‘Throne of Glass’ gave me such high expectations for this novel, that I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. Celaena as a character completely made the first novel in this series for me, so I couldn’t help but feel disappointed with the direction that Maas took for her in this novel.
The fact that Celaena didn’t assassinate a single one of the people she had been assigned to murder didn’t sit right with me – the last novel had set her up as this deadly killer who was unmatched by anyone. So the fact that she wouldn’t follow orders didn’t feel right with her character. I had gotten the impression that she was meant to be ruthless – yet she suddenly couldn’t bring herself to do as she was asked? That felt like a step backwards from the previous novel. Maas had tried to set her up as this deadly killer – I doubt she would have suddenly been given a complete character change. This just felt like Maas had changed her mind about making her protagonist an assassin, and wanted to give her a way out of this darker side to her character. The only time in the entire novel we see Celaena actually stick with her former assigned personality as a lethal killer was when she broke into the rebel warehouse to rescue Chaol!
The rest of the novel seemed to be just bumbling along as a set up for further novels – as if Maas went “Ooo people like my idea, how can I drag this out for as long as possible?” There were parts that I enjoyed, but not as much as in the previous novel. For one thing, Maas started to lean away from having Celaena as the sole protagonist. Instead we started to see chapters from Chaol and Dorian’s point of view, which was interesting but was a blatant set up for further story lines. As a result, it felt like Maas didn’t do this novel justice. The feeling that it was all one massive set up for more novels was really grating – especially because these particular plot threads she introduced weren’t fully explained!! I really wanted to know what the King of Adarlan had been doing over the years that was so horrible, and how he had gone about it all. However we were given the bare minimum, and none of this was really explained.
The progress of Nehemia and Celaena’s friendship was heartbreaking, but again made me feel even sadder for Celaena’s character. Maas takes so many steps backwards in this novel when it comes to Celaena’s characterisation!! And after how much I loved her in the first novel, this was so frustrating. I get the reason for it, as its trying to set up Celaena breaking away from the King’s rule, as was the not following orders, but it felt so disappointing when we’d seen her as such a strong character in the first novel. It made Celaena seem like a wet lettuce.
I loved the plot twist with Archer, and Celaena getting more involved with the darker aspects of her character towards the end, but it still felt disappointing next to the rest of the novel. I loved the romance between Chaol and Celaena – I much preferred them as a pairing than Celaena and Dorian, but again I don’t think Maas did the storyline justice. All of a sudden the two characters realise their love for each other, then just as they get together they’re torn apart. So frustrating!! Then Maas goes to lengths to show how they’ll never end up together and blah blah blah – just as she does with Celaena and Dorian, with several Dorian point of view chapters watching Celaena and repeatedly mentioning him moving on.
I enjoyed the novel more towards the end, and want to find out what happens next – but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed with this sequel. I would give it a 3/5, and I hope the next one is better.