Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Date: August 7, 2012
Genre: YA- Fantasy
So I read the much anticipated Throne of Glass- which I read somewhere as being stupidly hailed as a teenage, chick-lit version of Game of Thrones. Now I can’t really attest to that, having only watched two episodes of Game of Thrones before deciding that there wasn’t anyone good looking enough on it to want to see them naked and hell, I live in the south so I see enough incest in real life as it is. So if it does live up to its description then oh gee boy. We may just have the new “If you like so and so then you’ll like this” book and there will be a whole new crop of knock off books that are all JUST ALIKE.
Celaena Sardothien has just been made an offer she can’t refuse. Serving out a life or “until” sentence in the King’s iron mines, is a lowly state for a mighty assassin such as herself to have fallen. The alternative, however, could just prove to be worse. The King is gathering warriors. He claims that he is in need of a champion to protect him from the wrath his bloody and vicious rule has earned him. Celaena isn’t a fool and she hasn’t survived a year in the mines (when most usually only last days) to fall for the idea that the king needs a hero. He needs a lackey, preferably a deadly one, to carry out deeds that even the cruelest of kings won’t admit to. Celaena is given the choice of killing for the man who ruined her life or spending what’s left of it toiling away in his mines. But the decision to serve him isn’t the hardest task that faces the young assassin. Before she can sell her soul in servitude to a man she truly loathes, she’ll have to fight for the privilege and she’ll have to fight to the death.
Several things irked me to no end about this story. First and foremost, the names. Since this is a fantasy novel, and most of its readers will most likely be fantasy buffs, they’ll understand when I refer them to the Random Fantasy Character Name Generator. There are several online. True story. You go and click a button and it gives you a random name to use in character creation. Since it’s randomized, it’s not uncommon to get a series of letters that make absolutely no sense or worse, when spoken aloud, make no recognizable sound. The names in this book were absolutely atrocious but did in fact make for a good time playing “guess what animal makes THIS sound!” with all their ridiculousness. All my feeble attempts at pronunciation did serve one very good purpose- they didn’t allow me any time to dwell on the fact that the storytelling is nails-down-chalk-board terrible, and I was able to focus on the parts of it I enjoyed enough to keep reading- the supernatural mystery taking place and the slow to bloom lurve.
The story was of course, entirely unbelievable, which is quite alright since this was a fantasy. I think a great chunk of my inability stemmed from the nearly nonexistent world building. Truly, the story could have taken place in a bottle and it would have made little difference since there really wasn’t a very defined setting to start with. The plot line and the characters reaction to it was just rather naive, bordering on hokey with decisions and actions that seemed nonsensical in regards to the circumstances. After the first fifty or so “Well why wouldn’t she just, or that makes absolutely no sense” I gave up trying to see reason and just shut my trap and enjoyed the story. She is an uber assassin, right, and she hates your king and people? Well hell yeah, let her run around freely, befriend royalty and feed her lots of candy!
And it WAS enjoyable. Even with the unpronounceable names, the killer prom queen (and she sure did think highly of herself) Bratz doll main character (dubbed Assassin Barbie by my book club- not only is she physically perfect but she comes with all kinds of pretty dresses and accessories!) and the inevitable love triangle. It was fast paced and entertaining and there were several really likeable characters- I’d tell you about them but I just can’t remember their names (OErUOERjo Aofuaowefu O#WU$#AU$EU# and Mike, I think). I eventually began to cheer for Celaena, (who started the story with her head so firmly up her own ass that she could have served as a human wheel) and she thankfully (AND THANK GOD) went through a great deal of believable, documented and recognized growth that finally had her in my favor.
So final verdict: I liked it despite its faults, but you have to read it with a grain of salt as it is REALLY poor quality- which doesn’t seem to stop me from liking a lot of today’s YA. I just tend to like the seedy side of YA…I mean hell, I LOVE the HoN series. It was a fun quick read with a supporting cast I quickly grew to adore. Team Chaol btw.