I picked up the audio version of this a few weeks ago during an audible sale, figuring I could listen to it during the Christmas/Summer break. Didn't quite make it last that long...
This book really does live up to the hype, I put it on while I did some housework, and just couldn't turn it off when I was done washing dishes. My teenager daughter, who usually listens to music while doing her chores, was also enthralled, to the point that we both stayed up til 3am (thankfully it was a Saturday) to finish it, instead of coming back to it another day.
17 year old, Caleana Sardothien, master assassin, betrayed and thrown to rot in the salt mines of Endovier. That is until she receives an unexpected visitor, the crown prince of Adarlan, Dorian, and his royal guard captain, Chaol Westfall. The two offer Celeana a proposition she cannot refuse, compete in a tournament to become the King's new "Champion" and after a few years her freedom, or remain rotting away in her salt mine prison, a prison she would return to if she were to try to escape, to harm her captors, or lose (assuming she wasn't killed in the process) any of the challenges thrown at her.
Brash, proud and confident, the young assassin quickly discovered that the prince needed her more than she needed him, for she had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Knowing this she pushes the limits of her hosts patience and makes outlandish demands or behaves in a way that would otherwise have a person imprisoned, or worse.
Over the course of the tournament, several of the other competitors are discovered dead, torn apart by what seems to be a wild animal. Though Chaol tries to solve the mysteries behind these deaths, Celeana does a little investigating of her own and uncovers a horrifying truth.
I just love Celeana, she's strong in mind and body, and not afraid to throw some figurative punches to get what she wants and needs. She's smart and knows her mind, she's also bilingual, which it seems none of the castle's inhabitants are. She tries not to dwell on the horrors of her past, finding her parents murdered when she was 8, raised as an assassin by the man who took her in, and the year she spent in the salt mines.
Celeana's bond with Princess Nehemia was nice, Celeana being the only person inside the castle who could speak the princess' native tongue. Though initially kept apart for fear the assassin would make an attempt on the princess' life, the two were soon spending a fair amount of time together while Celeana taught the princess 'English' (I don't remember whether the language was actually named, but since the book is in English that's what I'm calling it).
It was also nice to note that at 18 she was still allowed to have a childish side, the candy incident made me giggle. It makes me realise that there are so many other YA novels that don't allow young women the chance to still have a childish side, Hunger Games/Divergent/TFioS as examples, even though the female leads are all younger than Celeana. At a slightly older age, I still love to stuff chocolate in my mouth Christmas morning, breakfast be damned.
The romance seems just enough without going over board... Though this is the book I made my love triangle read for the Popsugar challenge, I feel her relationship with Chaol is more of a sibling bond. While there was definite fireworks between her and Dorian, it was glad to see a character who can use her brain to take a step back from a relationship and not go completely googoo eyed over the first man who shows interest (like so many romance plots before).
All in all, as I said earlier, I was really immersed in this story. It's well written and leaves you guessing, I can't wait to pick up the rest of the series, which I hear is even better.
I gave Throne of Glass 5/5 stars.