Previously on Throne of Glass, Celaena downs some poison, gets her ass thoroughly handed to her by Cain, and is assaulted by demons.
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 start the chapter off, uh, strong:
Dorian watched in wide-eyed terror as Celaena thrashed on the ground, waving away things they couldn’t see. What was happening? Had there been something in that wine? But there was also something abnormal about the way Cain just stood there, smiling.
It’s kind of nice to see Celaena’s thrashing from an outside perspective, but couldn’t we be in Chaol’s head instead of Dorian’s? Dorian still has too much of this standing around idly and feeling bad for her and himself stuff going on; at least Chaol was a somewhat decent observer/narrator of events.
“Stop it, now,” he said to Chaol as his friend rose from his spot near the ring. But Chaol only gaped at the flailing assassin, his face pale as death.
Okay, maybe not.
(Also: “flailing assassin,” oh lawl.)
Cain’s pummeling Celaena flat, and we’re told the fight “wouldn’t stop until his father said something or Cain knocked her truly unconscious,” which seems to contradict the whole “only fight until one of you is in a defeated position” rule the king had originally set down. Celaena’s been in the defeated position for a while now, judging from the fact that she’s now a mere bloody sludge. But hey, the king hates her; I guess it’s his prerogative to shift the rules around to see her truly fucked up.
And oh hey, Nehemia’s still here. Practically shouting I’M ABOUT TO WORK WYRDMARK MAGIC, GUYS, she steps up to the very edge of the ring—the perfect place to draw everyone’s attention—and starts doing the magic thing (her hands semi-concealed by her cloak). If Dorian’s so quick to see what she’s doing, shouldn’t someone else also notice? And then freak the fuck out, because she’s clearly working wyrdmark magic? She’s not exactly hiding in the shadows here.
Also: I’m all for friends helping friends, but come on, Celaena. I was really hoping you’d badass your way out of this on your own.
POV hop! Celaena has once again decided she’s going to die, and once again finds the will to fight. She screams a scream that’s weirdly described as “[a] call for help,” and lo, who doth appear but magical heavenly Elena, all “You rang?” just as Cain’s about to make himself a Celaena shish kabob.
Because of course Celaena has to rely not only on Nehemia, but on some fucking heavenly being to drop into her lap and save her.
That’s how she’s “accomplished” every other thing in this book so far—by passively waiting for someone else to do it for her. Why should I be surprised that this happens in the climax of the whole damn book?
Deus Ex Machina Elena bodyslams Cain away from Celaena, then kills some demons, then starts to drain the poison from Celaena’s body, etc. I’m so glad to see her doing all Celaena’s work, let me tell you.
Cain eventually decides it’s prime Villain Monologue time, bless his heart:
Cain’s attention was on Celaena as he said, “You were brought here—all of you were. All the players in the unfinished game. My friends,” he gestured to the dead, “have told me so.”
Thanks for the info, dude.
But Elena wants to ensure the book maintains at least some air of mystery, so she . . . banishes him? And he . . . disappears? I can’t tell if he disappeared for real, or if he was possessed by a demon and the demon disappeared. Maybe it’s just all his stored-up super-strength that was banished?
Then poof, the poison’s all gone (GREAT), and Celaena can’t see Elena or the demons anymore. And hey, there’s Cain, still around after all. Whew, that would’ve been an anticlimactic defeat.
Celaena stands up, and the chapter ends.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 1
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
I swore out loud in annoyance: 4
I’m genuinely pissed about Nehemia stepping in and then fucking Elena dropping in to magically save the day. I wanted to see Celaena find the will within herself to stand up and wreck Cain’s shit, but no. Elena to the rescue.
Seriously, if someone other than Celaena kills Cain—or if Cain doesn’t die at all—I might not read the rest of this series because fuck that. I am beyond upset at this book, you guys.