Throne of Glass ~ Sarah J Maas
My Goodreads exploring is always fruitful especially when I discover awesome new books I have never heard of. There are however cases where it is not always successful. As you know, there are 3 simplest categories for books – good, ‘meh’ and terrible. There are also those books which promise you great things and deliver that and more; there are books which promise you things and kinda fulfil those promises; the worst is when a book promises you something and doesn’t fulfil it. How this has to do with ‘Throne of Glass‘? Simple – it is the latter of every category I mentioned. 1. Terrible and 2. Promised great things which it never fulfilled. Call me what you want but I usually have certain expectations from at least reading the synopsis (and not just from the cover *cough Eyes Like Stars cough* ¬w¬). My point is – I have to warn you guys before you read this – I may lose myself in emotion of disappointment and start raging, perhaps even uncharacteristically using certain vernacular which is usually frowned upon (although I will filter it) but that is only to emphasise my point.
The story – 1/5 stars:
The story seemed very promising. How about I shall be lazy again and show you what I mean by the synopsis:
Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.
In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.
Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?
Sounds awesome, right? Promising, yeah? Well I was very excited to get this book. I started reading it as soon as I could (by that I mean it came after my prioritised must-read-as-soon-as-possible Traitor Spy Trilogy by Canavan…it was worth it – I mean the Trilogy, not the Throne of Glass). I didn’t even have many complaints at the start of the book as it was rolling with the synopsis somewhat. I admit it was a bit tiresome to read about how Celaena loved herself oh-so-much and how handsome the Crown Prince’s fabulous hair looked or whatever. I thought those were just, y’know, a style – the author described way more than necessary especially when it came to looks and clothes. Boy, was I devastated to discover that this led me to a bumpy ride through the book full of that and that the beginning was merely an omen.
I think my brain must have filtered the last sentence of “But will her assassin’s heart be melted?” since it seemed so insignificant. Yeah, it obviously foreshadowed romance but I knew this was a YA so that was to be expected! What I didn’t expect was that 3/4 of the mother fudging book was concentrated on it! Let’s get this straight – I come in, expecting a story about a kick-butt assassin who is not only sassy but witty. I expect interesting intrigue and awesome battles to the death as this series was dubbed ‘Hotter than the Hunger Games’. What I DO NOT expect is to find a story about a girl who does absolutely nothing for most of the book and mostly gets beaten up despite her being a world famous assassin! I DO NOT expect glitter, sparkles and rainbows, dress up in pretty dresses and lots of flirting! I had to literally puke out all the glitter this book fed me and this is not even the Book-Which-Must Not-Be-Named! I honestly have no idea how you can f*** up such a great promising story that badly… It just pains me as a fan of the fantasy genre… To say I was close to tears would…of course be an exageration but I was very pained to see the genre being ripped up and burned like that.
‘But there were some good premises, riiight~?’ Perhaps, but none of them were to my liking. The only thing this thing had was the plot but even this was screwed up by Maas so badly that it is unbelievable. What’s worse is that I can actually provide evidence for it, which is the scary part since I never bother to do that:
It had been over three weeks since her last encounter with Elena, and she hadn’t seen or heard her at all, despite the three Tests she’d had, the most exciting of which being an obstacle course, which she passed with only a few minor scratches and bruises. Unfortunately, Pelor hadn’t done so well, and had been sent home at long last. But he’d been lucky: three other competitors had died. All found in forgotten hallways; all mutilated beyond recognition.
Trivia time! What do you think is wrong with the quote above except everything? Trick question, right? Well…where do I even begin… Firstly, the beginning of the book emphasised how important all the tests were. They were supposed to eliminate the candidates in the most horrible way possible and with the idea of the ‘Hunger Games’ still creeping around in my mind, I thought this was meant to be something really difficult with lots of gore and fighting or at least something close to that. What do I find? Well, just like in the above excerpt, most of the so called ‘Tests’ were briefly summarised in 1, maximum 3, sentences…I got the impression that after the narration of the first ‘Test’ Maas got bored and decided to ignore the actual key plot point and concentrate more on Celaena doing nothing. I was also actually very curious as to what these ‘Tests’ shall be only to discover….they were something like rock climbing and archery – ARE YOU ACTUALLY KIDDING ME?!
You know another pathetic thing about the above excerpt? The actual gore and killing happened outside the ‘Tests’. This leaves me with one question – Maas, what were you thinking or were you even doing anything close to that?
“It’s cold,” she moaned, holding her knees to her body. She didn’t care that she had only a few months to beat the other Champions – she needed sleep.
Wow….all I can say here is – ladies and gentlemen, here is the world’s greatest assassin for you! Oh and this was cut out from the event where the Captain of the Guard has to wake her up and resorted to taking her blankets to do so. Am I joking? Nope, that is actually what happened.
You think that’s bad? Oh you should see how Celaena can’t stop checking herself out in the mirror while she wears dresses and how this notorious assassin instead of training reads books until like 2 in the morning and then wakes up at noon (that sounds like me actually….). I think Maas got her story and characters mixed up…
Oh right, the plot twist. Everyone loves a plot twist, right? Yeah, that might be valid if there was a good plot twist which was actually unexpected, maybe? No? Tell me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a plot twist supposed to be…shocking? See what I did there? ….Anyway…. my point is that the plot was terrible and it seemed as though Maas had just made it up as she went. To be honest, considering that the novel’s origins are from Fictionpress.net, I would not be surprised if that was the case.
Another point I wanted to make was that it seems this was pretty much ripped off ‘Poison Study‘ by Maria V Snyder. I haven’t actually read the book, but I think I’ll pick it up some time in the future. Now, I know that some might argue that Throne of Glass has been in the planning stages since something like 2002, but how can a plot be supposedly so similar? Well…I don’t really care but I thought I might just let you ponder on that.
The characters – 2/5 stars:
This is probably one of the worst cast of pieces of cardboard in any book I have ever read. And here I thought Twili-I-I mean the Book-Which-Must Not-Be-Named and Eyes Like Stars had terrible characters… How do I even start this…
Celaena: Most likely the worst possible assassin in the history of assassination. I am not even joking. Here we have a character who is apparently the world’s greatest assassin – trained to be as hard as steel and as tough as nails. It would help if she could have actually at least at some point in the book properly proven it (and no, the duel hardly counts). I can’t believe I’m saying this but the antagonist, Cain, was actually right in saying “Is this all you got?” or “Can you actually prove it or are you just yapping?” because those were the exact questions I would have liked to ask Celaena! How can an assassin snore through people randomly entering and exiting her room, even leaving some sort of a gift, without her noticing? How can an assassin miss killing someone from a balcony with a damn plant pot? Oh and don’t even get me started on how vain this brat was. Yeah, I understand that Maas intended to make her have the flaws of vanity etc etc but there is a limit to how annoying you can make a protagonist! She was a horror of a protagonist and instead of making her awesome, Maas made her into a typical annoying as hell Mary Sue. Yeah, we get it that she is literally a goddess walking the earth with her amazing skills, wit and looks but there is a limit to how many times per paragraph you can say that… At least I think that should be included in the law from now on in case something like this comes along.
Replace L with Celaena and ‘World’s Greatest Detective’ with ‘World’s Greatest Assassin’ and it’ll be pretty accurate….I should actually do that! …nah, this series is not worth the effort…hmm actually…
I guess with Celaena it was either a hit or a miss and you can pretty much guess that it was a miss for me. It really doesn’t help the story if you want to strangle the protagonist yourself.
If you want a summary of Celaena expectation VS reality, here it is:
Sad sad reality:
Dorian: Mr. Prince Charming on a White Horse. Except he’s not since he’s a player except he’s not since he hates all the court ladies except he just wants to annoy his parents except he’s…yeah. That’s what I got out of this character. The list goes on but that would be too boring and confusing for you to read. So…does Maas think the readers are complete morons or does she actually expect us to buy the crap that Dorian has never noticed just how evil his father was and that he actually had to do something about it? Well it sure seems so as the only reason Dorian started all this was because….he was bored. Wow, I know, right? Bored and defiant of his parents who are barely present after being mentioned quickly apparently being important. His infatuation with Celaena was so….forced… Honestly, he basically merely lusted after her but then apparently claimed quickly that he loved her to the core of her soul.
*SPOILER…or is it?*
He didn’t seem too bothered by Celaena basically dumping him despite his claims…One would have thought that he would actually try to do something about it…
*END OF SPOILER…or is-yeah I know, I should shut up*
He is foolish beyond logic so I think I shall just..continue to ignore him. He was a boring filler.
Chaol: Okay…I cannot help but state the obvious – am I the only one who keeps thinking of charcoal every time I read his name? …No? Anyway… I think this guy it the only one who brings up the rating of the character section to 2 stars…since he was the only character I kinda liked. Why? Well, for starters he reminded that bi-I-I mean female dog, figuratively speaking, of where her place was. I’ll show you what I mean:
“I look ridiculous! These pants are absurd, and this shirt is awful.” [-Celaena]
“Stop whining. No one gives a damn about your clothes.” [-Chaol]
[You tell her, Chaol!]
Let’s be honest – someone had to say that.
“Is anyone staring at you? Are any of them sizing you up? No. Because you’re not real competition.*more yada*” [-Chaol]
“Exactly! It’s unsulting!” [-Celaena]
“It’s smart, that’s what it is.” [-Chaol]
[Shouldn’t Celaena be ashamed that someone as lowly as a Captain of the Guard outsmarted her? And what the heck is her problem with going undercover? Isn’t that what assassins do all the time?]
The problem with Chaol, however, was that he wasn’t developed much. We didn’t know much about him and it was rather pathetic how he never killed anyone in his life despite being a Captain. His redeeming point was that he was literally the only character close to reality, especially in terms of romance. It was shown how it gradually developed and how Chaol stopped seeing the simple ‘black and white’ world.
The others: I’m not even going to bother giving them their own sections, they were that unnecessary/irrelevant/uninteresting. Nehemia was a forced ‘best friend’, Cain was a beefcake who clearly was the bad guy, the king wasn’t even there and…yeah, I think you get the idea. ‘Nough said.
Writer’s technique – 1/5 stars:
Maas, who taught you how to write? The most obvious dilemma I had with Maas was that she described a lot of unnecessary detail. I know this may be shocking but I am not interested in how shiny his hair is or how sparkly that dress is. Last time I checked, I was supposed to be reading a book about an assassin and not a crazed teenage girl who wants to be a model and drools over the hot guys.
Next – repetition. Repetition is good when used appropriately usually to create emphasis. If I were to say doing it right, I would mention Hodge and ‘Gilded Ashes‘ and from now on I would use doing it wrong example as Maas’ ‘Throne of Glass‘.
Massive story killer – exclamation mark mania. At least that was what I diagnosed Maas as. I’m sorry but since when overusing exclamation marks ever a good idea?! Ridiculous! Scandalous! Even in these 2 lines I managed to imitate Maas exactly. Now, imagine having that every few paragraphs or so. I almost guarantee that there will be an exclamation mark or two at least on every page.
World building was about as good as a 5-year-olds. The only life support Maas had in this area was the map at the beginning, which I should say, she did not draw. Apparently to understand most of the events in here you need to read the prequel novellas but….aren’t novellas additions to the story just like icing on a cake? The main story is what’s supposed to explain the events at least more than Maas did. Novellas are usually an expansion to give a much better picture.
Finally – fantasy genre. Maas, you impostor, get out of this industry! I don’t mean to sound like an angry hater but…this book actually invoked rage! I was utterly disgusted with Maas’ poor attempt of trying to pry into this area. This is pretty much the same as Twi-The Book-Which-Must Not-Be-Named and the vampire genre. Oh and guess what? Apparently this story was inspired by Cinderella…. Maas, are you mad? How did you get an assassin in there?
Overall – 2/5 stars:
The only reason I am even giving this poor excuse of a book 2 stars is because I still respect the fantasy genre, despite this book trampling on it, and assassins and maybe even Chaol. This was a torture to read and I had to literally tie myself up and read the last….300 pages (this book has 400 pages).
I’m not sure whether the problem here is that I’m a more serious reader and judge literature very critically since I study English as my A Level and wish to do it at Uni or whether I’m just not supposed to take this seriously and am over-reacting. Many have said that they liked this book…and I don’t understand why. It has a high rating on Goodreads but then I remember a certain…I can’t even call it a book…with sparkling leeches whose sexual orientation you question just by reading their description or listening to them (or looking, if you roll with the terrible film adaptations). This is once again a brilliant deception of being a best-seller. I think all that praise and advertising probably tells you how bad the book actually is… This is a pattern I noticed here, people! Conspiracy!
I was utterly disgusted with this being referred to as an epic fantasy. You want epic fantasy? Go read Tolkien, Canavan, Weeks or Martin just anything but this piece of…yeah. Basically – you read all you needed to know here and so you should run far and hide. If you are still not discouraged by this book….Gods help you. I’m not sure whether to call you brave or a masochist or having a strange taste. This book seems more like a soapie for ‘vastly-miscommunicated-about-what-a-true-assassin-and-fantasy-genre-is’ teenage girls than a serious fantasy.
Well that’s all. Sorry for the rant but I just had to try and warn people about this trap.
You can find me on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/RitaArthurs
So how would YOU rate this book: