-layered book that does everything well, from the romance, to the action, to the plot and romance. What truly makes Throne of Glass shine are the characters are the heart of the novel, two strong male leads and an incredibly memorable heroine.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Publisher review copy
Date Published: August 15, 2013
An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.
After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.
Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.
Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
If you haven’t read this series yet, you have to read it now. It’s the best YA fantasy series I have ever read, and the sequel is somehow even better. Crown of Midnight is an incredible sequel, delivering even more intrigue, action and romance than the first.
While Celaena Sardothean rarely practiced her trade in the first novel, the book opens with her performing her duties as the King’s Assassin. She walks into court room dropping her target’s head in front of the King. It appears that the Celaena we know from the first novel has hardened, now that she’s taking instructions from the king, and we knowingly witness tense relationships with her two suitors, Dorian and Chaol.
Our assassin has a few secrets up her sleeve with surprise reveals in Crown of Midnight. She shows us her ruthless dedication and manipulative side, and an event will have her unleashing all of her fury and rage at the world. Even Dorian and Chaol add their own dose of kickass to the mix, and I was pleased to find how action-packed the book was throughout.
Even more than the first, Crown of Midnight involves multiple layers of deceit, secrets and betrayal that will have you constantly guessing throughout. Sarah J. Maas holds no bars when it comes to deaths, mentions of gore and the horrors of the castle, which adds a morose and threatening air around the castle.
The romance in Crown of Midnight was done beautifully again, with Celaena choosing the man that is the most right for her and all she stands for. Others have mentioned how every guy seems to fall in love with Celaena and that’s certainly the case here. Luckily the Captain of the Guard is someone I can certainly get behind, with his loyalty, dedication and protection of Celaena being at the forefront of his mind.
Overall, Crown of Midnight was a brilliant follow up to the first novel with the series creating a hardcore fandom worldwide. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read this series and can now join everyone in waiting eagerly for the third book – Heir of Fire.
Thank you Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of this book for review – and for replacing my misplaced copy!
Rating: 5 out of 5