There are books that I look at and dismiss at first glance. And then I read them. To be fair, when I looked at the pile of books I had to read for work, this was toward the bottom of the list. I picked it up after seeing really enthusiastic reviews here. (Note: I was not familiar with Throne of Glass in its previous publication on FictionPress, so I’m coming into this new.)*gathers jaw* Despite a sort of slow beginning, about fifty pages in, I was hooked. I was a little wary at first with the set-up—an assassin given the chance at freedom if she wins a competition for “The King’s Champion.” (I am dreading the inevitable “It’s fantasy Hunger Games!’ blurbs. No. We do not make these comparisons.) The promise of a love triangle didn’t sit too well with me either. But once we started learning motives, and then the first body showed up…how could you not stop reading?The big reason that I kept going is because of Celaena. Love her. She can be haughty, brash, and a bit of a brat at times, but it’s because she refuses to break or grovel. Celaena knows her situation is bleak, and that her survival in the Endovier salt mines is a lucky break. But we also get to see her in action, and realize very quickly why she is the world’s greatest assassin. Her first action once she’s escorted to her rooms at the stone palace at Rifthold: go over the whole room, planting improvised weapons at strategic points; figuring out a training regime in her confined spaces; and checking her escape routes. There had already been about forty pages of telling us that Celaena is ‘Aldaran’s Assassin,’ and this is the first real establishing moment. And also, I’ve warmed up to her. The other reason why I love Celaena is that she’s not a cold and calculating assassin; she’s also witty and snarky, and she has a good heart. I loved that she can unnerve both Chaol and Dorian by throwing a nice worded barb at either one of them. Which should bring me to the love triangle. My problem with so many love triangles is that they’re either 1. tilted so far in one love interest’s favor, the spare doesn’t have a chance in hell or 2. there’s no real difference between either love interest, and they’re both jerks. A lot of writers forget that a big part of a love triangle is that both love interests should have their pros and cons. And Maas handles this admirably. Dorian’s an insufferable oaf at times, who likes pushing Celaena’s buttons and carelessly flirting with other women, but he’s also worried about the welfare of his country and making peace with his father’s enemies. Chaol’s extremely distant and detached, but he respects Celaena’s skills and prowess, and he doesn’t turn on Dorian when he figures out that his oldest friend has feelings for the girl he loves. (I’m all for Chaol/Celaena, btw.) Plus, the three of them bounce off each other so well. There’s a lot of chemistry in this love triangle, and I am all for it. (Please please please do not ruin this, it’s a good love triangle do not make everyone stupid and meebling.) Oh and Nehemia—I really liked her, especially her and Celaena’s friendship and genuine trust of one another. And it’s also telling of Maas’s writing when she can cast doubt on to Nehemia’s actions and make me question if Nehemia’s behind writing the Wrydmarks and raising the creatures, and if she’s going to spare Celaena or not. It is the one moment of genre blindness on Celaena’s part, but I still liked the added element of mystery into the book. I can’t wait to see how Nehemia’s motivations develop in the next book.While the main plot—the contest for the King’s Champion—is nothing new, the added element of the competitors being killed off one by one is intriguing, and trying to figure out who’s really behind it all is interesting. I also liked the added mystery of why magic isn’t allowed in the kingdom, and the whole motivation of Elena drafting Celaena into her service. (I’m actually doubting Elena’s intentions, and I’m very interested in seeing if my thoughts are right.) The only thing that I really didn’t like overall was Kaltain, and just how shallow she’s played up—the twist of her being played for at the end was nice, but I’m a little tired of reading high fantasy books where court women are backstabbing, sharp-tongued harpies. (It did happen, but it feels old and tired.)I’m really glad about being wrong about Throne of Glass, especially since my first impression of it was “Oh Lord, do I have to slog through this?” Despite my issues and a slow beginning, I devoured this novel and can’t wait to read more in this universe.