Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J Maas
Ratings: 2.5/5 stars
Series: Yes, 1 of 7
Celaena Sardothien, named Ardalan’s most lethal assassin, has been imprisoned in the slave camp Endovier since she was 17. One year after her enslavement, Dorian, Crown Prince of Ardalan, frees her on one condition: she must represent him in a dangerous contest to become the King’s Champion.
I really wanted to love this one. I read the novellas before the first book came out a couple of years back and really enjoyed them. However, I feel like the book was not as strong as the novella, both in terms of characterisation and plot. Oh man, this was such a disappointment.
I feel like I’m going to get booed off the internet for for this, but… I don’t feel the Celaena love. I get that the author is trying to show that a girl can kill and loves shiny dresses/puppies/candy, though Calaena honestly reads like a bit of a bimbo. She’s got to be the world’s most ineffective assassin. For all her talk, her body count in this book? 0 (well, 1 if you include the beast thing Cain conjured). Ability to be inconspicuous? ZILCH. Amount of candy consumed? Approximately 10kg. Number of times she gushes over how beautiful she is? Too numerous to count. Also, if I see one more exclamation mark I will throw something!!!!!! Here’s some examples into the minds of Ardalan’s most feared assassin:
“Candy!” A large paper bag sat on a pillow, and she found that it was filled with all sorts of confectionary goodies. There was no note, not even a name scribbled on the bag. With a shrug and glowing eyes, Celaena pulled out a handful of sweets. Oh, how she adored candy!
*facepalm* This is right in the midst of champions being killed left and right by an unknown person/force, you’d think a famed assassin would take a bit more precaution before gorging herself on lollies. I think I was meant to find this endearing…
She threw her hands in the air. “You know, I actually felt guilty. Just a little guilty. And now I remember why I shouldn’t have. I hate sitting around, locked in my room, bored out of my senses. I hate all these guards and nonsense; I hate you telling me to hold back when Brullo sings Cain’s praises and I’m just there, boring and unnoticed in the middle. I hate being told what I can’t do. And I hate you most of all!”
Our great assassin throwing a teenage tantrum about not getting enough attention.
Now, this would all be great if the author was trying to subvert a trope, attempting to show us that the person behind the legend is not all-powerful but a flawed human being. However, I think we are genuinely meant to believe she’s an awesome assassin, as the book keeps reminding us every other page. But urgh, as shown in above examples, I don’t buy it.
My other issue is that for someone who’s been enslaved in a death camp for one year, Celaena shows very little emotional trauma from it. She’s smirking at princes and picking at her nails the moment she walks out from Endovier. For such a harrowing experience, I would expect it to have more impact on the character, ya know? Why bother having her be a slave for one year if it doesn’t have any bearing on her characterisation whatsoever?
For a fantasy, this world is paper thin. Aside from a neat description of the glass castle, I know little else about Ardalan and the rest of the empire. Why did the king kill off magic? What were the other nations like? Who are their gods and goddesses? What is the magic that’s actually outlawed? We don’t know much of anything, now I know that it’s only the first book so these things will be revealed in time… but Philosopher’s Stone was the first book in the series and Harry’s world was significantly more well-realised.
I don’t have much to say about the other characters either. I’m neither Team Chaol or Team Dorian, I felt both love interest were quite bland, I did not understand their fascination with Celaena – who basically acted like a spoiled brat around them 90% of the time.
There are some good points i) Celaena and Nehemia’s friendship, yay for the relative lack of ‘mean girls’ and ii) the writing made for a fun and easy read. Nonetheless, it wasn’t enough to save this book for me. I have the second book, but for the moment I have 0 interest in reading it.