Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
I’m of two minds about this book. On the one hand, it was pretty good. On the other hand, it was kind of terrible. I know that a lot of people are like, obsessed with Sarah J. Maas, but this just didn’t do it for me the way, say, The Hunger Games did.
- A kick-butt heroine who also likes finery. I love a strong female lead, and I absolutely detest the idea that just because we’re strong women and feminists and whatever that we can’t appreciate the beauty of a great gown. I just wish Celaena had gotten to actually show her bad assery, instead of just talk about it.
- Cool concept/world. I’m intrigued by magic of any sort, and this book in particular piqued my interest when in mentioned early on that magic was not only forbidden, but had disappeared. WHY? And what sort of magic was it? Celaena mentions that she once had powers, but doesn’t say what they are.
- The rest of the cast. Chaol in particular interested me, because I thought his character changed the most. I also thought it was interesting how he didn’t actually like Celaena at first. I also loved Princess Nehemia, though, again, I would have preferred to see her bad self in action. And the King is a pretty good villain. Creepy and evil.
- Not too heavy on the kissing. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like reading that as much as the next girl (probably less, actually, but whatever), but I don’t like when it takes up the whole book, or it’s super graphic and detailed or something. If I wanted that, I’d read a romance novel.
- The writing wasn’t awesome. A lot of phrases were overused. Good rule of thumb, the word “obsidian” should probably never be in a book more than once. It was easy to figure out what was going on, who the bad guys were, etc., and I wasn’t sure if that was intentional or not. And randomly throwing a former boyfriend for Celaena to be upset about halfway through without ever mentioning him before or after? Bad planning, that.
- Why would they have a single-elimination competition like that without the existence of reality TV? Maas tried to play it off with an occasional mention of gambling among the courtiers, but let’s be honest, the competition was stupid. When I originally read the plot summary for this book, I kind of just thought they were all going to be assassinating each other all the time (think the princes in Stardust), which was way cooler.
- Pointless love triangle where nobody actually likes anyone else. It was more like a dislike triangle. It didn’t add anything but silliness, especially in light of the end.
- Does Celaena have to be good at everything? Okay, she’s the world’s greatest assassin, so it makes sense that she would be awesome at all that. Also she’s beautiful. Fine, it’s a YA novel, the heroine’s going to be beautiful. Then she likes to read. Okay, I can buy that. Around the time she was revealed an amazing pianist I started rolling my eyes. In the words of Elizabeth Bennett, “I never saw such a woman. She would certainly be a fearsome thing to behold.”
- Too many POV shifts. I don’t mind books that do POV shift when they do it well. But this was too frequent, for too short of time, and to too many different characters.
Honestly, going into this book I wasn’t really expecting it to be amazing. I knew it was probably not going to be all that well written, and I was okay with that. I was just looking for a fun series to read this summer. And it definitely was fun. I enjoyed it. I just don’t really understand what all the hype surrounding Maas books is. I can only assume the Court of Thrones and Roses series is way better.
Side note: What were they thinking on the original cover? Ugh! Thank goodness they switched to the fabulous new one.