Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fantastical Fantasy!

Throne of Glass
Who would imagine that the most dangerous person in the world could be a young woman? Well, the King did, which is why he put her in the most dangerous prison in the land. In Sarah J. Mass's Throne of Glass, we watch a young woman transform from a nameless prisoner to the prince's champion, but she never becomes any less deadly.

Celaena was put into the work camp in the mines with the expectation she wouldn't last long, but she is always underestimated. Trained by the King of Assassins, she counts on being underestimated. But when the prince comes to the prison, she isn't expecting to be brought back to the castle for a competition. In an effort to find the ultimate assassination, the king has devised a diabolical competition between the toughest (and the most dangerous) thugs and criminals in the country. Each competitor is sponsored by a member of the court, and Celaena is the prince's tribute. 

Throughout her earliest training, Celaena is advised to keep her true identity and her true abilities a secret. She struggles with keeping her deadliness a secret with some of the other, less refined, competitors mock her, but winning her freedom is worth swallowing her pride. But when the competitors start showing up dead, and not just dead but disemboweled and partially eaten, it becomes clear the competitors aren't the only deadly creatures in the castle. Celaena is sure she is on the list for whatever is skulking about at night, but she won't let it frighten her. And she certainly won't let it convince her to give up the fight for her freedom.

This was a fabulous fantasy for anyone who has read and enjoyed Graceling, Finnikin of the Rock, etc. It is that mild fantasy that has an otherworldly feel, but isn't too out there to discourage the realistic readers. it is a great book for any strong middle readers through young adults. There is a little violence, but it isn't too graphic. But most of all, the books is tremendously exciting. You won't be able to put it down, it is so exciting!

The thing I like most about this story is Celaena herself. Sometimes when an author writes a truly strong female lead, they can feel artificial. Sometimes they are too mean, too aggressive, too disconnected, or even just plain unlikable. But Celaena is different. She has the ability to kill a man three times her size with her bare hands, but she is still someone you find yourself wanting to root for. She is an assassin, yet you find yourself wanting to know her better. Celaena is an awesome female lead who can inspire oodles of young girls out there. So pass this on to a girl you know, and let her bear witness to one fierce and fabulous leading lady!

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