Housekeeping Note: I am getting rid of the forums. They aren’t being used, and I think they only serve to generate confusion as to where people should post. To solve that problem, I am going the easy route: everyone will simply post on the blog post itself. No need to create a profile, everyone can access it, and everyone’s comments will all be together. Bing bang boom. Sorry for making you create profiles for nothing. 🙁 First failed experiment, haha. Onward and upward, and onto the book discussion!
To be honest, guys, I didn’t love this book either. D: I liked the plot well enough, and I thought Celaena’s character had real potential (a young woman who is not only a bloodthirsty killer but loves books and clothes? count me in!), but the writing really dragged the whole thing down for me. It felt so forced, so … juvenile, almost. I don’t know how many more times I could have heard about her smile/grin (vicious or otherwise) before I would have just thrown the book against the wall in utter exasperation. And can I just say: I am sick to death of love triangles. They are boring.
I’m really hoping for a book I can enjoy for next month!
Anyway! I’m excited to hear what you guys thought. Did you love it? Hate it? Want to marry it? Tear it to pieces? Did it make you laugh? Cry? Swoon? Make you want to become an assassin? Here are some of my thoughts to kick it off:
- I love how female-centric this story is, with Celaena, Nehemia, and Kaltain at its center. All three are complex characters with complicated agendas and desires, and that, in my opinion, is enough to make this book worthwhile, even if there wasn’t a whole lot else about it that I liked.
- The whole thing with Celaena keeping her identity secret seems ludicrous to me. Did people really not know who she was? They weren’t even careful about not mentioning her real name! She sent a note to the Crown Prince and signed it Celaena Sardothien, for God’s sake. One of the guards addresses her as Miss Sardothien on her way to the masked ball. I understand that there is some tactical advantage to concealing her identity; as Chaol tells her, since the other Champions don’t know who she really is, they don’t pay any attention to her and don’t consider her a threat. Advantage. What baffles me is that Celaena can’t seem to see this. She complains about it all the time. She doesn’t strike me as a stupid girl and this isn’t exactly military genius levels of subterfuge here, so what’s the problem? Not only does she complain about it, though, she actively blows her advantage by doing things like flinging herself off of buildings to save other Champions. I don’t blame her for her altruistic impulse, but then why bother continuing to conceal her identity? The tactical advantage was kind of lost after that point. And I felt this way about many things that happened in the book: they seemed to merely serve a quick plot purpose and then cease to have any meaning at all.
- I felt like there were no stakes! The competition was basically background noise that we revisited every few chapters for a page or two. Oh, I’m sorry, I thought Celaena was in a battle for her life and liberty here, or was I mistaken?! I barely cared about Celaena’s fate as it was (because we learn NOTHING about her as a person, her entire past is some shadowy secret that we only ever encounter obliquely), but with the competition seeming like such an after thought, and the murders of champions that we didn’t even know or care about anyway, and the fact that I just did not, for even one second, believe that Celaena was capable of being a deadly assassin…well. No stakes.
- We are taken into a dream where this big huge thing happens (Queen Elena visits her) and yet, the full impact of that scene is lost because we have no idea who Queen Elena is until after the fact. If she had been mentioned before, even in passing, perhaps there would have been more punch to this scene, but as is, it fell completely flat because it was yet another thing that was just thrown into the story without any build up.
- Anyone else think that Kaltain was the monster going around murdering Champions willy nilly? I think that would have been more interesting than the truth, which was, if you think about it, the obvious choice.
- I want to know more about what happened to magic! It seems to be this really big, important thing that happened in their world, and yet we barely skim the surface of it. Why is the King of Adarlan so against magic? Why has he chosen to outlaw it? And why did him outlawing it make it magically (haha) disappear? Also, sidebar, the whole Yulemas religious ceremony sounded like a whole lot of references to magic to me, yeah? I want to know more!
- Overall, I think this book had so much potential that was squandered on pointless exchanges between Celaena and two love interests that, frankly, she has zero chemistry with, and skimming over plot points that could have been huge deals! I felt like so many things were introduced and then never fully explored. The whole experience left me feeling like I’d just eaten a cookie that was only half-baked. And not in a good way.
I really hope that I like next month’s book more than I liked these first two. And I really hope that you guys enjoyed this one more than I did! I can’t wait to read your thoughts. Maybe you’ll have me revisiting my opinions. 😀
(PS. Make sure you vote on next month’s book selection here!)