I hesitated a lot posting this review. SJM seems to be well-loved within my circle of writers and readers and I’ve heard endlessly about how great ToG is, so when I picked up a copy at last, I honestly couldn’t help but be taken aback.
First thought: am I reading the same Throne of Glass as my friends and acquaintances??
Contains spoilers, duh.
What if Cinderella was an assassin instead of a servant? What if she went to the ball to do something horrible, like kill the Prince instead of marry him?
That was my first exposure to Throne of Glass. This pitch. And my first thought was, “Well, it’s not Cinderella then, is it? What a stupid comparison.”
What if it’s WWII but there isn’t a war and nobody dies? What if it’s Beauty and the Beast but there is no Stockholm Syndrome and the Beast is already a handsome guy? What if Harry Potter wasn’t a wizard and he didn’t go to Hogwarts and Voldemort didn’t want to kill him?
Within 9 pages, I learn Celaena, the FMC with your stereotypical unpronounceable exotic-for-exoticism’s-sake name, is beautiful, that others think she’s beautiful, that the unmemorable, second named character (king’s guard captain) is “not excessively handsome”, that the also-unmemorable, third named character (the prince) is achingly handsome, and the FMC has a beautiful head of blonde hair…
Oh, and did she mention she was beautiful?
Not to mention exceedingly arrogant and cocky of her own prowess, and intensely keen on others being aware of it. I would almost suspect she has histrionic personality disorder. When she is informed nobody knows of her true identity that led to her imprisonment in the mines, she is simultaneously praising herself for keeping the secret well and infuriated nobody gives her credit. Because priorities.
Also, how is an assassin well-known and effective as an assassin? Isn’t the literal point of being a great assassin that nobody can catch or recognise you so you can kill undercover? Being the dimmest lightbulb from a factory batch isn’t something worth gloating.
At the start of Chapter 3, we are shown the prince leering at her like a perv. Celaena enjoys it and lets us know that.
I’m sorry. I cannot. A superficial female who relishes at being objectified whilst bragging how badass she is just makes her even more unbearable. We’re three chapters in and I hear endlessly how badass she is, whilst seeing none of it. I sense the writer might have missed the ‘show-don’t-tell’ writing lesson.
In Chapter 4, FMC looks in the mirror and describes how her breasts used to be well-formed.
And then she breasted boobily back to her bed.
In Chapter 6, we get an unnecessary, brief jump into the POV of male romantic interest 1 (who was “achingly handsome” — his name already forgotten) just for the sake of describing MC as beautiful — in case we aren’t yet aware of that from the previous five chapters — and being besotted with her despite declaring she was his blade only. Does not progress plot.
That’s it. DNF. Mary Sue can GTFO.
It’s ironic that a book so desperate to portray a ‘strong female character’ attempts to do so by making the FMC hard, callous, uncaring, one-dimensional, narcissistic, and horrible to all the (deliberately weakened) male supporting cast. That doesn’t make a strong female character. That makes her a dick and a misandrist. The blatant objectifying of the FMC by describing her breasts and valuing her by her superficial beauty is downright misogynistic. I’m told repeatedly how badass she is but all I’ve seen is a whiny Regina George with none of the funny clap-backs. I’m a feminist and reading this book makes me ashamed.
I’m told ACOTAR is a better book with an actual storyline and believable characters, but given the length of my TBR, I’m going to shove SJM right to the back of my shelf. I doubt I’ll regret it.
Verdict: 0 stars. One of the most overhyped and disappointing reads thus far. Do not recommend.