Review: Throne of Glass

Sometimes (exceptionally rarely, but sometimes) loving a book can be A Bad Thing. Or rather, not so much loving the book is bad, but the way it gets you fired up for every other word, shopping lists included, that that author has ever written can occasionally be less than great because let’s face it: going into something with unrealistically high expectations very rarely ends well. This is true for life, not just for books. We’ll call it Jo’s Life Lessons of 2016 and you’re welcome.

When I read A Court of Thorns and Roses last year I loved it. I gulped it down and I finished it in what could be record time and was sad that I couldn’t pick up the second book straight away and I resolved then and there to read all that Sarah J Maas ever wrote. & the Throne of Glass series is everywhere man. I mean seriously, I have read so few blogs that aren’t flailing over it and it’s all over twitter and instagram and well, just the internet in general and it sounded awesome. So I read book one. I wanted to love it; I expected it to laugh in the face of ACoTaR and just be a million times better you know?

& it wasn’t.

I mean, it wasn’t bad, and I liked it enough to buy a copy for my 15 year old cousin for Christmas but truth be told? I liked ACoTaR better. *hides from the internet*

So, let’s talk about it.

If you’ve been living under a freaking rock then you’re perhaps wondering what the book is even about. So, according to Goodreads who always summarise better than I do, because it’s their job and all:

After serving out a year of hard labour 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 four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. 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

I know. Sounds so damn good. It sounds like everything I want in a book most of the time. So why was I bored? I mean, I put this book down to paint my nails one time. I hardly ever paint my nails because I am bad at it. & I don’t understand why because I liked it.

I guess I just wanted it to be so much more than it was and that’s the problem. 

& I was frustrated. The book was more of a romance than I thought it was going to be, which is fine – I mean dead inside I am not; I love a good love story as much as the next girl, but here I wanted more of the other stuff.

Caleana is an excellent character and the whole assassins X-Factor thing could have been so good and just like in ACoTaR the world that Maas built was fascinating and the problem is, is that’s what I wanted to read about. Really, whether Celaena ended up with Westfall or Dorian was a secondary issue. Team Captain of the Guard or Team Crown Prince? I don’t care; I just want to see this badass girl being badass please.  There’s all this talk about her being the best assassin to ever assassinate but you never get to see that, there’s too much tell and not enough show and it makes it hard to get invested, in any of it.

Celeana’s excellent – she’s vain and arrogant and clever, and she has this temper, she likes to read and she’s self-assured and confident and watching her grow into herself again after being at rock bottom in an actual death camp is marvellous. There’s a lot of her finding herself, and of her delighting in the luxuries of nice food and pretty dresses but it would have been so awesome to have that juxtaposed against this tough ruthless murderer. To see it instead of just being told that’s how it is contrary to appearances you know? I wanted to see some murder. I wanted less Celeana/Dorian/Westfall and more of the stuff that would have made this book amazing, I mean I’m really glad Celeana had confidence in her own abilities but how was I supposed to believe she was the best ever when all of the good bits, all the tasks and the eliminations and the confrontations were all just glossed over. GIMME THE GRITTY STUFF. Don’t write me a book about a strong female character and then only really show me her dancing around the two male leads. Please. 

I mean, I liked it. I did, and I get why so many people love it, because if you’re looking for a nice easy read, a bit of a love story with a fantasy twist then probably this book ticks all the boxes. Read it without the expectations and you’ll likely be all ‘that Josephine is crazy because this book is amazing.’

& can Goodreads please start with the half star option. Please?