I was thrilled to find this book at the local library since I had heard a lot of good things about it and had recently tried to get it through a few contests but wasn't lucky. When I first heard of this book I was a bit confused though since all the summaries made it sound like it was either starting in media res or was the sequel to another book I couldn't find. So, in case anyone else was confused about that, yes this is the first book in a series and so it does start a little bit in the middle of things. That is one of the problems I have with the book however so let's get to the review so I can elaborate.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
I know I don't talk about covers as much as I used to but I wanted to say that I think I like the paperback cover just a little more than this cover used on the hardbacks. This cover did look just a tad too blue to me in person (I would have put a bit more yellow into the buildings) but there's nothing I really dislike about it, I simply really liked the starkness of the paperback cover (and also how it matches the cover for the sequel, Crown of Midnight). Although, while looking for pictures I came across this photo for the German cover and I might like that one best of all.
Summary: Once Calaena was known as the Assassin of Adarlan and had the skills to match that lofty title, until the country was invaded by it's neighbor and Calaena was sent to the salt mines as a punishment. She holds out for a year at which point the prince of her new country approaches her with a proposal, fight in this seemingly insane competition his father has come up with to choose his champion and after four years she'll be free to go wherever she please. While she's not thrilled with the prospect Calaena is no idiot and agrees, only to find that there are darker secrets lurking within the castle and it might not be the competition that kills her.
The Good: I'm a bit on the fence how I feel about the love triangle but, since it was never the main focus of the story I was more or less alright with it. I also noticed glancing at a few reviews (I needed to double check some spelling, normally I don't go looking for reviews of books after I've read them) that some people despised Calaena and I'm not one of those people. With a character who is stated to be one of the best assassins in the world at such a young age I am expecting someone who is not only competent at almost everything they do but also proud of it (also I have no problem with a character who likes clothes when the descriptions were as interesting as they were here, for once I actually believed the characters when they said a gown was beautiful!). I'm curious what the next book will bring since, while this story was conclusively wrapped up, I'm really curious what troubles Calaena will encounter next and what those will mean for her and the kingdom. For once I have no idea where Maas plans to take this story and I'm eager to find out!
The Bad: This book just feels like it's missing a prologue and, considering it barely elaborates on Calaena's past this drove me nuts. To make this crystal clear, this book starts in a logical place for this particular story to start with Calaena after her defeat being offered a chance to change that, we just seem to have skipped the first book. Now, obviously the next book (or one after that, I don't know how long this series will be) could fix that but, since Maas has put up a series of short stories about Calaena's story before the mines (each for $0.99 on places such as Amazon, hence why I haven't read them yet) this makes me think that she won't, she's already explained what happened. Really that's my biggest problem with the story but, since has a huge impact on Caleana's character, it's not exactly a minor problem.
So this book earns a 4 out of 5 for me, lack of prologue not withstanding since there is actually a way to find out what happened if I remember to do so. And if you liked this book I'll recommend (/if you liked this books I would recommend this one) Grave Mercy (which I suppose I should start keeping an ear out for the sequel) and the Star Crossed/Liar's Moon duo (which I'll admit is mostly because of the "character has a past which is currently unresolved/explained and likely to remain that way" part, although the settings and leads are similar, Calaena has more in common with Digger than she does with Ismae).