There are some super critical reviews of this book, and I probably could be equally critical if I really want to, but I genuinely enjoyed this book anThere are some super critical reviews of this book, and I probably could be equally critical if I really want to, but I genuinely enjoyed this book and its flaws didn't detract from that enjoyment. It's very obviously Twilight-inspired (teenage girl gets sent to live with a relative in the cold north, mysterious stuff is happening in the woods, there are two cute guys, etc) but the protagonist felt more real than Bella. She has hobbies (including athletic ones!) and passions (Amnesty International!) and a lot of flaws. She does some downright stupid stuff (like going into the woods in search of the mysterious stranger who has been following her) but given the saviour-complex she's developed after being unable to prevent her step-father's death, it felt pretty realistic? People do some bizarre stuff when they're grieving.
I loved Zara's grandmother. Maybe I just have a thing for snarky, badass grandmothers, but I loved the dynamic and banter between Zara and Betty. The friends she makes at school are fun as well, but I did feel like all of the friendships developed super quickly and suddenly they were all solving the mystery in the matter of, what, a week? I did like the group dynamic and felt that it was pretty realistic, especially the dorky girl who doesn't realise her best friend is in love with her. I wasn't entirely sure about Megan to begin with, but eventually her treatment of Zara made sense. I did enjoy watching the group figure out what was going on, but the whole "we learned this on the internet so it must be true" thing felt a bit ridiculous, but also, it's 2009 and they're 16 and maybe we did believe everything on the internet back then?
If you want to read a kind of ridiculous YA novel about fantasy creatures that you can eat up in an evening, this is for you. It's not perfect, but it was exactly what I needed to read this week. I'm intrigued enough to see if the library has the next book in the series....more
I'm glad I powered through with this book, but honestly, I didn't really find it all that engaging until about 100 pages in. Typically, I have a 50-paI'm glad I powered through with this book, but honestly, I didn't really find it all that engaging until about 100 pages in. Typically, I have a 50-page rule: if I'm not invested in the story by that point, it's okay to put it aside. Since this book clocks in at around 400 pages and it was lent to me by a friend who raved about it, I decided to power through to 100 pages, and by that point, it had got more interesting, so I kept going.
My friend had warned me that Celaena is pretty irritating and arrogant in the first book in this series, and that's kind of how I felt about her to begin with. Her entire journey from the salt mines to the palace wasn't all that interesting for me. She never seemed to be the badass assassin she was described as. There are a lot of descriptions of her considering attacking people, or reminiscing about attacking people, and her incredibly beauty (in spite of the fact that she's in a terrible state after, you know, being stuck in a salt mine for a year). And we kind of get thrown straight into the Dorian vs. Chaol love triangle during this journey, and as other reviewers have commented, at this point they're pretty interchangeable, so I wasn't exactly rooting for either of them. I just wanted the story to actually start.
The plot got more interesting around 100 pages in, once we're actually at the palace and Celaena is learning about the tests she'll have to go through to compete to becoming the King's Champion. We start to get more insight into Celaena's character at this point. I felt like I really got invested in the story around halfway through, once Nehemia is introduced and Celaena starts learning about Wyrdmarks and investigating what they mean. We also start to get more insight into Dorian's character at this point, and I genuinely became interested in how his story would develop.
I wish we'd learned more about Chaol in this book--he never really felt like a viable love interest for Celaena, as the insights into his feelings were always pretty brief and not very well developed. I know this book is part of a series, but really, if you want me to care about both love interests, they have to both be equally well developed. Although Chaol is definitely more my type (quieter and less cocky and alpha than Dorian, protective and sensitive while also being Celaena's equal in many ways) we didn't spend as much time inside his head, or learning about his backstory.
Celaena isn't the most consistent heroine. She's supposed to be the most feared assassin in the world, but she doesn't wake up when Dorian leaves a bag of sweets on her pillow, or explore possible hidden escape routes from her room as soon as she arrives? I don't buy it. I wasn't so annoyed by her petty jealousies about not being allowed to attend palace events or her struggling with he attraction to Dorian. She might be an assassin, but she's still a young woman with emotions and hormones. In fact, it was kind of nice to see her having flaws, after the first quarter of the book were she seemed almost too perfect. I did get fed up with her jumping to conclusions when trying to solve a mystery towards the end of the book. It was so obvious to me what was going on, and I was almost rolling my eyes at her idiocy. Then again, is an assassin supposed to be able to solve mysteries? Maybe not.
I would say that the first quarter of this book was uninspiring, the next quarter was good, and the last half of the book was excellent. It took me age to work through the first 100 pages of the book, but I sped through the last 200, not wanting to put the book down. I definitely want to read the next book in the series, but I'm hoping that it doesn't have the same plot structure.
For all its flaws, Throne of Glass is a great introduction to a wonderfully crafted world with plenty of countries, cultures, languages and religions. I think it could be a bit shorter and cut out some word-padding and repetition, or spend more of the early pages on character development, but otherwise it's pretty good. If you have the time, it's worth pushing through the early chapters to get to the good stuff....more