The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas is probably one of the most well loved fantasy series out there today. Like so many of the books on my shelf, this has found a home with me because I heard virtually nothing but good reviews – I admit it: I’m a total hype-reader and not ashamed to admit it. I feel like everyone and their mother has read and raved about this so I’m not only late to the party, but also have a fairly unpopular opinion to share. As you’ve probably guessed already, I did not like this book. At all. If you’re thinking Larissa, how is that possible? This book is perfection! keep reading to find out why it didn’t agree with me.
| Published: 2012 by Bloomsbury | Hardcover Edition | Price: 17,89 € |
| 406 pages | ISBN: 978-1-59990-695-9 |
Celaena Sardothien, a very famous teenage assassin, has been enslaved and suffering in a salt mine, fearing for her life, when she gets called to Rifthold, her country’s capital, to be the Crown Prince’s champion in a competition to become the King’s royal assassin. Temporarily freed, she fights to win back her permanent freedom, even if that means playing the king’s pawn for several years. As the competition draws closer to an end and some of her fellow competitors are brutally murdered, Celaena begins to find out what is really going on in the palace and starts to question who she can really put her trust in.
The cover is one of the best parts of this book. Every book cover in the series follows the same theme: Celaena holding some sort of weapon in the front, looking pretty badass, and Celeana wearing a pretty dress on the back. I liked the color scheme and thought it all looked very nice together. However, it doesn’t represent the story very well. The same goes for the title. The glass throne plays no role in the story, at least in this first book, so I think the author could have chosen a better title. The chapters are very short and, therefore, there are a lot of them in what I consider a rather short book (around 400 pages) for the high fantasy genre.
This is what I had the biggest problem with. The wording, the dialogue, the descriptions – just the overall writing style bugged me. What bugs me even more is that I can’t pinpoint what exactly I didn’t like about it. A lot of the things the characters say seem totally random to me. Nothing really fits together. It didn’t flow nicely at all and I had a very hard time reading this without constantly taking little breaks, simply because the jumbled wording didn’t allow for me to get into the story. It sometimes reminded me a little of a ten-year-old’s first writing attempts.
The first distinctly annoying thing I noticed was the constant repetition of Celaena’s title “Adarlan’s assassin”. Everyone, and I mean everyone, will know that she is “Adarlan’s most notorious assassin” after reading the first chapter or so but it has to be repeated a million times to really make the reader believe what a badass she is! Because judging from her actions, or rather the lack thereof, I’d think she was anything but.
The whole time I was waiting for some sort of plot twist and when it finally came I just thought Really? That’s it? Totally predictable…
With all this talk about assassins I was pretty underwhelmed when (spoiler alert) no one, not even a fly, got assassinated in this book. Long parts of it were filled with unnecessary scenes that did nothing to further the plot like Celaena playing the piano, Celaena reading a book, Celeana thinking about her appearance, or Celaena playing billiards while the more interesting things like the competition that could possibly save her life were barely brushed over or just summarized at points. When you have to summarize your own plot because there’s no way to make it more interesting you have a problem.
The world building was meh. I would have liked to see some more political background or basically anything that explained the world better. Especially in high fantasy books the world building plays a crucial part in me being able to either totally drown in the story or not being able to get into it at all. There weren’t enough specifics for me to be able to tell whether I liked or hated it.
The thing is, I like the whole idea of the story very much. It sounds super interesting and like it could have been truly amazing, but the end result is just a bunch of wasted potential.
Celaena Sardothien is without a doubt one of the brattiest characters I have ever read about. No, she is not a funnily and lovably sassy heroine like I was hoping for; she is just a plain old brat. Her supposed awesomeness is only ever described but never shown in her actions. She thinks she’s too cool for everything and has the liberty to say and do as she pleases, while clearly forgetting that she is a SLAVE currently fighting for her freedom and with it the minor little thing that is her life. At times she is just plain stupid.
The two major male characters, prince Dorian and Chaol, the guard’s captain, both didn’t impress me at all. I didn’t find Dorian to be likeable in the least and Chaol had absolutely no personality whatsoever. They could both have been easily replaced without any major loss to the overall story. They just didn’t provide any substance to the plot. Of course a love triangle had to happen, which is not only annoying but also makes me question the sanity of either one of the two. What could they possibly see in Celaena? She has zero redeeming qualities and virtually nothing lovable about her. I might also point out that they DON’T KNOW ANYTHING about her or her intentions (she could be planning to assassinate them after all!), yet they are madly in love!
The “best friend” Nehemia was the outline of a character at best, just like Chaol. Her appearance and sudden friendship with Celaena were just another random occurrence to add to the rather shallow plot. The “villain(s)” seemed more like parodies that I just couldn’t take seriously.
Since I really don’t have a favorite quote, here are two that stood out to me because of their sheer ridiculousness. See for yourself:
“Candy!” A large paper bag sat on a pillow, and she found that it was filled with all sorts of confectionary goodies. There was no note, not even a name scribbled on the bag. With a shrug and glowing eyes, Celaena pulled out a handful of sweets. Oh, how she adored candy!
Celaena issued a jolly laugh and crammed some of the candy into her mouth. One by one, she chewed through the assortment, and she closed her eyes and breathed in deeply as she tasted all of the flavors and textures. (page 272)
With all the gruesome murders that have been happening and most of the other contestants hating Celaena’s guts, she doesn’t even think twice about a mysterious bag of candy suddenly appearing on her pillow and proceeds to gobble down all of it. It couldn’t possibly be poisoned or anything, of course not. *facepalm*
Also, jolly laugh? Confectionary goodies? The wording here is cringe-worthy.
“Of course I want her,” Celaena said, then realized what the implications would be. “But I want her trained. I don’t want her urinating on everything and chewing on furniture and shoes and books. And I want her to sit when I tell her to and lay down and roll over and whatever it is that dogs do. And I want her to run – run with the other dogs when they’re practicing. I want her to put those long legs to use. […] When I’m training” – she kissed the pup’s soft head, and the dog nestled her cold nose against Celaena’s neck – “I want her in the kennels, training as well. When I return in the afternoon, she may be brought to me. I’ll keep her in the night.” Celaena held the dog at eye level. The dog kicked her legs in the air. “If you ruin any of my shoes,” she said to the pup, “I’ll turn you into a pair of slippers. Understood?” (page 276)
Behold Celaena Sardothien, queen of the brats! This is a prime example of her obnoxiousness. She just received a puppy as a gift while still being a slave and has nothing better to do than make a list of snotty demands. Seriously?
Maybe my expectations were just way too high, but then again, maybe this was just not a very good book. While I did like the overall idea of the story, the execution just didn’t do it for me. All that wasted potential makes me pretty sad. I will keep reading this series in hopes of it getting significantly better. I have heard Crown of Midnight is supposedly better than Throne of Glass, so I still have some hope for this series left. I have started reading A Court of Thorns and Roses by the same author and I really enjoyed the writing style in that one! I couldn’t believe how different the two were. Maybe Sarah J. Maas just keeps growing as a writer and I will enjoy her other works more. This one, however, was definitely a flop.
1.5 out of 5 Hubbles
Other bloggers’ reviews to check out:
Kaddes Schmökerstunde has a pretty positive review
Literatouristin Bianca has a really positive review in German
Vera over at Chaoskingdom also has good things to say
Denise at Bunte Bücherwelten loved the book
Julia at Julia’s Wunderland had some negative things to say