Throne of glass : epic fantasy
Sarah J. Maas wrote the first draft of her debut novel, Throne of Glass, when she was sixteen. With the sequel, Crown of Midnight (2013) she has shown that she will soon be breathing down the necks of writers like Patrick Rothfuss, Sharon Shinn and Peter Brett.
The main character is 18 year old Caleana Sardothien, the best assassin in the land, who is languishing in a hard labour slave camp – for reasons unknown. Prince Dorian offers her a deal – be his representative in a contest to become the Kings Champion – and if she wins, the King will set her free after five years service. She doesn’t have much choice, so begins training with Captain Chaol, all the while concealing her reputation and true name from the other competitors. Both Dorian and Chaol are soon smitten by her, and she also makes a friend out of visiting Princess Nehemia, who is trying to persuade Celaena to work against the ruthless King, who has conquered all the surrounding kingdoms and enslaved or killed much of the population. Meanwhile, someone is murdering the other competitors in a grisly fashion, and Caleana needs to find this evil before she is next.
In the sequel, Celaena is now the reluctant Champion, and has made her choice between Dorian and Chaol. However, when Princess Nehemia meets a violent and unexpected death, Celaena is eventually forced to reveal her true self in order to bring the culprit to justice – but if the King ever finds out who she is, death would be instant. To save her from being exposed, Chaol manipulates the King into sending her to a foreign land to assassinate the King and heir – a task that Celaena cannot possibly accomplish.
The tale is set in an imaginary world, where magic has been outlawed. Wyrdmarks (a kind of rune) can still be used to create spells to those with the secret knowledge though, and this aspect of the tale is quite original.
Maas has achieved the ability to draw you into her world with words, but has not yet managed to avoid a somewhat predicatable plotline, in parts. That said, if she continues on her current arc, it can only get better and I’m certainly looking forward to the third book. In the meantime, I’ll have to make do with The Assassin’s Blade, a collection of prequel novellas featuring the same characters.