Author: Sarah J. Maas
Format Acquired: Hardcover (USA)
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Publishing House: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked
Summary: After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old asassin 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 exhilarating. 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 the 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.
(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)
If you want to read about frivolous, dress-loving, vain assassins, then you’re in luck. Enter Erilea's most notorious assassin, Celaena Sardothien, although I’ve yet to honestly bear witness to her rad killin’ skillz. Celaena, like any other banal YA heroine archetype, has no problem charming the folk around her, being torn between the painfully flat character of Prince Dorian, and the more awesome possum Chaol, and trying to win her freedom - and her life back - in the process.
Okay, there is no easy way to say this, but I didn't like Celaena. I thought she was too superficial (ZOMG, DRESSES!!!) to be taken seriously. While I understand that people have seemingly different quirks, a flighty, easily-distracted, fashion-loving assassin seemed way too out of sorts for me. I'd get it if Celaena were one of those heroines in those modern, witty (and repetitive) storylines of a girl who also happens to be this kickbutt heroine, but Celaena just doesn't do it for me! She's too vain for my own liking, and I could not just get it at all. It's a chink in Celaena's armor all right, that along with oversleeping and basically just doing whatever feels right to her without thoughts of the consequences. Some parts in the book that I feel I could do without would be the scene when she wakes up to a lot of candy, and when she falls asleep in church, and -of course! as she is the protagonist- she's just lucky enough to be symbolically bestowed a gift that would help her later on. Coincidence? I think not.
I don't like Dorian as well. I think Maas has not done justice towards a character who is supposed to play a big part in the story, and that sometimes, he seemed almost unnecessary. I will admit, however, that some of his banter with Celaena were entertaining, even though his chemistry with the protagonist is practically non-existent. Dorian comes across as just an uninteresting pretty boy enamored with a girl who is, of course, not in the same league as he.
On the other hand, I do love Chaol. For me, his actions were completely in tune with this image he creates. He reminds me so much of Hector from Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy. Where Maas has succeeded in creating character in Chaol, it seems that the same cannot be said for the unfortunate prince.
Storyline was a bit slow for me, and I did not feel compelled enough to turn the pages. At times, I felt like I was reading a half-baked book just thrown in with a random scramble of words. I highly believe that characters pretty much make up a good chunk of what makes a difference between a great book and an "Eh." book, as these characters would have to work to make the storyline interesting and sensible (hence, if you do notice, my reviews tend to gravitate toward the characters). I guess this is why Throne of Glass just doesn't work for me.
Oh, Throne of Glass - I had high expectations for you, too! Given the current pattern, I think I should stop being blown away by summaries, so as not to be let down when my expectations aren't met. When the coverless promise of Throne of Glass appeared on Goodreads, I couldn't help but groan that its publication date couldn't come soon enough. As soon as our favorite local bookstore branch texted me that a copy was reserved for me, I hightailed it to the bookstore, not caring that I must have looked like such a freak with manic eyes and drool practically leaking from my mouth. I guess I need not say that I would be skipping the next book.