Previously on Throne of Glass, Celaena wraps Chaol in her tenderest, sexiest, most platonic embrace, then rejects Dorian because she plans to move away in four years.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold, it’s paraphrased snark.
It’s a few hours after the last chapter ended, and Chaol’s lurking outside Celaena’s suite. He’s on the hunt for Dorian, who needs to know that the sexy warm tight Celaena/Chaol hug that Dorian had interrupted was totally platonic, and he didn’t really enjoy it anyway, and ew she has cooties that’s gross.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Chaol’s still wobbly-kneed and weepy with horror that he killed Cain a week ago:
But he was still dead. Cain’s eyes would open no more because of him . . . He would not draw breath because of him . . . His heart had stopped beating because of him . . .
You’re Captain of the Royal Fucking Guard. Please either get over it like a proper medieval-ish captain of the guard (because, as I’ve already stated multiple times, you really should’ve had battle/killing experience already), or let this be a sign that you need to relinquish your office to someone better suited. You’ve sucked at your job this whole book; allow me to recommend the latter course.
Chaol bursts into Celaena’s rooms without knocking (sigh), and skids to a halt when he sees she’s eating dinner all on her lonesome, no angsty prince in sight.
Chaol: “WHERE’S DORIAN WHERE DID YOU PUT HIM.”
Celaena: “Oh, him? Dumped the sad-sack.”
Chaol’s penis: “!!!”
Celaena: “Now let’s see how much longer I can string you along, shall we?”
Okay, that’s an exaggeration; our dear Celaena wouldn’t be that forthright. She actually says:
“I’m the King’s Champion. Surely you realize how inappropriate it would be for me to have a relationship with a prince.” Her blue eyes glittered, and he wondered at the slight emphasis she put on prince, and why it made his heart skip a beat.
But instead of waxing romantic, Chaol focuses on the fact that she’s killed people before (WHO? TELL ME WHO) and yet is still mysteriously capable of happiness and laughter. “It gave him hope—hope that he had not lost his soul in the act of killing, hope that humanity could still be found, and honor could be regained . . . “
First: Why would the Captain of the Royal Guard lose honor when killing a criminal who’s about to murder an innocent person in cold blood?
Second: Shouldn’t Chaol’s week of horror and misery be a pretty big fucking clue that he’s lost neither his soul nor his humanity? His concern would make sense if (a) he’d found some degree of pleasure in the act of killing, or (b) he felt less emotional response to the killing than he’d anticipated. Neither of those are the case. He acted merely on protective instinct, and regretted killing Cain before the body had even hit the ground.
This would be a really neat internal conflict if Chaol weren’t Captain of the Royal Guard, and if his horror wasn’t handled with the finesse of a wrecking ball. Alas, nope.
Anyway. Celaena invites him to eat with her and her skimpy nightgown, which he and his lustful body are 100% down for. And just in case we’re still not clear on Chaol’s feelings for her, we’re informed that he fears “four years with her might not be enough.” I find this especially hilarious because I’ve been dragging myself through this book for three months, and had had enough of her after the first week. But hey, to each his own.
Scene change and POV hop! Oh, lovely:
Celaena stood in the tomb, and knew she was dreaming.
Looks like it’s Elena’s turn for a closing moment with Celaena.
“You could be different,” Elena said quietly. “You could be great. Greater than me—than any of us.”
Please stop there. Celaena doesn’t need you to boost her ego any further, I promise.
Elena took a step toward her. “You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared.”
“You found and defeated the evil Cain was bringing into the world.”
Sure, Celaena and her as-yet-undiscovered Fae magic can probably make the universe quake in its boots or whatever, but she did not “defeat the evil Cain was bringing into the world.” She killed one measly demon after Cain had already killed most of the Champions—and then she couldn’t even defeat Cain himself without the direct interference of Chaol, Nehemia, and Elena.
While Celaena was fruitlessly derping around a library for months, Nehemia was spending all her time destroying and banishing the demons, trying to keep Cain’s evil at bay. While Celaena flopped around like a bloody ragdoll during the final duel, Nehemia and Elena battled and banished Cain’s evilness, and Chaol ultimately killed Cain. Celaena should get the least credit of them all.
This book is the worst.
Celaena finally remembers to ask why she has to be the King’s Champion, and Elena answers in the most obnoxiously vague way possible: “Because you’re fucking amazing, and people need you, and you’ll figure out all the details one day.”
Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for an in-depth explanation of the stakes, Elena. Just saying.
Elena swears her undying love and support to Celaena, and poofs out of the dream.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 7
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
Someone pissed me off: 7
Because this chapter was fairly short, let me think out loud about the stakes of this book.
- Early-ish in the book, Elena told Celaena that the fate of the world rested in her hands; that Celaena needed to stop the evil in the castle, and become the King’s Champion. No further info given.
- Celaena technically didn’t stop the evil in the castle. Cain killed all of the Champions he’d intended to except one (her), and she didn’t even end up killing Cain; Chaol did.
- But Cain wasn’t even the true evil that needed to be defeated. The king and Perrington were behind Cain’s evil transformation, and are capable of repeating that experiment with other people. Both the king and Perrington are still alive at the end of this book.
- In short: Celaena accomplished fucking nothing—and, worse, nothing bad came of her failure to accomplish anything. Everything’s exactly the same now as it was at the beginning of the story, except that Celaena’s now in the castle as King’s Champion.
- Elena even confirmed in this chapter that the fate of the world still rests in Celaena’s hands. The stakes—whatever they are—haven’t been affected by the so-called “plot” of this book.
Why did I spend three months of my life trudging through this disaster? NOTHING HAPPENED.
I obviously haven’t read the sequel yet, but I strongly suspect you could just tack on a few extra chapters at the beginning, in which Celaena’s told she’ll be pardoned of her crimes if she agrees to become the King’s Champion, and she agrees. No ridiculous competition necessary. Sure, a lot of other things—like the “romance” with Chaol and Dorian, and the friendship with Nehemia—would have to be seriously reworked, but that’s better than making readers slog through this pointless first novel where literally NOTHING HAPPENED.
Good lord, I need to have a little lie-down and/or a drink. But hey, only one chapter let to go!
P.S. Hannah over at Book Freak-Out is currently writing sharp, bite-size chapter snarks of The Crown by Kiera Cass, and you should definitely check them out. She finished chapters one through five in her first post, and chapters six through ten in her second. Go, read them.