Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, young adult
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. 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?
Celaena Sardothien is insufferable.
There, I said it. I absolutely cannot stand the main character. As the author (and Celaena herself) tells us repeatedly, she is intelligent, gorgeous, witty, observant, and the best assassin in the realm. I'm sure I missed a few superlatives there, but Celaena is pretty clear about all her wonderful traits. The problem with all of that is that for all that hype, she doesn't actually do much. She doesn't prove particularly intelligent, and doesn't do much assassinating. She is kind, I'll give her that, but her few moments of kindness didn't really make up for all her vanity and silliness throughout the book (she mentions how beautiful she is/used to be and how gorgeous a few other people in the room are at least 6 times in the first two chapters. This is when she's been dragged out of a torturous prison. You'd think she'd have bigger things to worry about...).
Usually when I find the main character annoying, I don't even finish the book. There is something to be said for the world and the minor characters, because they were enough motivation for me to keep reading. I loved Nehemia. She was everything Celaena claimed to be, but you find out about it through her actions, not her words. Nehemia is strong and compassionate, incredibly brave and selfless, and a witty conversationalist to boot. She's incredible! I wanted to punch Dorian for his possessiveness (he actually thinks of Celaena as a possession at some points...shudders) but Chaol's quiet resolve and sense of duty were endearing.
In the novellas, I didn't really get a sense of anything very magical in this world, except for a few enchanted objects. This book gets right into the thick of things with spirits and demons and parallel ghost worlds. It's very cool, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of that.
I hear Crown of Midnight is much better than this one, so I'll give it a shot. I'm really hoping Celaena does some growing up between now and the next book.
EDIT 1/5/2014: Having read book 2, I TAKE MY COMPLAINTS BACK. Crown of Midnight addressed all the things I didn't like in book 1, and was generally fantastic.