I have a confession to make. This was my Grittleton House read, and I’ve had this review half written for months. And it’s been sat in my notebook gathering dust, because I wrote it by hand and typing it up is just so boring. But here I am.
It was interesting, I’ll give it that. The characters were vivid, the plot original and exciting. And—of course—it was fantasy to the core. But it lacked the subtleties which truly make high fantasy. Too much was revealed (however inadvertently) too soon, with names revealing turns in the plot, and clues being less clues and more blazing neon signs.
Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but in retrospect I am less than enamoured with it as a whole. Still in a state of outrage over the glaringly obvious implications of the name ‘Cain’ I can’t help but admire some of the references to a civilisation long since lost to memory. I only wish that there had been somewhat more information about the Fae and about that happened to them. That alone would have pushed Throne of Glass across the boundary into what I consider to be high fantasy.
There was one other thing that really bugged me.
I don’t know whether it was deliberate or not (although that’s one hell of a coincidence if not) but it’s there and it’s real. There was something seriously Tolkien-esque about some of the names in that book. There. I said it. It may just have been the vowel combinations (‘ae’ ‘ao’ ‘y’s in weird places) but wow I hated it. Especially mixed with a couple of vaguely Roman sounding names (‘Nox’, ‘Brullo’) and some which were just words. And they’re bleeding unpronounceable as well.
And then of course there was the map:
And with that font to boot!
But—petty grievances regarding Lord of the Rings aside—there was a complete lack of history. I know she was caught. How? Why? I know the King hates magic. Why? I know someone died. How? Why? When?
I left with more questions than answers, and half of those came from needless bits of information tossed at the reader with little to no reason behind them.
And to finish off:
- Celaena (which I’m pronouncing kel-ay-na because I have an Elvish pronunciation guide and I may as well use it) was a Mary Sue who tried so very hard not to be. She was written to be so original that she became cliché and I couldn’t deal with it.
- The Prince Charming in this fantasy world was called Dorian—nice I’ve got to admit, although it didn’t really match any other names
- The premise was awesome. The execution was not.
- I was not looking for a love triangle. There are certain things I expect in fantasy: that is not one of them.
- Why does she have to be pretty? Or, why does it have to be in the foreground of every scene?
- You say the other books are better? It’s such a shame I won’t keep reading a series when the first one was so awful.
- Dorian liked books, which may have been the best thing about his character. Because I don’t go for unsatisfied rich boys with daddy issues.