Previously on Throne of Glass, Sad Werewolf Chaol pouts and fusses while Celaena and Dorian dance straight to Make-Out Town.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold, it’s paraphrased snark.
The day after the ball, Gorgeous Badass Puppy (as yet unnamed) wakes Celaena up with a tongue all over her face and tail a-wagging. Naturally suspicious, Celaena asks if the puppy had peed somewhere in the room overnight.
“Oh, no,” said someone as the bedroom door swung open—Dorian. “I took her out at dawn with the other dogs.”
She smiled weakly as he approached. “Isn’t it rather early for a visit?”
What is this smiling weakly bullshit, Celaena?
I am so tired of these assholes barging into her room. I’m even tired of complaining about these assholes barging into her room.
Dorian asks if she’s named the puppy yet, and Celaena says no, (probably because it’s hard to find one that simultaneously [a] has enough vowels in a row to look pretty and [b] sounds like kick-ass murder in canine form), but she’ll think about it. After some prodding, she decides “Fleetfoot” is the dog’s destined name. Hey, at least I guessed the vowels part!
She informs Dorian of her decision, and our precious prince replies:
“Does it mean anything?”
He immediately redeems his stupidity by—get this—apologizing for his behavior last night. I’m as astounded as you are.
Celaena, prepared to (probably literally) throw herself off her balcony to avoid this awkward conversation, inhales to reply and nearly chokes to death on her own phlegm. But she manages to get across that she wasn’t offended by his aggressive smooching, and Dorian, thus released of all responsibility for his behavior last night, morphs back into his slick, smirking self.
“So, you liked it?” He grinned lazily.
“No! Oh, go away!” She flung herself onto her pillows, pulling the blankets above her head. She was going to die of embarrassment.
I’m also sick of complaining about the drastic personality shift Celaena’s undergone over the course of this book.
She huffs and tosses a pillow at him and, having thus dealt with an awkward situation as adroitly as humanly possible, pops back out of bed to stand by the balcony, allowing him to gaze upon “her back and the three scars she knew her low-cut nightgown did nothing to hide.” Good lord, exactly how low-cut is this nightgown, and how does it stay on when she’s sleeping?
The book obviously wants to shift the awkward moment into an angsty one, and Dorian’s all too happy to oblige; when she turns to look at him, she sees “something unspeakably sad” in his gaze.
“Your scars are awful,” he said, almost whispering.
But—I can barely contain my shock—Celaena doesn’t have time for Dorian’s misty-eyed murmurings. “Yeah, so? Everyone’s got their scars, get over it,” she says, while I stand up and cheer.
Scene change! Our buddy Kaltain’s strolling through a greenhouse with Evil Duke Perrington, whose “pocked, ruddy skin and orange mustache” continue to indicate the true depths of his evil. And his “meaty finger[s],” can’t forget those. They’re as sure a sign of his nefariousness as Chaol’s cheekbones are an indicator of his loyalty, and Celaena’s nose is evidence of her assassinhood.
Oh, and by the way, “[t]he black ring on his finger pulsed, and her head gave a throb of pain in response.” Way to be subtle, book.
Perrington gently accuses Kaltain of dry-humping the air while watching Prince Dorian at the ball last night. Kaltain arranges her eyebrows in the coyest alignment possible and gives a diplomat’s non-denial denial. Perrington turns the subject to Celaena:
“She’s troublesome, isn’t she?”
Not the word I would’ve chosen, but I appreciate his restraint.
Needing to be clear, Kaltain verifies that the “she” he’s referring to is Lady Lillian.
“So she calls herself,” Perrington murmured.
“That’s not her name?” Kaltain asked before she could think.
The duke turned to her, his eyes as black as his ring. “You don’t honestly believe that girl is a purebred lady?”
Are we in a different draft of the same story? Because just a few chapters ago, Kaltain devised a scheme to enlist Perrington’s help in kicking Lillian/Celaena out of the castle, and that scheme involved telling him Lillian/Celaena was lying about who she was.
Either Kaltain’s already forgotten her scheme—if so: shame on you, Kaltain, you’re better than that—or the book did. Because I have a higher opinion of Kaltain than of the book, I’m going to blame the latter.
Duke Perrington spills Celaena’s true identity, and Kaltain’s aghast. If she’s going to tear Prince Dorian from Celaena’s assassinly grip, she’ll have to up her game from zero to any game at all. Sorry to use italics at you, Kaltain, but you’re officially as bad as Celaena at the whole not doing anything thing. I am deeply disappointed in you.
Perrington and his evil fingers come up with a plan: the four final Champions will drink a toast before participating in the final duel in a few days; Kaltain will administer the drinks, but only after dropping a drug in Celaena’s cup. Nothing that’ll kill her—just something to soften her assassin edges enough for Cain to easily off her.
Kaltain, bless her heart, protests briefly:
“Cain can’t kill her on his own? Accidents happen all the time in duels.” Her head gave a sharp, intense throb that echoed through her body. Maybe drugging her might be easier . . .
Yep, Perrington’s got some kind of mind-control going on here. Good for him; at least somebody in this book is good at their job.
Despite Perrington’s excellently executed villainy, our precious Kaltain still rebels against the idea of directly or indirectly killing someone—but he waves the flag of Dorian’s unwed penis in front of her eyes, and she snaps back into focus. “Let’s do this,” she says. “Hell yeah,” I say. Let’s see some shit go down.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 2
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
I was pleasantly surprised: 3
Celaena does absolutely anything to advance the plot: 0
Fewer than a hundred pages left in this book. Is action finally in sight?