Genre: young adult, fantasy, romance
In a land without magic,
where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the
castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she
defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition,
she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The
Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the
castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start
dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for
survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys
I know many people love this series, and that was exactly why I was hesitant to read this story. The premise sounded like something I would really enjoy: a competition, a mystery and a kick-ass heroine, but I was wondering if the book wasn't hyped up to much.
When I finally started the book I quickly realised that this one would not be for me. I did continue the book, because I was hoping for it to get better, but it did not. The main reason I did not like this book was the main character, Celaena Sardothien. She wasn't the kick-ass heroine I was promised. She was vain, whiny, judgemental and immature. I do like flawed characters, but they definitely also have to have some positive traits, and I found it hard to find those in Celaena. The only positive thing I can come up with is that she doesn't give up. Celaena was very mean, she was constantly saying nasty stuff about lady Kaltain before Kaltain ever did anything to her. Celaena is also VERY BEAUTIFUL AND HAS GORGEOUS HAIR!!!!!, okay sure, but I already got that after the first ten times it was mentioned, and all the exclamation marks are unnecessary, there is no need to yell.
My biggest problem with Celaena was not that I did not like her, but that she just was not believable as an assasin. She is supposed to be the country's most notorious assasin, but instead she can't keep her emotions in check and constantly bursts out in anger (she has tantrums), people are constantly able to sneak up on her, she doesn't recognize poison eventhough she supposedly knows a lot about it and she does not take threats serious. Sure, everyone can have a bad day, but by the end of the book I was wondering how Celaena could possibly still be alive. Also, how on earth would she ever be able to kill someone secretly if she bursts out in anger every five minutes just because someone said something she does not like.
I found Celaena's immaturity rather strange. She has lived in a very harsh environment for many years and I just cannot imagine she would still be so immature after everything that happend to her (which, by the way, is way too much).
According to the synopsis the competition is the main focus of the book, but in reality it is not. In the beginning some aspects of the competition are explained, but later on pretty much any thing to do with the competition gets summarized in a few lines. Instead the book is about Celaena looking awesome in dresses, Celaena having awesome hair and a crown prince who is very atracted to Celaena because she is so beautiful. Don't get me wrong, I honestly love clothes, but I did not pick up this book to read about clothes. I picked up this book because I was hoping for some action, but sadly this was lacking.
The mystery in this book was not able to hold my attention. Celaena herself clearly does not care about it in the beginning, which does not really give the reader a reason to care about it, and apart from that it was both predictable and lacking in depth. Most of the research Celaena does trying to solve the mystery is only mentioned in summary. In truth, pretty much the entire plot gets summarized, which did not make me connect to the story at all. Instead we read about Celaena admiring herself, hanging out with a friend and talking about people behind their back and most of all, very akward (but not cute) moments between prince Dorian and Celaena, so basically things that do not really add anything to the plot.
Only the final battle towards the end is actually shown at the moment itself rather than summarized afterwards, but by that point I did not care enough about the story that it could keep my interest. The final battle showed again that Celaena cares to much about appearances: she is annoyed with the first opponent she gets to fight, just because 'he is not very clean'. Why would she even care he is not clean? She is going to fight him, outside, ofcourse that will result in blood and dirt so it's not going to matter if he was clean to begin with. And besides, I think it makes more sense to worry about staying alive than if other people are looking good...
The last few chapters of the book did make me a little bit curious about the next book, but since this was only the last 20 pages or so out of a 400 page book I don't think I will continue with this series.
Most characters were not very convincing, but surprisingly enough the king truely seemed quite scary, because Celaena's reaction to him was shown. This was one of the few instances were truely something was shown instead of told.
This book promises a love triangle in future books. However, I could not really take Dorian and Celaena's relationship seriously, so it does not bother me that much. Prince Dorian's love for Celaena was not convincing. They were only attracted to each other because they were both such beautiful
people. I liked the other love interest, Chaol, more. Mostly because he is one of the very few people in the book who is not stupid enough to forget that Celaena is an 'extremely dangerous assasin' and actually sometimes calls Celaena out on her bad behaviour. Dorian and Chaol do not really have a life of their own, they are there to fall in love with the main character and that is it.
For a fantasy story, the world was surprisingly dull and it's magic system (or lack thereof) was not explained. I have a vague idea of what the country is like: there is the capital with a glass castle, there are the salt mines where the slaves work and there are mountains and a forest in this country. That is it, everything I learned about this country.
I do feel a lot in this story is left unexplained on purpose, as to lure people into reading the next books, but I just got to little depth to really get excited about this book, which is a shame. It does have good potential, I just don't think it lives up to that.
To end on a more positive note, I did think that Celaena's past was interesting and that does mean there is still some potential for the future books, since that probably will be explored more.
Did you read Throne of Glass? Am I truely alone in feeling the way I do about this book?