I wrote this a while ago, and then just never posted it, for reasons
unknown. But here it is anyway, my review of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.
The book is about Celaena Sardothien, the best assassin in Adarlan. She
is 18, she was the best assassin in the world, trained since she was about 8,
and was basically ruling the underworld. Even though most people don’t actually
know she’s only this 18-year-old chick. She gets caught and is put in salt
mines as a slave. A year later the Crown Prince of Adarlan, Dorian, fetches her
from the mines because he wants her to participate in a contest to become the
King’s Champion. Basically she will do the king’s bidding, everything he wants
murder wise, for four years, and then she’ll have freedom. If she fails she’ll
be sent back to the mines. She goes to Adarlan with the prince and the young
captain of the guard, Chaol, to try and become the champion. And the story
takes off from there.
Okay, my sort of general thoughts were: meh. It was okay. I don’t see
what the whole hoo-ha is about. I do kind of want to read the other books, just
cause you know, it was an okay way to spend some time. But it didn’t blow me
away. People are so amazed, I wasn’t. It was fine. It just feels like Goodreads
and Booktube is full of flailing and I don’t get it.
I liked Chaol. He’s a good side character, and a fairly okay love
interest. He’s grumpy, and scowly and he is more pragmatic and practical. Which
I like. That's a bit odd, perhaps, but it's fine. I like scowly, grumpy people.
I also liked Nehemia. I think she was interesting, she’s tough and she’s
a rebel, and a badassador. I liked her. She is a tough lady, she’s complicated,
and weird, and I like her.
The world building was actually pretty solid. There was no info dumping,
it was a slow build of information, and some things are sort of left off as
well. Because we don’t need to know everything at once, it’s gonna go on for
six books. She established only the places she needed, hinting to other places,
but not really expanding much on them, which is good, she can do that when she
Things I didn’t like as much:
Celaena. I mean she’s okay. She’s not the most interesting character
I’ve ever read. She’s just so arrogant and annoying in the beginning. I think
she grows quite a bit during just this novel, which is pretty impressive. She
becomes more, I guess moral. She sort of leaves behind part of her cold, cocky
behavior. She is genuinely interested in being better, but she just annoyed me.
The love triangle, oh God. It annoyed me. It just came on so quickly.
There’s gonna be six goddamn books, you don’t need to establish the love
triangle already, calm down.
A LOT happens. A lot of stuff. There’s the contest, there’s a rebellion
in the south, there’s something killing champions, there is a love triangle,
there’s political intrigue, and there are ghosts and shit. There is so much
stuff happening. And it’s only the first book, couldn’t she just chill out a
little and spread stuff out over the rest of the books, there’s just so much.
It felt a bit over the top and possibly a bit messy. And at the same time,
there are 24 champions, a full court, a visiting princess. I never felt like I
was confused, to her credit, but there was so much going on I sort of… felt out
of breath. There was just a lot to keep up with.
The writing. It’s okay. I’m not crazy about it, it’s a bit too flowery.
I felt like she was trying to write more high fantasy, but didn’t necessarily
have the ability. Sometimes it’s better to just write a bit simpler and it’ll
flow a bit better. I think you should write on the level you are, and not try
too hard to write the most outstanding language if you can’t.
Here’s another thing. Two of the main characters, Chaol, Celaena
specifically, are very young. Celaena is 18, and she is the best assassin in
the world. Really? She’s 18 years old. Now I know she’s been training since she
was 8, but still. Chaol I find more distressing on this point. He is 22 years old
and he is the captain of the guard? No. That’s not going to happen. If you’re
going to be the like… guy in charge of the king’s army you need to be a
seasoned soldier, you’re older, you sort of exude authority and command. And
when you’re 22 you don’t naturally have that unless you’re a very extraordinary
human being. They just seem like Mary Sue/Marty Stu characters to me. The thing
is, Chaol doesn’t need to be in charge. He could have just been this
lieutenant, or sergeant who is friends with the prince. He’s the boss of the
army, he doesn’t have time to follow Celaena around.
I liked it. I don’t regret reading it in any way. It was a fun read, I
like reading fantasy, and I like reading about slightly unhinged killers, so I
enjoyed that aspect. I just wanted a bit more.