Previously on Throne of Glass, Devout Scholar Celaena’s endless research pays off, and she’s amazed to discover it’s Cain, not Nehemia, who’s involved in the murders.
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’s still in the corridor, watching Cain be evil from a discreet distance. “Well,” she eventually decides, “this could explain why Cain’s been steadily transforming into the Hulk over these last several months.” Keen observation, that one.
Cain wiggles his bloody fingers around or something, and the ridderak emerges from the darkness. It’s all “hairless gray skin” and “misshapen head” and “black fangs” and a “vaguely human body,” and overall looks super ugly—like “something out of an ancient god’s nightmares,” because the younger gods would’ve had the decency to nightmare up something more imaginative.
The nightmare creature touchingly displays its fealty to Cain before hearing Celaena panicking out in the corridor. “Hey look, dinnertime,” Cain tells the ridderak, and then—before our stunned heroine can so much as blink—he disarms Celaena and locks her in the room with the creature. But not before monologueing a bit, like a good villain:
“Pity,” Cain whispered from the doorway, pocketing her knife. [ . . . ] “I’ll never get to know how you wound up down here in the first place.” His fingers wrapped around the door handle. “Not that I care. Good-bye, Celaena.”
- If you don’t care how she got into the secret tunnels, why bring it up?
- It’s safe to assume she came through the secret tunnels, which you could explore to your little heart’s content.
Because this is such an awkward and forced thing for him to say, I strongly suspect it’s going to be relevant later. Perhaps to explain why the creature never enters her room from the secret passage?
But back to our heroine, who’s locked in a room with a starving dude-creature. She spares a moment to angst about how Chaol “would forever curse her” for disappearing on him (uh, why?) and how she’d never get to apologize to Nehemia for suspecting her of serial murder—when lo, she remembers something:
And Elena—Elena said someone wanted her in the tomb, to see . . . to see what?
And then she knew.
The answer lay on her right—the right passageway, the passage that led to the tomb a few levels below.
I’ve grown rather accustomed to being five or ten steps ahead of Celaena in the critical-thinking department, yet here she’s managed to blow right past me. I believe this odor I’m smelling is authorial interference, because the Celaena I know is incapable of whatever leaps in logic were required for her to land on, uh, whatever solution she’s landed on.
I’ll also pause here to note that it took her approximately five seconds to figure out her plan. Quick thinker, our Celaena.
Celaena’s plan, we’re assured, is “the most reckless and brave plan she’d ever concocted,” despite the fact that recklessness and bravery are kind of on opposite ends of the “mentality when about to do something risky” spectrum, so who knows how she pulls that off. The plan begins with stepping out of the way when the ridderak charges at her, so it breaks down the wooden door behind her. Such recklessness, such bravery.
The door shatters and she bravely runs away, straight for Elena’s tomb. No, we still don’t know why. But as she’s chugging along, she thinks:
Someone wanted me to come here on Samhuinn. Someone knew this would happen. Elena wanted me to see it—so I could survive.
- How unexpected, that Queen “I don’t know any more about this situation than you do” Elena knew this would happen, and ensured Celaena would know where to run to for safety.
- How unexpected, that the answer to Celaena’s problem was dropped into her lap by a heavenly being, and that the answer was immediately remembered within moments of Celaena finding herself in danger.
- How unexpected, the boredom I’m feeling right now.
Celaena’s hauling ass toward the tomb, and HOW UNEXPECTED, “[t]he door to the tom was wide open. As if someone had been waiting.”
Is it nap time? It feels like nap time.
She dives into the tomb and finally we learn her plan: there’s a sword in there that she can use to sword-fight the creature to death. Are we finally going to see our assassin kill something other than my will to live? Say it isn’t so.
The sword’s at least a thousand years old, but glitters and shines like it’s not a day over twenty. The first thing she does with the sword: drive it straight through the creature’s face, killing it.
That was surprisingly anticlimactic.
Feeling a little shocky, Celaena pries her right hand out of the thing’s mouth (my only consolation: she didn’t survive unhurt), puts the sword back, thanks Elena for the helpful tip, and shambles zombie-like back to her bedroom, where she collapses. Looks like the creature’s bite might be venomous, and she’s on death’s door after all. Fun!
But heaven forbid the chapter end here, with the uncertainty of Celaena’s survival urging us on to the next chapter. No, before we have a chance to get concerned about Celaena’s well-being, Nehemia barges in and heals her with a carefully-administered combination of bathwater, some pretty turquoise Wyrdmarks, and some full-body cuddling.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 0
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
Powerful moments that were actually anticlimactic: 3
Yep, definitely nap time.