Throne of Glass: 5 stars
First, I must agree with others. You really need to read the four prequels to fully appreciate this novel and to also understand the growth of Celaena over the past 2 years.
Throne of Glass picks up one year after The Assassin and the Empire (the last of the prequels) left off. We were left with Celaena being delivered into the tender clutches of the Endovier Salt Mines, where no one lasts longer than a month. However, the king orders special care be taken of Celaena so that she might be able to appreciate the hospitality of this death camp for as long as possible. Dorian Havillier, the crown prince and Chaol, the Captain of the Guard go to Endovier to retrieve Celaena.
The king is holding a competition to determine who shall be his champion. This champion would do as directed by the king for four years time, after which, they shall be free. At least, that is Celaena’s agreement and since it is either die in Endovier or die in the competition, she chooses to fight. Only after a year in the salt mines she is not much more than a starving street urchin. Her training begins immediately upon arriving at the glass castle. Celaena quickly learns that she is thought of nothing more than a dangerous criminal. The other competitors must not know her true identity.
However, the champions are being murdered one by one by a creature with claws sharp enough to gouge stone. The murders are gruesome and for many reasons Celaena begins trying to figure out what/who is doing the killing before she ends up the next victim.
The secondary characters are great. I loved Nehemia and that Celaena is finally able to find a true friend in her. Duke Perrington is gross and is Graves. Phillipa, her maid, is likeable and a good ally for Celaena. Kaltain and Cain are easy to dislike. I thoroughly enjoyed Nox, he was a friend without asking for anything in return. And what an awesome scene when she dove off the wall to save him.
I really enjoyed the scenes with Celaena fighting Graves and Verin. They were such fun and she has such great parting lines. We got to really see her flex her assassin skills with them.
I tend to shy away from stories with love triangles or anything described as “will the heroine have to give up her love in order to save her fill-in-the-blank.” While there clearly was a little love triangle going on with Chaol and Dorian I didn’t find it annoying or as heart rending as I usually do. The romance develops slowly and is believable.
Celaena, Elentiya, Elena. Celaena: the name of the heroine. Elentiya: the name given to Celaena by her friend, Nehemia. Elena: the name of the first queen of Adarlan, originally from Tarassen (where Celaena is from) and half god. Is it a coincidence that both of Celaena’s names have Elena’s name within it? And what is with Elena's parting, "Blood ties can't be broken."? What does that mean? Am I really expected to wait to find out? What does Celaena's wyrdmark mean? Come on Sarah, cough it up!
Celaena: “What’s the point in having a mind if you don’t use it to make judgments?”
Dorian: “What’s the point in having a heart if you don’t use it to spare others from the harsh judgments of your mind?”