Author: Sarah J. Maas
Warning: This is pretty long. I didn’t mean for it to be but I suppose there’s no going back now.
I went into this expecting it to be, at best, tolerable. A lot of reviews I’ve read have been incredibly negative and those who did recommend it to me did so on the proviso that the sequel was undoubtedly better but you have to read the first first. For continuity, or whatever.
Having finished reading Throne of Glass, I can see why some people loved it and some people hated it. What most seems to divide readers is a scene I’m going to refer to as the Candy Incident.
*SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET* Skip past the italics for more spoiler-free goodness.
Essentially, there’s a killer lose in the castle taking out Celaena’s fellow competitors and she wakes one morning to find a huge bag of candy on her pillow which she then scoffs without checking for poison. Now, a lot of people have complained that she, as a supposedly trained and deadly assassin, shouldn’t be so stupid as to eat potentially poisoned candy when someone is going on a merry murder spree.
- It’s essentially been established for the reader (and I’m fairly sure Celaena has worked this out too, on some level) that the killer is definitely not the poisoning type. The tear apart corpse and devour body parts type, sure. But candy killer? Not so much.
- It’s ‘yulemas’ morning, (which, on a worldbuilding level is a bit of a cop out) and in Erilea, you’d expect a pressie on yulemas morning. My problem with this small detail is that someone has snuck into her room and she hasn’t noticed. But, in her defence, she’s been sleeping poorly and super paranoid for weeks at this point. She probably just wore herself out.
- Celaena is, as far as I could tell, fundamentally a girl who likes books and beautiful dresses and music and witty conversation. She likes people. She trusts people. Despite everything that’s happened to her, she is still so, so human. Human enough to let down her guard on yulemas morning because someone has done something nice for her. Human enough to trust in the kind gesture of another. And this is so, so important because, despite the competition, and the creepy killing creature stalking the castle, it’s beginning to feel a little like home, and she hasn’t had ‘home’ in so very long.
Things I loved:
Though there were some aspects of her personality that, when introduced, seemed a little contrived, Celaena comes across as incredibly real. She is full of contradictions, in the most human of ways. As the story goes on, you slowly learn more about her, her thoughts, her beliefs, her hobbies. And yes, some come out of the blue a little but it’s like having someone you’ve known for years reveal that they do watercolour painting in their spare time. People are full of contradictions and, like Celaena, our responsibilities and our desires pull us in different directions.
The banter between Celaena and Chaol, Celaena and Nehemia, and Celaena and Dorian, had me grinning and chuckling most of the way through. The lightness of tone and wit provided a sweet counter to the essentially dark tone of the book.
She was amazing and full of surprises.
The relationships between the characters, romantic and platonic, were well executed. I do feel there were some hints of instalove, especially between Celaena and Chaol, but we’ll blame that on the adrenalin coursing through their bodies when they were training together all the time.
I personally really like Dorain and Celaena together but, long term, I think Dorian and Nehemia are more viable. And honestly, I think Celaena and Chaol work better as friends. Good friends. Friends with benefits, even, but just friends. I really want there to be more opportunities in all books, YA and otherwise, for male and female characters to have those super strong band of brothers type relationships without it turning into some lovelorn, sexual tension thing. So, you know, if you’re writing something like that and you need readers, you know where to find me.
Things I didn’t like so much:
There were a few times when some of the female characters super judged each other for what they liked, their ambitions, or apparent lack thereof. I don’t sign up to read about that. We all got our own thing going on and there are more than enough people in the world willing and ready to judge a woman’s choices without other women jumping on that bandwagon too.
The writing style, especially at the start, felt quite weak. It did improve and I look forward to it improving more as the series goes on.
All in all, though, I really enjoyed it. I found myself reading it when I didn’t really have the time which is always a good sign.
So, will I read the next one? Yes. Yes, I will.
Have you read Throne of Glass? What were your thoughts?