Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
★★★★ — 90%
Throne of Glass was the second book I read this past August,
and I almost had as much fun reading it as I would swimming and drowning in a sea of cake.
I’m aware that this series half lives in perennial shade and there’s very much a love-it-or-hate-it kind of thing running around it, so I’m sorry if it gave you murderous tendencies and you really just want me to choke it till it suffocates and dies because I only hate on it for like, a small majority of the review.*
I sort of loved the vile thing.
*Making sense is too mainstream
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 four 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 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.
“Names are not important. It’s what lies inside of you that matters.”
I’ve heard many different opinions on Throne of Glass and I can understand almost all of them. It was a strange book. There were parts of it that made me want to hit my head against the nearest flat object until I felt better and there were other parts that I wanted to live in a little.
The writing, for one, was inconsistent and amateurish. Side effect: self-destructive urges. Excuse me while I bash my head on this convent wall. Or table.
Half the time Maas’ writing was as eloquent as fanfic and the other half it was as painful as stepping on a rusty nail. But it had an addictive quality á la The Selection. You know, so bad you have to know what happens next just so you can laugh knowingly at the pages that care so much about your opinion.
Let’s break down exactly why her writing gave me a smol gag reflex, because I haven’t been disgustingly detailed yet.
- It felt like fanfic have I mentioned that?
- OH AND HERE’S A GOOD IDEA: LET’S POP THIS SCENE IN BECAUSE IT’S 110% UNNECESSARY BUT IT BRINGS ME JOY TO WRITE
- HA what is subtext
- Conversations don’t have to make sense in books they don’t make sense in life anyway (???)
- Flowery descriptions totally give off a kick-butt vibe
- Stilted words too
- A Detailed Approach™ to describing every gown in Celaena’s wardrobe ever
Would you be surprised if I told you in spite of this, I still enjoyed the book? Proceed to fall off your chair immediately because IT IS TRUE.
I’d also like to take this moment to organize a search party for Throne of Glass’ plot. I think it was kidnapped or ran away from me or maybe it just never existed.
The whole “competition” concept that drove* the book has been used before and often. And while I’m usually the defender of “unoriginal” books, Throne of Glass didn’t bring much else to the table. So the whole wait-I-may-have-heard-this-57392-times-before was like 57392 times harder to ignore.
*Drove as in drove it off a cliff. LIKE THIS.
Why then, Marie, did you give this travesty of fiction four shiny stars?
Well, option one is that I’m merciful and I do nice things like that.
But we all know how likely that is so option two is that there are actually good parts I’m jealously withholding, which, you know, throws even more doubt into the face of the first option.
The Withheld Good Parts:
- The characters. There’s three main characters here but I cared about a grand total of two of them and was mildly amused by the third. Fabulous stats.
- The brooding bloke named Chaol
- The other bloke named Dorian
- The two blokes in scenes together
- This cute thing called character friendships
- The super fluffy storyline that besides giving me pain also refreshed me at a time in my life where I needed some intense ruffles and floof and lightness
- The darling fact that it made me laugh
- Not much else but we’ll pretend
The last thing we’ll address is the love triangle.
I know you’d like to be deaf right now but you heard me right. Even Celeana falls in love with herself.
It was disturbingly delightful.
(I was about as proud of myself for enjoying it as I would be if I had fun watching a reality tv show, but we all have weaknesses.)
Throne of Glass is your basic maddeningly addictive, senseless YA fantasy that you probably shouldn’t love but do anyway.
We have to indulge ourselves somehow.
Language: Some mild profanity because these characters angels are not.
Violence: Because the protagonist is an assassin (I know you know this, but I’m being thorough and I’m proud of myself, so give me a break) she’s pretty violent. And she…she kills people. But it’s her job and we forgive her. There’s also a few fight scenes and some swordplay. The assassin isn’t so good at that. It’s cute.
Sensuality: The Crown Prince has a players’ reputation and lives up to it. There’s kissing (player, remember) and innuendo.
Substances: Characters drink infrequently.