Previously on Throne of Glass, we finally arrive at the glass castle, where Infuriatingly Misogynistic Celaena is gloriously taken down a few pegs by her new servant Philippa, and the King of Adarlan smacks the handsome off Ladies’ Man Prince Dorian’s face.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold, it’s paraphrased snark.
We miss Chaol and Celaena’s tour of the lower (stone) portion of the castle, hallelujah, and enter the scene when Chaol’s asking why she refuses to enter the upper (glass) portion. Her answer: because it’s high up and the glass could break and it’s scary.
Personally, I think her decision is perfectly reasonable; we still don’t know if the castle was built/is being maintained by magic, so yeah, it could indeed be a sparkly death trap mere moments from collapse.
But the book seems to want me to think that Celaena’s 100% well-founded fear is a weakness or flaw—and while I’d normally welcome any sign that Celaena isn’t perfect, I’m dubious about this one.
If this fear is supposed to be a flaw, though, the question becomes: will it actually affect the story? (God, I hope so. Please let this book do at least this one thing right.)
Upon hearing Celaena’s refusal to enter the glass portion of the castle, Chaol says, “[t]here’s no difference between the interiors—you wouldn’t even know that you were inside [the glass portion] unless someone told you or you looked out the window.”
To which I say, wait what? Is all the glass painted to look like stone? What’s even the point of a glass castle, then?
But seriously, Celaena, you can’t avoid the glass portion forever. Take the damn tour while it’s (so inexplicably) being offered to you.
As an aside to Chaol: What are you doing giving this Adarlan-royal-family-hating assassin a guided tour through the entire castle? You are the worst Captain of the Royal Guard EVER.
Instead of doing the intelligent-assassin thing and taking the tour, Celeana info-dumps that Prince Dorian’s little bother Hollin is a spoiled brute with a nasty temper, and then—oh, great, they’re actually still touring the grounds, and we get to tag along after all.
There’s a garden with a creepy clock tower decorated with creepy gargoyles creepily pointing to nearly-invisible carvings on the tile floor. Celaena is apparently the first person to notice the carvings (even though the clock tower was built only twenty-ish years ago, so I’m assuming the carvings aren’t that old), and will undoubtedly be the first (aside from whoever designed the clock tower?) to discern their meaning. Can’t wait.
From there they go to the library, which is huge and gorgeous and makes Celaena orgasm on sight, because all YA heroines are booknerds just like us.
(You can’t trick me into bonding with Celaena, book. There are plenty of awful people who love to read, and our shared booknerdery doesn’t make them any less awful. If you want me to like Celaena, try—and I know this sounds absurd, but stay with me—giving her some genuinely admirable and relatable traits.)
(Also: writers, as difficult as it might be for you, please consider making your YA heroine something other than a booknerd? Why not an athlete, a movie buff, a mechanic building her own muscle car on the weekends?)
Anyway, Celaena later asks Prince Dorian (via letter) for permission to use the library, concluding with a stab, “Since I am deprived of company and entertainment, this act of kindness is the least someone of your importance could deign to bestow upon a lowly, miserable wretch such as I.”
Dorian grants permission (via letter), on the condition that she start with the books he’d just finished, because book clubs aren’t a thing in his country, to his immense and royal dissatisfaction. “I promise [the books] are not dull, for I am not one inclined to sit through pages of nonsense and bloated speech, though perhaps you enjoy works and authors who think very highly of themselves.”
I—I’m surprised to be writing this, but: I’d happily read a whole book about the characters exchanging those letters, if that book wasn’t this one.
The next day—the first day of the competition—Celaena overhears as noblewoman in the garden below her balcony bellowing that Celaena is merely Dorian’s latest harlot, so Celaena chunks a flowerpot at her.
Having at last been able to enact some violence (after sixty pages—and here I thought this was a book about a hardcore assassin), Celaena cheerfully calls for her servants to dress her in “the finest gown they could find,” because a dozen pounds of velvet and silk and corsetry is totally the most appropriate thing to wear when you’re about to engage in unspecified assassin-tests against a slew of hardened criminals and warriors, yep. You’ll look absolutely precious, I’m sure.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 2
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
The book tries to trick me into liking Celaena: 2
I found myself liking Celaena: -10
This girl’s an idiot.