Unpopular review time! Or maybe not, I don’t know. The thing is, I didn’t love “Throne of Glass” the way most people do. Hell, I barely LIKED it at times, and that’s primarily because of the books main character, Celaena. Sure, she’s a strong young woman, who is deadly and can hold her own against any man there is, but she’s just not all that likeable. You see, Celaena is an assassin, and at seventeen years old, she’s not just any assassin, but the best in the world. Then she’s betrayed and spends a year as a slave working the salt mines where most people barely survive a month. She’s beaten, and on the cusp of being broken, when the crown prince of the kingdom that is methodically conquering the rest of the world, comes and whisks her away. His plan is to have her become the King’s Champion—basically just another name for government sanctioned assassin—deposing of all the king’s enemies. If she can do that faithfully for four years, she will win her freedom from the same man who made her a slave to begin with. With a backstory like that, I should root for this girl. She should be instantly likeable and you want her to kick butt and win against all odds, and she does, except she’s painfully arrogant and kind of forgets she was a SLAVE when two pretty boys walk into her life.
The narration paints Celaena as awesome, it tells you over and over again: “she’s deadly! She’s amazing! No, really, fear her!” But you rarely see it. She goes on and on about how many times she could escape from the palace, but never does. She’s this fearsome assassin, but also this kind of stuck up person who loves pretty dresses and shoes, and when other court ladies trash talk this oh-so-mysterious-beauty, she’s pushing pots off banisters to scare them. These two things were just so at odds for me. I get what the author was going for: she’s this fearsome warrior, but also just a young girl who still enjoys parties. But is she really? Can you be the world’s most fearsome assassin and also completely, and painfully, shallow? Sure, maybe. But for the vast majority of the book Celaena was all arrogance, little substance, and full of a narration begging me to believe her unrivaled prowess as an assassin. I needed to see it to believe it, and I didn’t see it until near the end of the book. Also, I found it pretty problematic that Celaena constantly puts down every other woman she meets saying “she’s nothing like them”. There is nothing wrong with "other girls"! Basically, unless the narration was focusing on the main character or her new best lady friend, every other woman was depicted as a power hungry idiot, and frankly I’m not here for that.
I am not a fan of love triangles. There’s a love triangle here and it’s so obvious about where it’ll end from the very beginning that I often wondered why it was there to begin with other than to “show” us how amazingly beautiful the main character is. While I did like both the prince and the captain of the guard, and found them to be far better-rounded then our leading lady, I did find Dorian rather superficial in his attraction to Celaena. Again it comes down to how often we are beat over the head with how deadly she is, and how she is an enemy to the prince and his father for enslaving her, that I found it odd that the prince was kind of so willing to ignore all of that and fall for her because of how pretty she is. Granted, Celaena has some fun and witty banter with the guys, but it wasn’t enough to make me like her that much more. Also, the prince basically says early on that the ultimate contest was going to be between Celaena and the biggest competitor, and it was! And the reader knows it! And yet we have to wait until the very end to see that battle and, in between, Celaena STILL isn’t showing the reader much of why she has the reputation that she does outside of sparring with Chaol.
Anyway, the book kind of redeems itself toward the end. Celaena mellows a bit, or, her awesomeness and arrogance just isn’t brought up as often, I’m not entirely sure. I liked the mystery of what was going on in the castle even if the mystery about Celaena's connection to the people in the crypt below the palace was kind of obvious. I liked how cold and evil the king is, I enjoyed Dorian, and I really liked Chaol and want more of his backstory. The monsters that are summoned, who is behind it and why, are all intriguing, and it is really hard not to want this tiny girl to kick some big brutes’, and all the cheaters in the competitions, butts. But I needed more from the main character. The things I should have sympathized with her for, the things that should have made me love her more, just never got there. All i got was her bratty arrogance, and I did not want that! I didn’t hate the book or the story though by any means, I was entertained—after a while. I’ve heard only great things about this series so I’m confident that it does get better as the series progresses, so I will be continuing on. Hopefully Calaena earns the titles she has, though, just saying. Honestly, this is a pretty low 3 stars for me, but it does seem to be one of those books that most people either love, or their issues with the same things I had issues with are so strong that there’s just no redeeming the story as a whole. I’m more willing to give the benefit of the doubt, I suppose. Hopefully it won’t bite me in the butt later!
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