Throne of Glass sounded promising and it’s been on my list for a while. I finally picked it up; it starts off well, but then it seems to forget about the actual plot and focuses on the romantic possibilities of the incredibly obvious possible triangle between Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian, and the courtly scheming, mostly by two totally underdeveloped characters who might actually rather deserve each other. There is some supernatural evil looming in the background the whole time, but that too is pretty predictable and the hints at what’s going to happen next are also pretty obvious.
The whole tournament plot is on the one hand pretty cliché, but it’s also more interesting than the seemingly tough assassin girl, seemingly powerless prince charming, and the seemingly hyper dutiful captain of the guard trying to figure out who it’s ok to like, who might like whom, or like whom better than whomever else. The mysterious foreign princess is both not very developed and also mildly irritating in that she and Celaena are obviously keeping secrets from each other, but then feeling hurt when they find out that secrets were kept from them. They’re both scheming to survive, but it gets old.
Throne of Glass isn’t a bad read exactly, but it could have been a lot better. I do kind of want to find the one where Celaena’s former master, the Assassin King, shows up but otherwise I don’t particularly care. The tournament plot gets sidestepped and the parts we do get to see are kind of dull, mostly physical challenges like archery, wall climbing, or duels. The hidden magic could be more interesting except that there’s little explanation of what the magic is; the explanation is that magic was banned from the kingdom, but obviously some folks till know or practice something.
The biggest thing that bugged me are all the obvious forshadowy baiting with hints about how Celaena’s parent’s died, a reference or two to powers possibly lost, the evil shadows lurking, the cryptic warning, a brief reference or two to assassinations she did before getting caught and sent to a work/death camp prison, etc. Once I finished, I admit I went and looked up the rest of the series on Wikipedia. Turns out I’m not sorry; most things do apparently happen as you’d guess, and the probable twists are obviously in service of YA angsty pathos and predictably resolve as the standard expectation probably goes.