Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Destined for greatness.
In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.
Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?
I wanted to like this book so badly. High fantasy is my absolute favorite genre. Throne of Glass sounds absolutely incredible - a cold assassin battling in a competition to serve the king she loathes. But this book let me down so bad, you guys. SO BAD.
I know people love Celaena. I thought I would. But past the first few chapters, there wasn't a single time that I was really given the impression that she's a highly-trained assassin. She falls asleep in chairs. People enter her room and she doesn't even wake up. I don't know about you, but that absolutely doesn't sound like an assassin to me. And we never got to see that side of her at all, because she spent the entire competition "pretending" to be weak while doling out threats she was never going to fulfill. We didn't even get to see it in the final battle - even there, a dead woman did the majority of the work and Chaol ended up giving the fatal blow.
"Each week, they dug new mass graves behind the refining sheds. And each week, those graves filled up."
As I've mentioned before, I just wanted Celaena to go ballistic and show that she really is the greatest assassin. Throne of Glass has such an incredibly strong and intriguing opening, which ultimately just contributed to my disappointment. Because the rest of the book was not like that. Celaena spends the majority of her time worrying about dresses and being insulted that she doesn't get to go to fancy events in the palace full of people responsible for her imprisonment. And yes, there is obviously nothing wrong with liking dresses or feeling left out. But this, combined with the fact that Celaena only appears to be an assassin in title, just made me feel as if she wasn't very authentic at all.
I found the scenes from Chaol and Dorian's POV's to be awful. They were almost always focused on Celaena and felt very cheesy and certainly pointless. If we'd gotten real glimpses into what they were doing and the other parts of the castle, I could have enjoyed them. But instead, they were tiny snippets of a conversation with someone else, maybe, and then - OH LOOK! TIME TO THINK ABOUT CELAENA AGAIN!
"Libraries were full of ideas - perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of weapons."
And, of course, the love triangle. I will never like love triangles. Ever. (I've actually read maybe one or two good ones that I didn't absolutely abhor, so this is mostly an exaggeration. But also not really.) Throne of Glass is not an exception. The triangle obviously isn't full-blown yet, but I can see it developing, and I DON'T WANT IT. I know everyone is all for Celaena and Chaol. I don't think I've seen a single person rooting for Celaena and Dorian. Which is unfortunate, of course, because I'm kind of latched on to them. Although, as I stated on Goodreads, I think I'm very biased because I'm a poor college student who is actually a gold digger and therefore instinctively root for the prince. Whoops.
It's also unfortunate that Dorian is your typical cliche prince - unhappy with his position and quite the lady's man. I can see potential for a lot of future development, which I like. His guilt over not saving Celaena made him feel a little more authentic for me than Celaena herself.
Celaena and Nehemia's relationship was definitely a high point. I loved seeing that bond form between them, and I think it was very realistic that of all people, those two would be the ones to form such a friendship. I hope they start their own little reign of terror. On the topic of females, however, I have to say that I was disappointed at a particular part where a girl seen dancing with Dorian is deemed "some blond idiot" by Celaena. It's the little things, guys. I grew up reading phrases like that. A lot of us did. And that stuff starts to sink in until we start thinking the same without even knowing.
"He had leapt from the cliff. He could only wait for the net."
I did love the world-building in Throne of Glass. There wasn't an overload of information and there's still plenty left to be explored in the following novels, but I didn't feel as if anything was glossed over. The mystery behind the murder of the champions was written very well, and Mass ends the book perfectly to set it up for the rest of the series.
Mass also writes in my favorite style - third person, full of vivid imagery and details without totally bogging me down. Honestly, the writing style and the concept of fighting to be a horrid man's champion are what really kept me reading.
"Dying - rather than playing in the King's game - was the only choice left to him."
Overall: I feel bad that I wasn't 100% in love with this. I was so tempted to just give it one star for being such an utter disappointment. I could barely handle Celaena most of the time and was not a fan of the developing love triangle and can't see how it could be written in any way I'd enjoy. Throne of Glass certainly hooked me right from the start but failed to deliver anything it promised to be. However, because I enjoyed the plot, the world-building, and the writing, I do give Throne of Glass three stars. I just really hope that the next book improves marginally, as I've heard it does.