Tag Archive | The Selection

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

IMG_4006Let’s talk Throne of Glass.

I think this was the fastest I’ve ever read (listened to) an audiobook. I picked it up (not literally) because everyone online raves about it, has been raving about it. They go on and on about the love triangle and“awesome” fantasy elements. They fangirl over their “favorite bad*ss female heroine,” Celaena Sardothien. I’ve been curious about it all for a while.

I finally started it…and read it…and was swept into the messy sea of drama and magic…and yelled and groaned at it…and finished it. It was nothing like what I thought it would be, but I really liked it. It was entertaining, exciting. I couldn’t stop listening—I had to know what became of Celaena, where Chaol was, what the wyrdmarks meant.

Throne of Glass was fast-paced and amusing, but oftentimes unbearably confusing and, well, predictable and irritating. I’m still confused about the wrydmarks, to be honest. It took Celaena entirely too long to figure out what they sort-of meant. And why was she so unconcerned? Sure, she did research, but if evil forces are after someone so used to fighting, why didn’t she get more involved?

For a kick*ss assassin, Celaena also spent an awful lot of time threatening people but not doing anything early on. That is, anything other than going back and forth between Dorian and Chaol and puppies and music  and not liking to kill people and dresses and jewels and wanting blood. She was well-rounded; she had a “soft, kind-hearted girlish side” to balance out literally being an assassin. This made her more relatable, more human, but for a while it was like Maas was trying to make her everything, every heroine she could, wrapped into one.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t like Celaena, though. In fact, she was great—sometimes annoying, but always brave and sassy and strong. She stood out in this way from the very first page. I immediately liked her, cheered her on, felt pain for her, wanted her to win. She definitely grew on me throughout the book. She was my second favorite character. Chaol was my first, but more on that in a bit.

Another issue I had with Throne of Glass was the world. I have absolutely concept of it. I don’t even know what it’s called. Eralia? I know that magic was outlawed, and could imagine the grounds really well due to the beautiful imagery. But the names were so similar, and the politics were so shaky. It didn’t seem very well-developed. Why there are death camps? Why was Celaena captured? Why were there rebellions? The king—what? Who? He has a PLAN? What’s his plan? I have no idea. The king and so many of the characters seemed just as flimsy as the political atmosphere, just as one-dimensional.

And the fae, the MAGIC. I’ve never really read anything about fae before, and this book didn’t help me out at all. It didn’t help that I wasn’t even expecting magic. I was getting a really strong Hunger Games vibe, so I was pretty surprised (startled) halfway through the story when fairies and magic rune things began appearing, casually. And the demons and characters that like…don’t go away, just come and go?

Speaking of characters, where was Chaol for half of the book? His POV was SO underrepresented. Who cares about Dorian that much, anyway?

Oh, and what was the court doing? I loved the ball, I wanted more to happen at the ball! Where was the Queen? And Kaltain? Her POV in particular was shown so infrequently that it seemed as though her plotting never led to anything. At some points I forgot that she was a problem.

There were several problems, conflicts faced by the characters, though, that I was completely blindsided by. (Not by Cain, he was obvious. I rolled my eyes at him. OH, and the hidden passageway. That was so obvious too.) But the PLOT TWISTS! Those were excellently executed. They took me by surprise, twisted the story at just the right moment. 

I really did like Throne of Glass, don’t let my confusion and numerous complaints throw you. I enjoyed the action, the plot twists, the sass. I loved the tests, especially the wall-climbing and poison testing scenes. The main characters were so interesting, and had great chemistry. And the BANTER! So cute.

I would definitely recommend this book if you like YA magic and fantasy and love triangles. I would not recommend it if you are used to Game of Thrones politics and intrigue. I would also not recommend reading it as an audiobook. (At all. Usually I’m fine with them, but all of the quick magic scenes and world-building was completely lost on me. I might reread it at some point, but goodness.)

Despite this…print copy of Crown of Midnight, here I come.

Similar to: The Hunger Games (the characters, action, and competition), The Selection (the setting and castle vibe, the competition), Graceling (the magic)

Rating: 3.5…ok 4/5 stars

Summer Reading Soapbox

Back to school season (perhaps one of any manufacturer’s favorite seasons, aside from Christmas) has arrived. No matter what day school starts for you, there are innumerable ways in which you’ve had to prepare (whether you actually have or not, let’s be honest). These tasks may include shopping for supplies, signing a tree’s worth of forms, digging a locker shelf out of your closet, and/or, inevitably, summer reading.

Too often, when the words “summer reading” and “school” are paired, they are followed by a sense of dread. We groan, “Do I really have to read this?” Some people procrastinate, others complain in between chapters, still more simply refuse to do the assignment. Is this because the books are assigned, not read for pleasure? Is it because of the essays and projects that we know will follow? Or does the aversion come from the fact that the book itself is really and truly awful?

Whatever the reason, as a student, it is helpful to realize that, despite our teachers’ insistence that “we will refer to these books all year,” the accompanying assignments really only last for the first week. (At least, this how it goes at my school.) Some schools don’t even address the books in their literature classes at all; the work that goes with them was a “summer project,” due the first day of the course. (This was the case when I had to read Call of the Wild in sixth grade – “Create an art project depicting a scene from the book!” Cue the nostalgia.)

This is probably encouraging, then, if you are someone who chronically avoids assigned reading. “Oh, we won’t be focussing on this for very long? Awesome! Why waste time reading it, then, right?”

However, personally, the thought of not doing the annual infamous summer reading assignment gives me anxiety. This isn’t to say that I’m a hardcore “summer reading” fan – there have been books that I have hated and wanted to throw across the room. But I understand the merits of it, and I think that if your teachers give you books to read over the break, it’s the least you can do to read them.

There are so many reasons to suck it up and read. First, even if a book is boring, and not something that you would normally select at Barnes and Noble, you have all summer to suffer through it. It’s especially helpful to do it at the beginning of the summer, and make notes on the things you are afraid of forgetting. You don’t have to cram it down your throat; if you don’t procrastinate, you have all the time in the world.

Secondly, by not reading the assigned reading, you automatically condemn yourself to a week’s worth of bad grades. You immediately have bad grades to raise, and a teacher’s opinion to change. Unless you like the whole “dark horse, low expectations, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants thing.” In that case, you do you. (You’ve also probably been rolling your eyes throughout this entire post.)

Lastly, by not doing your summer reading assignments, you cheat yourself of an opportunity to learn and grow. (Don’t gag, this isn’t even the cheesiest thing I’ve ever written.) You may discover that a book you immediately turned your nose up at really isn’t so bad after all. You may realize that you like a certain genre more or less than your usual selection (book title pun, anyone?). You may learn something new – whether you end up enjoying the book or not. You can certainly learn things about yourself in the process.