Throne of Glass #3: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Read: 18 August, 2018

I found this to be the weakest of the series so far. The pace, which has been a fair trot throughout, slows right down. Not only is this book the longest of the first three, it also has far less plot.

In summary, Celaena has been sent to a continent that still has magic so that she can learn to control her powers. She discovers a handful of things along the way, she makes a few new friends, but the whole book is essentially a really loooong training montage.

To pad this out, we get a bit back in Rifthold as Dorian gets a romance sub-plot and Chaol discovers the rebels. This still isn’t enough to fill the run time, however, so we also get Manon – a witch who has been recruited by the king. Unfortunately, her plot is also a training montage, so much of the book goes back and forth between her and Celaena, as they each get incrementally more powerful.

While I’m sure Manon’s plot will be important, delivering it in this way just bogged the story down. Celaena needed her training, but the book could have focused on Dorian and Chaol’s plots, or even Celaena’s mystery with the weird corpses they keep finding. That, and maybe cut about a hundred pages, too.

Also symptomatic of the editing issues with this book, every character seems to “purr” all their lines.

The pacing made this a tougher book to finish than the preceding two. That said, I do like increasing plotlines and character depth as we spend more time with the cast. And while I didn’t particularly feel that Manon’s plot fit into this book, I do like where her story is going. I also really like the way friendships are treated in this series – Celaena’s devotion to Nehemia is beautiful, and Chaol telling Dorian that he loves him was absolutely perfect. Friendships often get pushed to the sidelines in fiction, and it’s great to see them treated as relationships that are every bit as deep and important as romances.

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Throne of Glass #2: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Read: 6 July, 2018

Friend and I are still deep in discussions about the pronunciation of Chaol. Since the guide Maas provides gives it as “Kay-all”, I started calling him “Kale”, which then led to calling him “Salad”.

I noticed a definite improvement in the storytelling from the first book. The anachronistic elements (whatever that means in a fantasy setting) that bothered me in Throne of Glass – like the pool table – are entirely absent here. Characters are also starting to get a bit more depth, and I appreciated how raw Celaena’s emotions were.

I like how much more of the worldbuilding is evident in this book. I’m still rather uncertain about how each part connects (I’d like more details on the Crochan family, for example), but the stitches are starting to form and I’m now fairly well invested in finding out.

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Throne of Glass #1: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Read: 19 June, 2018

A friend is a huge fan of this series and has been singing its praises for long enough that my curiosity was piqued.

When I began reading, I complained about the main character. She struck me as a fairly weak character – petty, arbitrary, made choices that didn’t make a whole lot of sense in context. My friend agreed that she’s a tough character to like, “but she grows on you.” More than that, however, she explained that Celaena’s big flaw is her ego – she can’t make the “right” choice in a given situation because she has to be seen to be the best. Once it was phrased that way, Celaena started to make sense; she wasn’t being arbitrary, she was being flawed. And, honestly, I liked her a lot better once I had a better grasp of who she was.

My friend and I both agreed that Chaol is an unfortunate name. The pronunciation guide says it should be said “Kay-all”. Which is better than the “Chay-ole” I had going, but is still rather unattractive. Here’s Celaena swooning off this gorgeous guy and his name is Kale? Hm. My friend proposed pronouncing it as “Cole”, which suited much better.

The book is fluff – the characters do spend rather more time on romance and gowns than a life-or-death struggle strictly warrants, and the worldbuilding could do with some more work. There’s also not a whole lot going on thematically. And while this may not be strictly fair, I really struggled with a fantasy setting that has a billiards table.

That said, it’s compelling fluff. The book is a page-turner and, however frustrating they could be, I really did care about the main characters by the big climax.

I might not have given this a chance without my friend’s passion to prod me, but I enjoyed it, and I definitely will be seeking out the sequels.

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