Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Throne of Glass
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.
My Rating: ****
Throne of Glass is a book that has gotten a ridiculous amount of hype. It's been on my radar for several months and I was first in line at my library to read it. Turns out the hype is for good reason. Female assassins, an intricate magical system, a cool castle with loads of secret passageways, mystery and suspense, romance, fighting, awesomeness....
It was not all I wanted it to be and I had two major problems.
One - Celaena. Yeah. When one of your main problem is the MC herself it's never a good thing. Every time I think of her that lame song pops into my head... "You're so vain. You probably think this [book] is about you..." Anyone? Anyone?
Anyway, Celaena is annoyingly vain. She thinks she's amazing and gorgeous and she's always telling herself how awesome she is and how great she looks. She's obsessed with physical appearances. I wasn't two or three pages in and I realized she'd mentioned her own appearance four times and had already established that the two men she was facing (crown prince and captain of the guard) were deliciously attractive.
I like having attractive characters, but a little more subtlety would have been appreciated. In every aspect. Not only is Celaena gorgeous, but she's the best assassin, ridiculously smart, unbelievably fluent in mutliple languages, surprisingly musical, and it goes on and on. It was just too much. Nothing seemed to ground her and make her real. I love it when my characters are super talented, but without humility it gets ridiculous.
Enough about Celaena. Beef #2 is the love triangle. It was also just too much. An equal amount of time seemed to be spent on developing both of them, so much so that I could never decide which I liked more or wanted to root for more and that annoyed me. In my opinion, there should always be a reason for a love triangle, but in Throne of Glass the only reason seemed to be to prove that Celaena has no trouble attracting any and all males she wants and making them fall in love with her.
Okay, maybe I'm getting a little too negative. And don't forget that I gave this four stars. I was completely into the story; it's un-putdownably good. I will definitely be looking for the sequel, but this isn't immediately on my to-buy list or my recommend-to-everyone-I-meet list.
Recommended for fans of assassins, great fantasy and magic, and people who liked Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study books.