Monday, June 25, 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Pub date: August 7, 2012.

Author website.

Looking for the teen girl version of Game of Thrones? Find it in this sweeping fantasy debut—that already has thousands of loyal online fans.

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.  (

For help with this review I'm going to shamelessly employ the use of Tom Hiddleston's face.  It's come to my attention that he emotes rather well and his Loki faces will greatly enhance my feelings about this book.  Shall we begin?

"Teen girl version of GAME OF THRONES?"  Um, yes please.  How excited was I for THRONE OF GLASS?  I'm at a point in my life where I'm feigning some serious fantasy.  Like GOOD fantasy that gives me writer envy and encourages me to write my own work.  So of course I snapped this one up.  Why wouldn't I?

I began reading and I was a little touchy.  The character seemed a bit much but of course I'm going to keep reading.  I'm only a handful of pages in.

06/12page 9
2.0%"I'm definitely interested but I'm pretty much over the super awesome heroine with fantasmagorical skills of death. We'll see where this goes."

Except I didn't like where it was going.

06/12page 11
3.0%"Okay, okay, authors? Can we please stop with the "this guy's a total douche but he's sooooooooo hot" bullshit? PLEASE? If a guy chains me in shakles and makes me a slave I'm not going to think him "achingly handsome." I'd want to chew his pretty boy face off. Gah! These forceful hints at romance are contrived and unnecessary."

Within a span of two pages I've already become enraged.  I am not a romance reader.  I've said that many, MANY times.  But if you're going to insist on giving me romance in books that I am willing to read, at least make it make sense.  At this point I'm starting to twitch.

06/12page 11
3.0%"Wait…what?? Two pages ago you weren't going to feel embarrassed by being dirty because that's WEAK and now, under the eyes of supreme royal hotness, you are ashamed of yourself and bemoan your "miserable state for a girl of former beauty"??? Head, meet brick wall."

And we are ALREADY deviating from character. Eleven pages in.  Super strong raging assassin bitch I DON'T CARE IF I'M DIRTY I HATE YOU ALL to OMG DON'T LOOK AT ME I'M HIDEOUS!

Apparently Celaena is unintentionally bipolar.  So we have some character issues  I can handle that.  She's not too Sueish so far.  I've read far worse . . .

06/12page 11
3.0%"OMG OMG OMG I can't do it. Not only is she a super awesome, highly trained assassin but we get a paragraph about the gloriousness of her beauty? Excuse me. I'm going to go stab my expectations to death followed by a hunt of PNR for DARING to bleed into fantasy."

06/12page 12
3.0%"And she was rich. Anything else? I don't want to give up after 12 pages. I WON'T give up after 12 pages."

06/12page 12
3.0%"She single-handedly killed 24 people in her escape attempt? O_o *facepalm*"

I just . . . is this for real?  Is this pompous little tart really for real?  From the 100 pages that I've read Celaena's only flaw is hubris except 99% of the time it's only validated.  Twelves pages.  I'm TWELVE pages in.  But no!  I'm going to keep trying!  I must!  Because surely they're going to keep treating her like the prisoner that she is!  Because anything else would just be contrivance and we can't possibly have MORE of that, right?  RIGHT?

06/12page 13
3.0%"Okay. If this girl is so insanely sooper speshul deadly, and they all know it, why isn't she bound up like Hannibal Ledger instead of being able to move in shackles, giving her the opportunity to "kill the prince in a second?" More importantly, if she's so sure of her skills why doesn't she actually take the opportunity instead of just running her brain about it?"


WHY is she being given her own rooms when they're so super afraid she's going to murder everyone?  (And that's supposed to be Lecter, by the way, stupid autocorrect).  WHY is she being given a mirror?  Oh wait . . . obviously that CAN'T BE SHATTERED AND USED TO GO STABBY ON PEOPLE.  WHY does she get a fork but not a knife?  BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW FORK TINES ARE HARMLESS.  In reality if this chick were so phantasmagorically awesome at killing she'd be treated as such.  She wouldn't be put in shackles that she can move around in, because obviously she can do a lot with just an inch.  She doesn't need the whole mile.  And she certainly wouldn't be getting a pretty room.  She's end up stuck next to that dude that Yahtzee's on everyone walking by.

On top of all of this Celaena apparently has the mental capacity of a twelve-year-old, asking inane questions and then name-calling when she's not pandered to.

06/12page 26
6.0%"The Captain of the Royal Guard is unkind for not wanting to humor and arrogant 18-year-old as she talks endlessly about her awesomeness? How horrible he is, truly."

06/12page 28
7.0%"Punch her, Chaol. She deserves it. Nice to know she's an arrogant ass and a petulant child. How can one be the supreme pizza topping assassin and have the mentality of someone five years younger than her? I guess maturity and assassinry are mutually exclusive."

Oh hey, you're still talking?  You need to shut up now.  Although I will say Chaol was a pretty good guy from what I read.  He really didn't put up with Celaena's crap and her ensuing pissy fits as a result amused me.  She actually called him mean for not responding to her.  Meanie McWeenie!  Nyah!

But wait!  There's more Sue!

06/12page 31
7.0%"And she's magic too? This wasn't forshadowing WHATSOEVER."

At this point I'm filled with so much chagrin I don't even know what to do with myself.

From the super Sue to the plot devices of epic proportions to situational contrivances that are so blatantly obvious Helen Keller can see them I just couldn't go much further.

06/12page 33
8.0%"You are a piece of baggage to him, you dumbass. You are a slave serving a purpose. Did you expect high fives all around?"

06/12page 38
9.0%"Of course. What would the story be without the douchebag love interest POV as he softens and sees her as something more than a thing to use? Sigh."

06/12page 39
9.0%"Of course she totally empathizes with the slaves' pain. She feels SO BAD. And she totally ditched them to he the king's pawn, live in luxury and go back to killing. But she feels you, dog."

She gets you, man.  *giggle*  She's going to go weasel her way into someone's bed now.  At this point it's not very clear whose she'd like to end up in.  Chaol is obviously helping her out and we all know how indebted characters are to those that help them.  But then you have your I'M NOT SUPPOSED TO LIKE HIM BUT HE'S SO EVILLY HOT character that'll probably be the wrong choice for her and she'll realize it somewhere down the line when she realizes he can't really read after all.

06/12page 39
9.0%"1) Oh look, a blooming love triangle. 2) The palace is really made of glass? Is there no hail in this world? Or are we talking safety glass? I can only imagine the amount of birds flying into it."
06/12page 42
10.0%"This makes zero sense. They're anal about her escaping and going on a murdering spree so instead of putting her in a bare room they give her loads of opportunities in not one furnished room but five. Holy contrivance, Batman! Of course we can't have the pretty girl in a dirty cell anymore."
06/12page 42
10.0%"Of course she has a mirror. Because it can't be broken and the shards used for a stabbing spree. Urg."
06/12page 50
12.0%"Of course. What better way to ensure the young assassin doesn't get the mind to plot her escape than to give her a tour of the castle? NOTHING CAN COME OF THAT. How the Captain and the rest of his entourage haven't tripped and impaled themselves on their own swords is beyond me. Although I will say TSTL secondaries is refreshing. Usually that's reserved for the protagonist."

Damn right it's madness.  A gas station is less self-serving than this.  I'm not a fan of worlds bending to characters.  If you have a character they need to exist within the confines of that world, be it fantasy or otherwise.  When your plot starts serving your character I start getting cranky.  If she's some crazy bitch assassin THEN TREAT HER LIKE A CRAZY BITCH ASSASSIN.  At the tournament she gets a plain room/cell with ZERO opportunity to get all assassin-like.  But when you get self-serving like this, the entire thing, from the world to the characters, gets inconsistent and you end up reading a story of hypocrites that say one thing and do another.

06/12page 56
13.0%"Oh no. Mean girl competition. Couldn't see that coming."
06/12page 64
15.0%"Okay, so NOW she grows a conscience about being a hired murderer? She who's so proud if her Assassin title doesn't want to kill at the beck and call of the king? Is the the wielder or words or is this a step away from people realizing Celaena is not saintlier a murderer than she'd try to convince herself?"
06/12page 69
17.0%"Of course there are no knives. And everyone knows no one can do damage with a fork. That's just silly talk."
06/12page 76
18.0%"Stop making excuses, little girl. You're not as magnificent and you thought yourself to be."
06/12page 76
18.0%""She knew better than anyone not to underestimate opponents based on their appearance." WTF? She just did that to all of her competitors."

Case in point.  Literally, from one page to the next Celaena is passing judgment on everyone in the room with her, belittling men three times her size to nothing and then she says she knows better than to underestimate her opponents based on looks.  How am I to trust a damn thing in this story if it's that inconsistent?  From her looks to her actions her opinions are as substantial as a tissue in the rain.

06/12page 79
19.0%"I find it hard to believe that Celaena lives as ling as she did being as arrogant as she is."
06/12page 82
20.0%"At Celaena's fine humbling moment I'm tapping out. I'm far too disappointed in the character to keep reading."

Arrogance is a crap chute.  And it usually gets people their comeuppance.    Apparently hers was just being thrown in jail and living far longer than anyone else.  Oh right.  Forgot that part.  She lived for a year in the mines, with an escape attempt, when people normally average about a month or three.  OF COURSE!

Obviously I DNF'd this one.  I just couldn't do it.  But the thing is I do wonder if I'm some kind of defective.

Is my current reading funk grossly coloring my ability to read anything?  Have I really turned into Stan Marsh and am now seeing everything as crap?  I mean Publisher's Weekly gave THRONE OF GLASS a starred review.  And even people whose opinions I trust love this title.  Is something wrong with me?  I'm definitely having a frownie face moment.  But the thing is I'm definitely seeing Suethor fic here, coloring or not.  Would I have been able to overlook it a little more had I not been in such a funk?  Maybe.  But inconsistencies are inconsistencies.  I can't NOT overlook them because everyone else loves it and so should I.  I could be wrong but, that's not my thing.  Going with the flow, not not being wrong.

I don't go into books hating them.  I was SO EXCITED to read THRONE OF GLASS I can't even tell you.  I was talking it up at BEA.  SO EXCITED.  And this is what I get.  GAME OF THRONES for the teenage girl?

Ooooo I don't think so.  I think that's aiming a bit too high.  SEVEN REALMS?  Yes, teen GAME OF THRONES equivalent.  THRONE OF GLASS?  Guys, don't feed me chuck and expect me to rave as if it were filet.  Not going to happen.  I'm not going to love something because it already had a super awesome fan base built in before it was published.  I love me my strong heroines but not at the sacrifice of logic.  Celaena is so overblown even for her world I can't take her seriously.  And the fact that her world caves to her makes me pull away from the writing as a whole.

I tried.  I really did.  But all I wanted to do was smash the thing.  I had to stop before I actually did.

Ban Factor: High - Fantasy world with no Christian influence.  'Nuff said.  The teenage assassin thing probably doesn't hurt either.
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