I was really into the ACOTAR series by Sarah J. Maas until I discovered her previous New York Times bestselling and multiple award winning series: Throne of Glass.
I picked up the first book thanks to a fantasy loving, bibliophile friend of mine and I’m glad I did because I could not put it down once I had started reading. Here are my personal thoughts on the first book of the series, along with a spoiler free summary to give you the Calaena vibe…
Calaena Sardothien, the world’s best assassin, has spent the past year in the slave mines of Endovier after she was betrayed. The story begins as The Crown Prince of Aderland offers her a deal. Calaena represents him in a tournament through which the king wishes to find a champion to use as his personal assassin. If she wins the tournament, after four years of serving as the king’s assassin Calaena would be able to reclaim her freedom. Calaena struggles to keep a low profile as no one knows her real identity, or she thinks so. Midway through the tournament while she has befriended the prince, the captain of the guards along with a foreign princess, a ruthless murderer lurks in the castle, killing off one contestant at a time. The king has long forbidden the use of magic in his kingdom but the claw marks and symbols around the corpses of the participants and the gory manner of the murders do not point towards a normal killer.
Maas takes us to this medieval land in the most magical way possible.
The story progresses to reveal great plot twists and supernatural occurrences as we follow Calaena through her fight for freedom. You actually feel like you are in to the story, watching the duels, bearing witness of the grand glass castle as feel with Calaena, for Calaena. The heart touching dramatic approach will make you either love or hate a character extraordinarily (at times only to discover you were wrong!).
One more thing I absolutely love about the book is the various perspectives through which this great first installment to the series travels. It helps us see the incidents from different viewpoints.
There have been accusations about the contradictory personality of the protagonist, who, being a world famous assassin, still uses make up and frilly clothing and also feels for people unlike a cold blooded murderer. For me, however, all this makes the story even better as we discover that she never really had a choice.
There is nothing that I absolutely hated about the story. The only thing I that I felt while reading the novel is that the not so massive plot could be written in a more compact way without dragging out the incidents much. But Sarah J. Maas knows her s**t, so she probably did what she did for the best.