(Throne of Glass #2)
by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt. But her heart never wavers.
After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.
Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.
Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
(synopsis from Goodreads)
I read Throne of Glass at the beginning of this year. I wasn't all that impressed. I didn't particularly like the characters, I thought the writing left a lot to be desired, and I just didn't get sucked into the story the way I expected to. Pretty much everybody says that Crown of Midnight is better; in fact, it seems to be the favourite book of the series of many. So I thought I'd give this series one more try. I waited weeks to get my copy from the library (because the series is just so dang popular), and started to read immediately. I got to 18%... and I'm sorry I wasted my time.
I do not connect with the characters at all. I don't even like them. None are developed all that well, beyond continual descriptions of their looks (these books all have a strange superficiality to them that I find off-putting). Celaena is still one of the biggest Mary Sues, and she's just... boring. She's supposed to be this kick-ass assassin, but even almost 1/5 of the way into this book, she'd yet to actually assassinate anyone. Much of her time was spent shopping, flirting, and wandering the halls of the palace in the dark for no good reason (other than to position her to see certain things or gain bits of presumably relevant information).
I'm also allergic to Maas's writing. The same things that bothered me in the first book bothered me here. She just doesn't write in the third person point of view very well. Put more than one "he" or "she" in a scene, and you can't figure out who's talking. And then, in scenes where Celaena is the only girl, the author will use both "she" and "Celaena" in a paragraph (in that order), as if we'll somehow forget in the space of a couple of sentences that Celaena's the one who's speaking. Also, Maas doesn't seem to know when to break up the paragraphs, leading to odd ones where one person speaks, a second person performs an action, and then the first person speaks again, all without a break (which could be confusing at times, figuring out who was doing and saying what). It's just really weird, and I suspect that if the books had been written in the first person (with shifting points of view) they might have worked better. (I'm not a huge fan of third-person narration, but it can be done right. For example, I never got confused about who was speaking when Harry Potter and Ron Weasley were both in a scene together.)
After reading way too many pages of overly long descriptions of irrelevant things ("She glanced at the clock on the small table beside a wall.") and seeing few hints of anything remotely interesting happening, I decided to give up. I wasn't enjoying the book at all. I caught myself up with synopses and spoilers... and I'm not regretting my decision to quit this one. (Aelin Galathynius? Seriously? That sounds like an STD.)
I'm completely baffled by the love for this series and for this author's writing. Perhaps she manages to strike an emotional chord in her readers. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. I find her writing weak and juvenile, and the stories tedious.
So, in the final analysis, the reasons why I didn't finish Crown of Midnight are as follows:
- weak writing
- cardboard characters