The read-along has returned! My week-long break was as amazing as anticipated, and I’m back full of energy and funny jokes and not a single drop of reluctance to tear myself away from the Captive Prince trilogy, nope, none at all. *Longing glance.* Let’s get back to the adventures of our fair assassin, shall we?
Previously on Throne of Glass,
the Plot Fairy a dead Fae queen arrives in a dream to tell Celaena the book’s plot and her role in it.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold, it’s paraphrased snark.
Infuriated Werewolf Chaol erupts into Celaena’s bedroom the next morning, back hair a-bristling.
He put a hand on his sword as he ripped back the blankets and dragged her out of bed by the elbow. “Where were you last night?”
The hell, dude. Do you not remember me chewing you out for waltzing into her room whenever you feel like it? Also: get your paws off the poor girl.
Celaena, somewhat less upset by his behavior than I am, reminds him he’d broken into her rooms last night and watched her drool a puddle across her pillows (and gave her the silver ring), so he clearly already knows where she was last night. His reply: “That was for a few minutes. What about the rest of the night?”
Turns out another Champion, Xavier, was half-eaten this morning, so today’s Test is cancelled.
Her stomach felt tight—another Champion murdered. Did it have to do with whatever evil [the dead Fae queen] Elena had mentioned? The Eye Eater and the other two Champions’ killings hadn’t been just a fluke, or a drunken brawl, as the investigation had determined. No, this was a pattern.
Chaol’s investigation determined that the two previous murders—which, remember, left the gnawed-on corpses in ribbons and gobbets, with their innards and brains missing—were the result of “a fluke” and “a drunken brawl”? When was that decided, and why wasn’t Chaol immediately fired?
Now we get to watch Celaena pat herself on the back for recognizing that three inhumanly gruesome murders creates “a pattern,” and that maybe just maybe they’re related to the Spooky Evil lurking in the castle. Our cunning heroine, everyone.
Chaol keeps pressing about the “where were you last night” thing, and she reminds him her rooms are guarded 24/7, and her guards will tell him she never left her room.
He has absolutely no reason to believe she ever left her room, so why did he come storming in and repeatedly demand to know where she was all night? My guess: the book realized that too many chapters begin with Chaol entering her rooms to take her somewhere or tell her something, so, to shake things up a bit, this time he enters her room to ask her something. How novel!
Oh, but he also came to tell her something:
He said, “I’m sure you’ll be even more pleased to hear that you and I won’t be having a lesson today.”
She grinned at that, and sighed dramatically as she slid back under the blankets and nestled into her pillows. “Immensely pleased.”
Thank god she only stays in bed for approximately two seconds after Chaol leaves, and then she’s preparing to hunt down the tomb she’d seen in her dream—the one with dead Fae queen Elena’s sarcophagus in it.
And . . . scene change! She’s in the tomb, which offers no answers to the whole How Do I As The Heroine Handle This Book Suddenly Having A Plot issue, which has been bothering her since last night. Here I’d been expecting her to find, like, a map leading her to the Lurking Evil’s lair, or maybe a mosaic depicting the exact method Celaena must use to kill the Evil. But nope. Will she actually have to figure things out for herself? Surely not.
Celeana then heroically decides that she’s not the best person for this heroine job:
If this evil was as threatening as Elena made it seem, then how could she possibly defeat it?
Not that the thought of something wicked dwelling in the castle scared her or anything.
No. It wasn’t that at all. Celaena huffed. She’d focus on becoming King’s Champion. And then, if she won, she’d go about finding this evil.
I like the idea that Celaena’s trying not to be afraid of the evil, and that she’s worried she might not be able to defeat it. But that’s not what I’m getting out of this scene at all. What I’m getting: Celaena’s a stupid, narcissistic, shallow character who doesn’t deserve to be the book’s heroine.
Come on, Celaena, I know you can be better than this.
Scene change! Celaena and her guards are parading toward the library, “smil[ing] at the young chevaliers they passed—and smirk[ing] at the court women who eyed her pink-and-white gown.” Because it’s been too long since we last saw how charming casual misogyny can be. Oh, and one nobleman “raised his eyebrows at the sight of her,” so of course “Celaena smiled smugly to herself.”
(Being pleased with male attention is totally fine, don’t get me wrong; I just can’t get over her hypocritical insistence that women who seek/enjoy such attention are “ridiculous” and therefore contemptible. Pot and kettle, Celaena darling.)
But Celaena’s smug smirk is wiped clear off her face when she rounds a corner and almost tumbles over Xavier’s mutilated corpse. Did Chaol not think to post guards at either end of the hall, to prevent hoity-toity lords and ladies from stumbling onto the scene and spewing chunks all over themselves, the hall, and the body? Someone please fire him already.
Xavier’s chest cavity had been split open and his vital organs removed. Unless someone had moved them upon finding the body, there was no trace of them. And his long face, stripped of its flesh, was still contorted in a silent scream.
This was no accidental killing.
I continue to be amazed by Celaena’s powers of deduction.
Oh, and “[t]here was a hole in the crown of Xavier’s head, and she could see that his brain was gone, too.” Also, someone drew a circle of Wyrdmarks in blood on the wall, then smeared most of them into blurs.
Celaena continues on her way, noting, “the Wyrdmarks made this something more than a brutal killing. Ritualistic, perhaps.”
This book is legit giving me an eye-twitch.
Xavier’s death has brought the number of remaining Champions down to sixteen, fyi.
Scene and POV change! Dorian’s practicing sword-whacking with Chaol, and the boys are growling at each other over their mutual late-night visits to Celaena’s bedroom. Dorian reassures Chaol that Celaena’s not into his princely dick, and Chaol reassures Dorian that Celaena has cooties and no way was Chaol in her rooms for gross sexy reasons.
Chaol hastily diverts attention from his obvious lie with a change of subject:
“It must be exceptionally awful to be you today. I bet all the ladies were begging you to protect them from the murderer inside our walls.” Chaol grinned, but it didn’t reach his eyes. Taking the time to spar with him when there was a fresh corpse in the castle was a sacrifice Dorian was surprised Chaol had been willing to make; Dorian knew how much his position meant to him.
YEAH. ABOUT THAT.
Thank god, Dorian belatedly remembers that oh yeah, “Chaol should be doing more important things right now,” and ends the sparring to send him back to work—uh, but not before they can discuss the King of Adarlan’s mysterious disappearance. Neither the Captain of the Royal Guard nor the Crown Prince know where the king ran off to, which they find only mildly concerning.
And, to really underline their incompetence, they immediately return to the topic of the murders to impart these gems of wisdom:
[ . . . ] Dorian asked: “Do you think someone wants to kill all the Champions?”
“Perhaps. I can understand wanting to kill the competition, but to do it so viciously . . . I hope it’s not a pattern.”
So, Captain of the Royal Guard, how many sliced-to-shreds corpses of Champions with their innards and brains missing will we have to find before you see a pattern? Twenty-four?
Chaol reassures Dorian that even though this probably isn’t a pattern of murders, he’s assigned extra men to guard Celaena. Dorian asks if they’re to protect her or cage her, and hormonal teen werewolf Chaol bows his head and whispers, “You don’t seem to care either way. You’ll visit her no matter what I say, and the guards won’t stop you because you’re the prince.” Uh, dude, where’d that come from? Non-sequitur angst is my least favorite angst.
Dorian feels bad “for a heartbeat”about making Chaol woe, because “Chaol had enough to worry about. But then he though of the list [of potential brides] his mother made and realized he had enough, too.” Oh, sure; the prospect of you, the adult crown prince of an empire, making a political marriage must be so unexpected and awful that you don’t actually need to feel bad about making a move on the girl you know your best friend is in love with.
The chapter ends with Chaol leaving to inspect Xavier’s body again (hurray!) and Dorian angsting alone in his Princely Tower of Angst.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 1
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
Someone’s awful at their job: 7
How is this kingdom still functioning, with these gaggle of idiots at the helm?