“You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”
Throne of Glass is the fourth Maas book that I’ve read, the first three being her A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy. Those three books had a varying amount of success in entertaining me. The best, at least in my opinion, was the second book, A Court of Mist and Fury. While the conclusion, A Court of Wings and Ruin, fell well short of my expectations I still decided to give her Throne of Glass series a chance. I had high hopes that this book would contain the same spark that I had found with Mist and Fury or at least something close to it.
Throne of Glass begins in a labor camp with the prisoner Celaena. Celaena, we quickly come to find out, is a very successful assassin that was sentenced to the prison camp for her deeds. This is something I like about Maas. She isn’t afraid to make her main characters powerful females. It is certainly something that has been happening more and more across the genre but credit where credit is due.
Our assassin is recruited from the camp by the crown prince to participate in a series of tests set forth by the king. The winner of these tests will be given a contract under the king as a killer/spy/whatever need be for his kingdom. After the contract is fulfilled, this champion will be granted their freedom.
“Second place is a nice title for the first loser.”
Now, this premise certainly sounds wonderful. I expected all of the different champions to brutally demonstrate the attributes that got them selected to participate in these tests. With every turn of the page I anticipated a blood bath with swords and fists. Despite all of these trained killers all being in the same place, everything was really pretty tame. What violence there was is mostly given to us second hand. There are slightly vague and watery descriptions of gore and mutilated remains but no first hand accounts of fights to the death. No heroic swordplay or quietly slit throats. Just, “Oh, look at that blood in that hallway over there. How interesting.” Not exactly interesting, no.
What did this book focus on instead of bawdy dialogue and clashing blades? A love triangle.
There is no way for me to make this sound interesting so I’ll just throw it to you as it is. Celaena, our would be daring assassin, may be able to kill people but she is frightfully boring. She likes puppies and frilly dresses and pouts like a petulant child. For some reason the prince is enamored with her and so is her guard. The prince is a womanizer and the guard is a pansy. I do, however, like the prince more than the guard. He at least doesn’t try to hide the fact that he enjoys the company of females enthusiastically. While I appreciate his unapologetic attitude, it doesn’t make him any less boring.
Other stuff happens. Magic is involved. And a badass lady with a staff. And a ghost. You’d think those things would make the story great but all it did was salvage an otherwise dying plot.
While I did find this book predictable and average, Swetlana @ Reading Through The Nights has convinced me to give the next book in the series a shot. I’m told the second one is much better. I could feel the makings of a good story in this book it just never quite got there. Hopefully Crown of Midnight has that spark I was hoping for in this series.