18 October 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

"Nothing is a coincidence. Everything has a purpose. You were meant to come to this castle, just as you were meant to be an assassin."

When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King's Champion and be released from prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.

And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she'd have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle -- and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival -- and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.
Throne of Glass came onto my radar as this incredibly well-written, intoxicating world of romance, trechery, magic and adventure.  While there were all these things, they were by no means intoxicating, or well-written.   Throne of Glass, with the poorly written main character and plot, was a massive disappointment.  Another case of "great idea, poorly executed."

I could have forgiven the shoddy plot and shallow, irritating romance if the main character, Celaena, had somehow possessed any redeeming qualities.  In the first few pages, I thought she was pretty legit, but as the story progressed, the cracks in her character split open.  She wasn't legit.  She was selfish, conceited, unbelievably vain and desperate for attention.  Nothing about her made me convinced that she was this "fearsome" assassin.  For all her violent thoughts of all the things she could do to people, she came off as childish.

It didn't help that the plot was sloppy.  There were several different subplots going on at once, but very little connected them.  It was as if it was meant to be a straight-up adventure story but the mystery got thrown in at the last moment.  Nothing about it was cohesive, and when scenes were thrown in seemingly haphazardly, I got the impression half of the plot was for the shock value, or drama.

The most dramatic aspect of it, however, was the romance.  There was nothing new in the love triangle that sprung up between our main characters.  The worst part, though, was Celaena's role.  I was disgusted by how she suddenly lusted after one man, only to go for the other, within paragraphs of each other.  Not cool. 

The writing was second-rate at best.  While it's told in third person and we're getting the inside scoop on the character's thoughts, something was off.  There were instances where Celaena would refer to herself as "Adarlan's Assassin" and "the assassin," as if it's somehow not told from her point of view.  While it fits some writing styles, it didn't with this one because it was inconsistent.  Inconsistent also was the sudden and unexpected detours into the philosophical realm that made no sense coming from Celaena.  That kind of sloppiness pulled me out of the story more than the lack of world-building and poor character development.

By the three hundred page mark, I called it quits and skipped ahead.  I read anything I thought was interesting and skimmed through the rest.  Nothing about the ending was a huge shocker.   I had it figured out by the middle of the book, anyway.  

I feel like Throne of Glass had so much potential but it was squandered by lack of passion.  I didn't feel any kind of compassion for Celaena, or her plight, or for the other narrators because it was as if Maas didn't get into their heads enough in order to bring them out to the reader.

If I were to recommend a girl-assassin story, Throne of Glass would not be it.  I would try your luck on Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Mistwood by Leah Cypess, and Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, but not Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

Nor had she missed when they zigzagged between levels, even though the building was a standard grid of hallways and stairwells. As if she'd lose her bearings that easily.
She might have been insulted if he wasn't trying so hard.After a too-long moment, the crown prince spoke. "I don't quite comprehend why you'd force someone to bow when the purpose of the gesture is to display allegiance and respect." His words were coated with glorious boredom.
Book Info
  • pages - hardcover, 404
  • published - August 2012
  • publisher - Bloomsbury USA
  • genre - fantasy
  • received via - Amazon
  • rating - 2/5
  • series - Throne of Glass
    • Throne of Glass