Throne of Glass is a book about an 18 year old assassin that is feared the world over yet somehow doesn’t manage to convince this reader that she is anything more than just talk.
Though I gave this book only two stars, there are some good points worth noting: it was a quick read – good for those days when only light reading material will do. It was relatively well-written YA. Though there were some stylistic writing issues that I had with the book the writing mostly exceeded my expectations. There was a female friendship in the book that I thought was really nice to see in a YA book.
Celaena. Oh Celaena. Our assassin is supposed to be a badass with a fierce reputation. What I expected: vicious, cunning, stealthy, strong, meticulous, independent. What I got: an arrogant ball of fluff that was more interested in flirting with cute guys than anything else. Oy.
One of Celaena’s more annoying qualities was her ‘outspokenness’. Being outspoken is not a good quality (never mind one that I’m supposed to admire) if the speaker is talking out of his/her ass. Everyone has an opinion, it’s when you can tell that the speaker actually thought about what they’re saying that makes me interested enough to listen. Celaena does not do much thinking before speaking. She’s easily angered and because she doesn’t think before speaking (or yelling as was the case most of the time), it makes it even less believable that she’s such an accomplished assassin. She draws attention to herself like a preening peacock.
I also disliked that Celaena ended up being such a slob. It seems to be a trope in YA lit that the female protagonist should act like a ‘guy’ so she fits in with the dudes. So we get some lovely images of Celaena eating like a pig (I don’t mean how much she eats but the way she does it), showing food in her mouth, getting covered in grub but she don’t care cuz she cool like that. Maybe I’m not that well versed in assassins in literature but I expect them to be neat and meticulous in all aspects of life. Celaena could sleep through an earthquake. People are always watching her sleep and she keeps falling asleep in front of the love interests. It’s sloppy and too trusting for a fearsome assassin.
Speaking of food, she ate almost an entire bag of candy that was anonymously delivered to her rooms…during a time when she’s investigating the mysterious deaths of people in the castle and not too long after doing the poison test. Like I said, sloppy.
Stylistically, I really wish the Maas would stop referring to Celaena as ‘the assassin’ in sentences that have nothing to do with her being an assassin. Maas uses ‘the assassin’ as if she’s using a proper title i.e. the prince, the duke, the king etc. So we get a lot of weird sentences like ‘the assassin fell asleep’ ‘the assassin opened the book’ ‘the assassin ate breakfast’ ‘the prince watched the assassin as she slept’ etc. The word ‘assassin’ is on every page at least once, if not multiple times. It gets annoying.
I will probably read the next two books in the series since I have them but I have to say that I am worried. I have heard that they get better as the series progresses and I’m hoping I have the same opinion. Like I said before, it was a quick and easy read (actually a lot fluffier than I expected) so maybe I’ll pick up the next two books during a particularly stressful or difficult week.
ETA: I forgot to add… What the heck was that scene when Chaol was watching Celaena sleep after the prince left, thinking about whether or not she’s a virgin. Ew, for one. For another, why the f*** does it matter if she’s a virgin?