Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass (#1)
How Received: BookExpo America 2012
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.Got to page: 39
Whoever saw my live-tweets as I was reading this knows I didn't like it. I went in being critical and knowing that I wouldn't like it, after seeing a few of my friends didn't like it and why they didn't.
But I had been looking forward to it. And I knew I had to read it.
But... I only got to the end of chapter five before I had to give up. I had been dogearing pages that I found an issue with and every page was dog-eared.
First off, I just couldn't stand the writing style. I understand a lot of people have been impressed by Maas' writing, but it didn't stand out to me whatsoever; there were sudden information dumps where there didn't need to be and a lot of very obvious set-ups as to Celaena's later magic. All of the hints, like everything about her backstory, was dropped spontaneously and without much weaving-in with the rest of the story.
Then there was Celaena's character herself. I wanted to see the bad-ass assassin I had heard so much about. Instead, I was confronted with a girl who spent more time worrying about her personal appearance than the people around her. Rather than contemplating what she'll do and where she'll go with her earned freedom, she contemplates buying clothes (page 22). Instead of worrying about how she's going to get back in shape for the competition, she laments that her boobs have shrunk (page 21). We're told she killed 23 armed guards single-handedly, but when faced with the chance to escape with only five guards, apparently it's too dangerous of an opportunity (page 25). She sleeps so deeply that Chaol can sneak up on her (page 21). She's so aware of her surroundings that she's mapped out the entire building she's in with one or two walks around it, but she gets so distracted by her own thoughts that she's not even aware that she's walking under Chaol's direction (page 19).
That's not including the conceit that she is the best of the best, can do anything and, most importantly, can do no wrong. All of these things are mentioned on numerous occasions.
She wasn't the main character I signed up for.
And what about the side characters? Chaol didn't put nearly enough guards on her; two for while she slept and only five for escorting her (AND the prince) through the woods. The Prince decides to pick a woman who apparently has tried to kill the royal family before to compete in front of his father and gives her plenty of opportunity to try to kill her.
Where are the smart characters? Because they're certainly not here.
I know that this was marketed as a YA-version of Game of Thrones, but it's nothing like that. There's no complicated plots or multiple characters or high fantasy that isn't "hey, let's mention magic!" It's a story about a girl who would be beheaded within five minutes of meeting a Lannister.
It wasn't anything that it was set up to be, and it wasn't anything I liked.
Final Comments: No.
Throne of Glass or Thief's Covenant?: Hmm. This or a well-written, fast-paced story about a ridiculously awesome and bad-ass thief? Y'all know what I'll pick.
Did you like Throne of Glass? Do you think I'm being too harsh on it?
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