Sarah J. Maas
Celaena is a famous assassin, serving a life sentence in a salt mine. The King wants a personal assassin, and holds a tournament to choose himself a Champion. Celaena is pulled from the mines to fight 23 other killers for this title. When some of the participants are found brutally murdered, a long-dead Queen recruits Celaena to root out the evil stalking the tournament.
What seemed at the beginning to be a predictable, high fantasy with a love triangle, quickly turned into a complex plot, full of mystery, suspense and excitement. Maas revealed the main characters' personalities and motives slowly, and by the end of the novel, the reader is left knowing them rather well. Being the first in a series, Maas left just enough pieces dangling to make the reader excited for the next volume, without leaving the reader feeling cheated by a cliffhanger.
Throne of Glass is a well-written and well-plotted fantasy that, though it contains some familiar tropes, is just different enough and exciting enough, to be gripping and thoroughly enjoyable.