Previously on Throne of Glass, three more Champions are murdered, Celaena like-likes Prince Dorian, and Chaol has no idea what’s going on but thinks Duke Perrington’s face is evil enough to somehow be involved.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold, it’s paraphrased snark.
Celaena awakens in the middle of the night, her inconsistent Assassy Sense a-tingling: someone’s standing by her bed.
Celaena knew this long before she opened her eyes, and she eased her hand beneath her pillow, pulling out the makeshift knife she’d crafted of pins, string, and soap.
- I’m surprised she hasn’t thought to steal a weapon during the months she’s been in the castle—especially if she’s even mildly concerned about being next on the murderer’s to-do list.
- If she’s so sensitive to people’s presence that she awakens when someone is standing silently at the foot of her bed, tell me again how Dorian and Chaol manage to parade in and out of her rooms at night without her knowing?
Don’t get your hopes up, guys, it’s not the murderer; it’s Elena’s spirit, probably come to dump some Important Plot Information in Celaena’s lap. This isn’t boring at all, nope.
Celaena appears to be afraid Elena might do something more sinister than talk, which I find confusing. Wasn’t she recently taking comfort in the fact that Elena is her distant relative, and they both are intrinsically bound to Celaena’s beloved homeland? Where did this fear of Elena come from, and what exactly does she fear Elena might do to her?
Rather than flesh out her emotional state for the reader’s benefit, Celaena demands to know what Elena’s doing there.
“Simply to remind you that you must win this competition.”
I 100% do not believe the spirit of an ancient Fae queen would pop in while Celaena’s sleeping just to remind her to win some dumb competition, even if the fate of the world does rely on it.
“I already plan to.” She’d been woken up for this? “And it’s not for you,” she added coldly. “I’m doing it for my freedom. Do you have anything useful to say, or are you just here to bother me? Or maybe you could just tell me more about this evil thing that’s hunting the Champions down one by one.”
I’m still waiting for a legitimate reason (not “because the plot requires it”) why Celaena wants to win her freedom as opposed to just do the intelligent thing and escape.
Elena sighed, lifting her eyes to the ceiling. “I know as little as you.”
Oh come on. You fought your way through the heavily-guarded Wyrdgate and infiltrated Celaena’s dreams to provide her with almost every necessary bit of plot info she could possibly need. You’re here right now to remind Celaena that if she fails, the whole world will somehow suffer for it. And you expect us—Celaena and the readers—to believe you “know as little as [Celaena]”?
Just cough up the details already, I’m ready for the chapter to end.
Ha! Elena apparently heard me and is thrilled to oblige:
“I came here to warn you to keep an eye on your right. [ . . . ] Look to your right. You’ll find the answers there.”
Oh, so the whole “I’m here to remind you to win the competition” thing was a lie, as was the “we’re equally ignorant about all this” thing. How shocking.
Celaena looks to the right, “but all she saw was the tapestry that concealed the tomb.” Pissed that Elena’s hint was apparently a dud (come on, Celaena, at least do some investigating before deeming the hint useless), she “opened her mouth to snap a response,” only to realize Elena’s poofed back to the, uh, other world. Or wherever.
I wonder if we’ll ever learn how Elena managed to visit Celeana so easily tonight? Her last visit was pulled off with great difficulty and danger; now she’s somehow able to drop in at her leisure, just to admire Celaena’s sleeping technique, make some pointless lies, and offer some vague advice.
At her Test the next day, Celaena studied the small table before her and all the goblets it contained. It had been over two weeks since Samhuinn, and while she’d passed yet another Test—knife-throwing, to her relief—another Champion had been found dead just two days ago.
- I’m not loving how the book skips carelessly over Tests and murders. Aren’t those two things kind of the entire point of this book?
- I’m also unimpressed by some of these Tests. Was the knife-throwing like the archery, with all the Champions standing in line for their turn, aiming for some standard-issue targets inside a bright and cheery room? Because those probably aren’t the conditions the King’s Champion will be murdering people under. Couldn’t they spice these Tests up a bit, perhaps by using moving targets in awful conditions (outside in the rain, or in a very dark and unfamiliar room where the Champions have to move in utter silence, etc.)?
- So, which Champion died this time? Gonna give us a name? Any details about the murder? No? Okay.
This Test involves identifying the poisons present in seven goblets, and arranging them in order of poison-free to super deadly. She’s got five minutes left on the clock, and two goblets stump her. One will have no poison in it at all, and the other will contain the deadliest poison. What will she do?
Oh, she’ll look to her right, where Gangly Assassin Pelor (who is a master of poisons) catches her eye and indicates she should arrange her goblets like he did his. “HE’S TO MY RIGHT, THAT’S WHERE THE ANSWER IS,” she thinks, and follows his lead.
Guys, this Test is a disaster. Whose idea was it to let the Champions be within sight of each other, where they could see how the others arranged their goblets? At the very least, every goblet should’ve been unique so the Champions couldn’t cheat this easily. Because really, everyone knows Pelor is the poison guy; I don’t believe for a second that Celaena’s the only one smart enough (uh, after a tip from Elena, anyway) to copy Pelor’s goblet arrangement.
And now all the Champions have to drink from the goblet they placed in the “poison free” slot. This goes poorly. Thank goodness Weapons Master Brullo’s there with antidotes for all the poisons, so none of these tasty meatsacks get dead before their turn to be munched on by the Lurking Evil.
Celaena and Gangly Assassin Pelor are the only ones who arranged the goblets correctly, who’d’ve guessed.
So she’d cheated a little, but she’d won. She could handle sharing the victory with an ally.
Good god, kid, you could handle sharing the victory with an ally? Why not be grateful to him for his help, and acknowledge that you would’ve come in second place/technically failed the test without him? Handle sharing the victory, my ass.
And I don’t for a second believe you view Pelor as your ally, nor that he’d willingly help you cheat. You’ve done nothing but sneer at his age, his noodle-arms, and his pimples throughout the book thus far. What reason does he have for helping you? And since since when did you condescend to think well of him?
It never ceases to amaze me how much aggravation this book can pack into such short chapters.
But Celaena’s not done with me yet. The chapter concludes:
And, yes, Elena was looking out for her—but that didn’t change anything. Even if her path and Elena’s demands were now tied closely together, she wouldn’t become the King’s Champion just to serve some ghost’s agenda—an agenda that Elena had twice now failed to reveal.
Even if Elena had told her how to win the Test.
Yeah, I’ve complained that Elena hasn’t made the stakes very clear, but they aren’t a complete mystery: if Celaena fails to become the King’s Champion and destroy the Lurking Evil, then the Evil will rip open a portal between the worlds and terrible stuff will happen. Elena’s agenda, taken at face value, is very clearly “save the world(s).”
The way Celaena’s thoughts are phrased, I can’t tell if (1) she’s forgotten what Elena told her, or (2) she actually suspects Elena’s lying to her.
We’ve seen that she feels a healthy dose of wariness regarding Elena, but there’s been no evidence to suggest Celaena thinks Elena is lying; quite the contrary, considering her clumsy (but earnest) attempt to link Elena’s warnings to the brutal murders.
My bet’s on Celaena (once again) exhibiting the memory of a goldfish.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 1
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
Celaena should’ve been grateful to someone, but wasn’t: 3
I don’t know what this book thinks it’s about. We see almost none of the Tests, almost none of the murders, and almost nothing of the murder investigation. The vast majority of our time is spent watching the boys drool over Celaena, and Celaena laze around doing not much of anything (except be a vain, malicious, incompetent two-year-old). Even when the boys are alone together, they’re significantly more likely to talk about Celaena than (1) the murders, (2) how Dorian is (presumably?) running the castle/country while his father’s gone missing, or (3) literally anything else of importance.
I signed up for a crime-solving, Evil-destroying assassin with a not-so-hidden agenda against the tyrannical king, not . . . whatever this is.
You guys are all quick and witty; someone whip up a new, less misleading synopsis for this book. It’d be a public service to its future readers, and I could use the lols.