The Grandiose Unveiling

The time is now. Well, actually it’s 22:11 GMT, but if I make another joke like that someone is definitely going to shoot me through their computer screen before I get to tell you all about this world-changing event!

Yes, it’s what you’ve all been waiting for… ‘Rooks of the Knot’ Book One is available to buy from Amazon and Kindle as of now… and by now I mean last week. Actually it’s been out longer than that in print form, but I wanted to wait to tell you about it so you could get the Kindle version if you wanted to, because it’s cheaper and stuff.

So, my most excellent good friends, behold the cover of my book and be amazed!

Native Cover.4565429.indd

“Camelot.

Resurrected on the tomb of what was once London, the land is protected by a force-field called the Endless Knot; and also by the Rooks—the soldiers who are Selected from the citizenry each year, with neither warning nor the opportunity for appeal.

For centuries following a catastrophic war the Rooks have safeguarded Camelot and cut it off from the rest of the world, but their brutality has pushed some citizens to the brink. On the 12th of September, in the year 626, an unknown assailant opens fire on a party, killing over a dozen. The next day a team of rebels infiltrates and takes over a section of Parliament, the stronghold of the Rooks, determined to be the first people to leave Camelot in over seven hundred years.

Six young people are embroiled in these events. Tryamour and Unghared become hostages of the rebels, but Yvain is fighting with them. Dorigen is trying to find out how any of this happened, while Degare, a Rook himself, is trying to stop it at all costs. And Palamon is trapped in Parliament, with the woman who once saved his life.

But all is not as simple as it appears. The rebels are aided by fanatic outsiders and a traitor somewhere at the height of power. The Knights who control Camelot have their own agendas, and no one can be sure of who to trust. It begs the question of whether the people of Camelot should fight to escape the Knot that’s tied them in place for centuries…

Or if they’re better off with the devils they know.”

Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Rooks-Knot-Escape-Volume/dp/1494437422

Or here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rooks-Knot-Escape-1/dp/1494437422/ref=pd_ecc_rvi_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392933591&sr=1-1

Not convinced? Read this completely genuine 100% unbiased totes not kidding review that someone who might have been me wrote on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/849867718

Still not convinced? Fine, don’t buy it, but one day the world will be mine, and then you’ll all be sorry! You’ll see! You’ll see!

AHAHAHAHAHA! *breaks off into a coughing fit* … HAHAHAHA!

The Wicked Woods: A Book That Was Written (Part II)

(THE WICKED WOODS COMMENTARY, PART TWO)

Chapter Eleven

Well, the homecoming dance is approaching, and Pepper drops by to tell Briony that no one will ever want to go with her because she’s a freak. For some reason.

That’s my girl!

Then Fallon shows up and Briony cries in his arms. Aww. What a loser.

Fallon reveals his brother went missing around the same time as Briony’s family, and he’s really in town to look for him, so Briony’s not alone anymore. Then Fallon says he doubts Briony could ever be alone, and Briony thinks he’s comparing her to Pepper and is horribly offended, because that’s the most reasonable reaction there is.

But Fallon asks her to the dance, and after a few pages she finally grasps the concept of being asked to a dance enough to say yes (though for some reason she starts thinking about Kevin). Yay.

Chapter Twelve

‘Fallon was one of the best kissers Briony have had’.

Oh dear.

(Actually, this entire page makes no grammatical sense. Maybe it was stuck to the one before it when the proof-reader went through it?)

Well, never mind. Time for a choosing a dress for the dance scene! The most exciting scene there is.

But when Fallon shows up to collect her for the dance it turns out he’s a vampire. What a bummer. (apparently Aunt Sophie can tell these things by sight, but even though Fallon knew Briony knew about the supernatural, he came over to her house to collect her. What a dumbass.)

Briony briefly considers killing him, what with him being a soulless blood-drinking monster of the ilk that killed her family, but then she just says it explains why he was hanging out with her rather than the popular girls.

Huh?

Aunt Sophie says trusting vampires is a bad idea, but then she’s just like ‘whatever’, and listens to Fallon say that Briony’s dad asked him to watch over Briony the night he and Fallon’s brother disappeared. Oooooh! Briony gets upset, believing Fallon’s interest in her to be purely the whim of her father (she doesn’t seem to care that he was there the night they all disappeared and so might actually know what happened to her family), but he says he totes loves her for realz, and so they go to the dance together.

This is just hilarious.

Chapter Thirteen

Fallon shows his love by buying Briony a crucifix so she’ll be safe from him wanting to eat her. Yep, sing it with me now;

“I want to chomp into your throat… and watch you bleed out on the floor… then I’ll bathe myself in your life essence as you die, tear your heart out of your chest and crack the bones and suck the marrow out—slice into your brain for sandwiches and maybe have an omelette made of…”

Anyway they go to the dance, where Tracey is wearing a ‘glittery thing that only she could ever pull off’. I know, right? Isn’t that just so Tracey? (well, let’s assume it is for now.) Pepper is Homecoming Queen and wearing an ‘ensemble that tried just a little bit too hard’. How so? Never explained.

They spend a few pages dancing and then Fallon abruptly loses control of himself and tries to suck her blood, then gets all sad about losing control. It’s really heart-wrenching. Well, I think I wrenched a rib laughing anyway.

Chapter Fourteen

Fallon flounces off, so Briony goes back to thinking about Jacob. Uh, I mean Kevin!

He tells her that he is indeed a hunter, he’s just not part of the society because he’s a rebel. My heart = throbbing. Then Briony gets pissy at him and he leaves without saying goodbye. Sad tiems.

Chapter Fifteen

Briony gets a ‘heartfelt’ breakup letter from Fallon and cries for the loss of their three-week or so relationship. Aunt Sophie comforts her.

Chapter Sixteen

Kevin comes back to the diner to remind everyone that he exists and Maisy and Steve tell Briony to find a new boyfriend. The next day, Kevin’s there again, and they have a boring conversation about swans. Then there’s some kissing.

Chapter Seventeen

Aunt Sophie rings up to say that something’s happened, and in this book that’s almost a plot twist. But prepare your handkerchiefs guys… Tracey’s been killed by a vampire!

*Sob, sob* I know, she was my favourite character! *Sob*.

The society goes out to fight the vampires, and George and Briony get attacked by…

Granny Goodness! Dun dun dun!

No, not really—it’s Fallon. He pretends to be evil now, and it’s so obvious he’s pretending that Briony’s heartache over it seems as dumb as… well, everything else about her. Also some other evil vampire called Lily is there, and she tries to kill Briony, but Fallon reveals he’s actually not evil and protects her. Yay. They make up. George doesn’t care.

Chapter Eighteen

Well, this book is three quarters of the way through, and what have we learned?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. This is seriously the worst written of any of the YA I’ve read so far, it has more things happening than the others, but they’re given barely any gravitas in the writing. The characters are clichéd and bland, the plot is worthy of a sixteen-year-old’s fanfiction.

And it is glorious!

Anyway, Maisy and Steve pop up for no reason, then a shadowy figure appears to tell Fallon he’s in big trouble with ‘the Master’. Insert Doctor Who joke here. Then he practically throws himself onto Briony’s stake.

Maisy and Steve are like ‘huh, that was kind of weird’, and Steve faints. They get told about the existence of vampires, and immediately start talking about a dumb vampire show they like to watch.

Then nothing happens for the rest of the chapter.

Chapter Nineteen

The super-secret monster hunting club makes Tracey’s death look like an accident so they can continue to deal with the endemic monster problem on their own and not raise awareness with authorities who could organise better equipped responses.

They’re the best!

Of course the medical examiners are also the best, as they declare the claw marks from monsters to be scratches from thorn bushes. Even Briony comments on how dumb that is!

So Briony and Fallon go out on a date, but their boring conversation is interrupted when Kevin shows up to reveal that he’s Fallon’s missing brother! Dun dun dun!

And also he’s a werewolf.

Neither of the brothers are very happy about this, and neither is pleased to see that the other is alive. Fallon reveals this is because vampires and werewolves have hated each other for ever, or at least since ‘Underworld’ came out.

A fight scene ensues, and Briony pleads with them to not kill each other, but Fallon reveals he now wants to kill his brother even more than he wants to kill her (kinky?) and then a bunch of vampires dressed in really stupid outfits show up and applaud Briony’s stirring speech about how in order for her to trust him, Fallon has to—you know—not kill his brother. Sarcastically. Just like I’m doing.

The Master comes forward, reveals his name is Pietre and takes the opportunity to grandstand like all cartoon villains do, and also put both Fallon and Kevin in a chokehold. Then Briony threatens to kill herself if he doesn’t let the dumb duo go, and for some reason this upsets Pietre and he complies.

And then she blacks out and wakes up at the Pokémon Centre.

Chapter Twenty

Okay, she’s not really at the Pokémon Centre. Believe it or not, I lied.

The terrific trio awaken tied to chairs. Pietre shows up for some more cartoon villain grandstanding, wherein he reveals that he and Aunt Sophie used to date. What a twist. He’s waited until now to kill her family for dumping him (and also for trying to kill him) because he had to wait for the main character of the book to show up, I guess.

Anyway, Pietre says he’s going to kill Kevin if Briony doesn’t do what he says, and she immediately capitulates. Then he reveals he turned her entire family into vampires and—

“Wicked Woods continues in Book 2 of Wicked Woods: Shimmer”

WHAT!?

What? I… I… I don’t believe this! We’re only 90% through the book, what the hell else did I download onto my kindle!?

Let’s see… advertisements for other books written by this author… author going on about how much she cares about her readers… how to contact the author… more advertisements… more advertisements… shit, this is one prolific author!… and then nothing.

It’s the end.

Wow. Just wow.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Well, it wasn’t exactly the ‘Mr Worf, fire!’ cliffhanger of ‘Best of Both Worlds’ but…

No, I got nothing. (Haha, like the book!)

Or wait—we could do a Birdemic reference, that’s always good for a laugh!

Ahem.

“Man, that was a good movie—uh, book: The Wicked Woods.”

Dawn: “That’s it. I’m getting myself a vampire werewolf love triangle that’s environmentally friendly.”

And in conclusion, we have only our burning of fossil fuels (which is causing global warming) to blame for this book. And for being attacked by exploding bird pictures.

 

The Wicked Woods: A Book That Was Written (Part I)

THE WICKED WOODS

(Condensed Goodreads review available here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/562519975)

I hope you didn’t think Celaena would bring me down now, eh?

This book has been written by an author I’ve heard… things about, but we won’t go in to that now. No, today we’re just going to read one of her many works, which attracted me with its cover of a blurry girl in a turquoise dress standing near some blurry trees.

Prologue

Ah, back to familiar ground. Our heroine’s name is ‘Briony Patterson’, and it’s dark. Very dark. So dark I’m getting Allstar Batman and Robin repetition flashbacks with all the ways the author is describing the darkness.

Briony is staying with her aunt after her family randomly vanished, as families so often do in these stories. Some nice exposition ensues, wherein we learn that the aunt’s husband vanished along with Briony’s parents and younger brother (if this brother comes back as a ghost who wants to be a teenager, I’m going to release the hounds), and if Aunt Sophie hadn’t taken her in, she’d be homeless.

Social services are?

Anyway, she’s apprehensive about starting a new school the next day, and then the doorbell rings. A couple dressed as 1940s Hollywood stars have come by to see if there’s any room at the inn, but they’re vampires so Aunt Sophie tells them to get da fuk out.

Briony is somewhat surprised to learn that vampires exist, but Aunt Sophie is like ‘yeah, life’s been easier since I became an ordained minister over the internet so I could make holy water’ and sends her to bed.

I think I love this book already. Though I’m not sure why this had to be a prologue…

Chapter One

Briony thinks about the fact that vampires exist for a bit, but then is distracted by the much more important subject of what she’s wearing for her first day at school. Rather than asking her aunt how best to protect herself against vampires, she just goes for all the traditional garlic-and-cross methods which make people at school think she’s a freak.

Anyway, lunchtime drama ensues, with lots of stereotypical cliques making Briony wonder where she should sit. Back in her old school, she was one of the popular girls—

Shit, this is Ever, isn’t it? So The Wicked Woods is a Twilight knockoff knockoff?

A girl named Pepper Freeman pops up to tell Ever—uh, Briony, that she’s the mean-girl cheerleader of the book who’ll be tormenting her for no reason, and then more people are mean to her for the rest of the day. Oh the humanity!

Chapter Two

Aunt Sophie takes Briony to a diner, where she meets a man called George, who has hair so short, he ‘must have been in the military’. I remember the year my dear brother got a really short haircut, and was instantly shipped off to Afghanistan, despite his pleas for mercy. Good times.

Intense eating action ensues, with a side of boring conversation. The adults console Briony regarding her bad first day (those darn vampires scared her—they’re such a nuisance!) and Aunt Sophie says someone picked on her on her first day of school, and then they got married. I suppose that means she expects Briony to marry Pepper.

It could happen!

(Haha, this is bad YA, of course it won’t).

Things get serious when George pulls down one of the antlers of his decorative moose-head, revealing a secret room filled with vampire-fighting weapons. This is of course given all the significance that him serving their burgers was.

They then give her a crucifix and reveal she is now to become a vampire slayer.

*Insert Theme Song*

Chapter Three

Apparently, the town of ‘Wicked’, has been around since the Mayflower landed; bringing with it a cache of musical theatre devotees. Since vampires and other supernatural creatures are history nerds, they all come to Wicked for their all-you-can-eat buffet, and people are just too dumb to notice anything weird.

Briony is confused, because her aunt doesn’t, you know, look like a vampire slayer. Aww, precious. But, upon learning that it was probably vampires who killed her family, she agrees to become a hunter.

Aunt Sophie tells her being strong and fast isn’t much use against a vampire because they’re always stronger and faster. Then she tells Briony it’s good she’s so athletic, what with all the hand to hand combat she’ll have to learn!

I see Wicked has a logic hole, as well as a Hellmouth.

Chapter Four

Well, that’s enough about those dumb vampires—let’s hear more about Briony’s school life! Briony meets Tracey and Claire and they show her around. Her first day is entirely forgotten about and now everyone seems to like her, because she’s wearing a different outfit… or something.

Two guys who are so generic that even Briony comments on it pop up and are… generic. Much waffling ensues until Pepper shows up to be the mean girl, but everyone tells her that Briony is cool now. Then Pepper tries to get a rise out of her by insulting her aunt, which makes Briony flounce.

Then she’s invited to a football game! Exciting!

Chapter Five

The football game is won and much fun is had by all. As Tracey and Claire are so generic and indistinguishable, I rather wonder whether they’re not Buns and Brownie from Inescapable in disguise? Guess those two really were Inescapable (ba-dum ching!)

Then Briony gets attacked by a vampire, whom some call… Tim.

(now she’s doing unintentional Monty Python references like Delirium; this isn’t a Twilight knockoff knockoff—this is YA knockoff loaf!)

He’s a pretty crappy vampire though, and Briony is easily able to kill him with the crucifix-stake her aunt gave her for protection despite having no training.

Wow, what threatening vampires!

Chapter Six

We’re… a quarter of the way through the book. I don’t believe it, we haven’t even met Generic Love Interest yet!

Briony is so disturbed by what’s happened that she commits several traffic violations (channelling Ever again, I see), and thinks: ‘Oh.My.God.’ without proper punctuation!

Then she crashes into a tree and gets attacked by werewolves. Just not her day, is it? Luckily she’s saved by someone who must have been separated from a torch-wielding mob because he scares the werewolves away with fire.

Ah. There’s our Generic Love Interest. His name’s Fallon, and Briony is immediately in love with him. Best developed romance ever.

But then he mysteriously vanishes, so I guess he’s a slasher killer as well.

Chapter Seven

Briony doesn’t tell Aunt Sophie that the vampire and one of the werewolves were classmates of hers because that might interfere with her school life! What. An. Idiot.

(see the spaces there, Briony?)

Anyway, the next day people are suddenly unwilling to stand up to Pepper’s dislike of Briony even though before they were perfectly willing to. I guess Pepper must have mind control powers? Thus Briony starts making friends with the uncool kids. The horror. Including Maisy, who’s afflicted with the very height of lameness—GLASSES. The horror.

And Steve, who has ‘sandy-haired that seemed to have a mind of its own’. That’s right. He has sandy-haired. Although from the construction of the sentence in its entirety it may be that his shirt is sandy-haired and has a mind of its own, which would have been closer to correct in the grammatical sense, but kind of dumb in any other. Was this thing proofread at any point?

Thus Briony learns, as Ever did, that the unpopular ‘geeks’ (one day I’m gonna get that filthy animal!) are good and pure—and then Fallon enters the cafeteria!

He sits with Briony, which makes Pepper mad ’cause she’s a jealous ho. That’s my girl! I’m sure you can guess what happens next. That’s right—a boring conversation!

Oh, and Fallon uses hypnosis-eyes to make Briony not tell anyone that he saved her from werewolves.

Chapter Eight

Training session! Briony whines about it being unfair that she’s expected to be trained by George, who’s an expert, because obviously she can’t defeat him. I see the concept of ‘training’ has surpassed her. Good to know.

Chapter Nine

Briony gets a job at George’s diner and boredom ensues. Characters too generic for me to remember are mentioned, and three people show up asking for raw burgers. Briony gives them rare burgers instead, and one of them completely flips out. I WONDER WHY?

Yep, she’s a werewolf. She attacks Briony behind the diner.

Great secret werewolf identity keeping!

Chapter Ten

Again, Briony is saved by a guy, this time a guy called ‘Kevin’, so I guess this book will have a Generic Love Triangle. Yay!

He expresses mild sympathy for werewolves being unable to control themselves, and Briony assumes that if her aunt heard such talk she’d go mental, even though we’ve seen nothing to suggest that Sophie has unstoppable rage towards people who are slightly sympathetic towards werewolves.

But Briony realises that the other two werewolves didn’t try to murder her in full view of the public, and thinks maybe they’re not so evil after all! Aunt Sophie says: no. That’s fucking dumb.

But then it turns out Kevin isn’t actually a member of the secret monster fighting club!

(CONTINUED IN PART TWO)

In The Beginning There Was… Teletubbies?

Happy Valentine’s Day, wankers! To show you all how much I love you, I’m giving you a special treat: an exclusive look into the dark and dubious origins of my diseased mind. Yes, as I promised, this is the first story I ever wrote, aged somewhere between nine and eleven. Footnoting has been added and some of the grammar corrected, but otherwise it is exactly as it appeared in its original form.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you… Teletubbies.

(I know, it’s exactly what you’ve always  wanted, isn’t it?)

*~*~*~*

[All material relating to ‘Teletubbies’ are the property of the BBC or something]

*~*~*~*

Teletubbies

The teletubbies rule the world. They will turn anyone who gets in their way into mindless idiots. They beat the Peachy-Pineapple news[1]. They sent Baboo[2] flying into the sun. They killed Fdfgdehcxz\fsgdwetffggtgtt[3] and he died.

Finally, Melady Clam[4] sang her song…”Look at me– I’m a freak and that’s reality!!”[5]

The teletubbies sang their song… “Teletubbiesss…. teletubbiessss, say hello: eh-oh!” They ate Melady Clam with fried Noo-noo. The only thing to do was …….

NOTHING! so the world was doomed.

Until Mrs Gloop[6] was finally sacked for devouring her pupils. She had an army of drunken zombies. They were turned into tubby toast! She had an army of brainless gits. They were turned into tubby custard! She had an army of dead people–and they died![7]

But she didnt need them. She sent the teletubbies to the moon with her AUTOMATIC send-people-to-the-moon-thing.The teletubbies suffocated and died.

sfgjhfgjdgfbemjgfmshoeiurljhgkwhdijkdvbgjhgckisdufygoifdhfgiyhglkdfhgoediufglkrjlgjgkhgjrljrlhjlkfjhlkdf [8] died, because he was killed. He was 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 years old [9].

            THE END!

Notes:

1. The Peachy-Pineapple News was originally thought up by a friend of a friend (possibly taken by someone else before that, I have never been quite certain), its exact origins are unclear. The main idea behind it was that of a crazy news program run by a cast of homicidal characters, many of whom I added myself, often stolen from other books/TV shows.
2. The character of ‘Baboo’ was taken from a 1-page story I saw taped to another friend’s door, written by his friend, whom I believe I never met, in turn.
3. It was customary in those days for me to create throw-away character names by hitting random keys for a few seconds (well, at least I never named a character ‘Grignr’). These characters were usually killed off in the same sentence that they were introduced.
4. An associate of the Peachy-Pineapple News crew.
5. Sung to the tune of that one Geri Halliwell song that was popular when I wrote this.
6. The character of Mrs Gloop was created solely by myself during a grammar lesson, I believe regarding semi-colons, in an exercise which involved writing sentences containing specifically required elements–and even in those days I’d do anything to make boring exercises more exciting. The idea behind her was that of a cannibalistic schoolteacher who somehow always got away with her crimes, possibly inspired by a Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode. It occurs to my now that being a ‘Mrs’, this character must actually have been married; likely to a powerful figure, given her ability to avoid significant retribution for her crimes.
7. Apparently Mrs Gloop had enough zombies to comprise two armies. One imagines that the first one was smaller, given that it seems to have been a requirement that its members suffered from alcoholism as well as from being dead. Alternatively, the first ‘zombie’ army may have been meant figuratively.
8. [See ‘3’ above]
9. The introduction of an unrelated character followed quickly by his death and the age he was at the time of his death was typical for my writings at this time, which reminds me…

General JGLIGJHGJHJKGLIGT died reading this post when his brain exploded from the stupidity. He was 57 years old, and only two days away from retirement. RIP.

The Window Cleaner

This is a short story I wrote just after I finished university in 2011 and thought that writing short stories might be an idea. It was not to be, as I struggled pitifully to keep ‘Rooks’ down to 120,000 words–about the top end word count for a YA book–and that’s after what I had originally envisioned as being a stand alone had to be turned into three books because of its length.

The point is that I am not skilled in the art of brevity, so even my short stories were scarcely able to be restrained by 2k or 3k word limits. But this is one of my successes (in that regard at least), so if you like short stories or something then read this while you wait for my book to become available on kindle. It’s more verbose than I’d write nowadays, but everyone grows. I mean, you should try reading the first thing I ever wrote–

The first thing I ever wrote…

Hmm. Well, I know what I’ll be treating you all to later on in the week! For now, enjoy ‘The Window Cleaner’.

*~*~*~*

 

 

Twelve years, seven months and seven days after that abrupt apocalypse had seen an end to all life on earth, there was a knock on my bedroom window.

Instinctively, my eyes pointed themselves in the direction of that window, and behind the dark blue curtains I could see the silhouette of a man in the afternoon sun. The shadowy figure was distorted and slanted by the direction of the light, but even after I blinked several times it did not dissemble and reveal itself to be a figment of my imagination, so I didn’t try to move.

There shouldn’t have been anyone out there, of course. That was the thing about there being no life on earth; objects that were not alive were unlikely, no, unable to knock on your window, so logically there was no one knocking on my window. And yet I could see a man-shaped figure right in front of me, ostensibly alive and as I said, knocking on my window. Given that there had been an apocalypse I suppose it could have been a mutant zombie vampire or something, although that would just be all I needed in my current state.

As I tried to think this through, there was another knock at the window, a little louder this time, and I could see the head of the figure turn around to look behind them and back again, as if seeking some kind of assistance. I was afraid, I suppose. I hadn’t spoken to or seen anyone in almost thirteen years, so I had good reason to be, but now that I think about it the person at the window was strangely un-frightening for someone who shouldn’t have existed. It was constantly moving its head, stretching out to try and get a better view of its surroundings in a way that I thought, as ill-positioned as I was to make this kind of judgement, made it seem confused.

It knocked a third time. I was quite sure I wasn’t imagining such sounds by now, so I flinched away from it as any sane person would have. The figure still refused to expose itself as a ghost of unreality, and I could have sworn I heard a voice say, “Hello?” come from roughly where the figure was.

“Excuse me,” I thought I heard it say. “Is there anyone in there?”

It spoke with a west country accent. I didn’t think that if I was having a hallucination it would speak with a west country accent, so I pushed myself up and out of my chair, brushing away the cobwebs that had been keeping me there. I didn’t go to the window immediately, I was too nervous to do something like that, but once there was another knock, even sharper than before, I folded my arms around myself and took a few steps forward.

My legs were awkward, slow to move and weak enough to make me worry that if I stood on them too long they’d snap. I cringed and held onto the wall for support, my skin crawling with each footprint I left in the heavy build-up of dust. I don’t think I’d left that chair in at least six months—there hadn’t really been any point in doing so until now.

It seemed to take far longer than it should have for me to reach the window. I still didn’t want to draw attention to myself so I only drew the curtain back far enough to get the tiniest glimpse of the other side, but I had to push it back immediately because I hadn’t seen the sun in about two years and had been unprepared for the shock. I hadn’t had much cause to look at the sun, and it was bad for your skin anyway. For all I knew I had only survived as long as I had because I had stayed away from it.

The figure had obviously seen me though, despite my not being able to see it in turn. It called out to me. “Hello? I’m sorry to disturb you like this, but can I talk to you for a minute?”

I shielded my eyes and pulled back the curtain again. The light was still strong, like the white-out effect of a nuclear bomb, but I persevered as I had always done and pushed the curtain so that the rings slid across the rail with a little rustling sound, slowed down so much it was almost a squeak.

Eventually, my eyes began to acclimate. I could see that the figure at the window was about forty, chubby and with no visible hair beneath the helmet he was wearing. He had one of those faces which made other faces look uncooked, with nervous little grey eyes and a plastic smile. His hands were holding onto a rope suspending him from the top of the building, which I supposed was how he was able to knock on my bedroom window despite me being quite a few floors up. I didn’t remember the exact amount. On the outside windowsill was a bucket with a rag half hanging out of it, and from that and his bright orange jumpsuit I guessed he was there to clean the windows.

Far be it from me to guess why anyone would want to clean windows after the end of the world—perhaps he’d found it difficult to kick the habit?

He smiled wider when I managed to look up far enough to meet his eyes. “Did I wake you up?” he asked. “Sorry about that. Can you hear me all right? Maybe opening the window would be better?”

His voice was indeed muffled, but I didn’t know if my hands had the strength to pull the handle down and push the thing out. I supposed it would be rude not to even make the attempt and I gave it a try. It was surprisingly easy for windows which hadn’t been opened since before the apocalypse. (I had never opened my windows. You never knew what might get in).

“Ah, that’s better,” said the figure. “As I say, I’m really sorry to disturb you, but I need to know—is this the Eliot building?”

I hesitated in answering him, firstly because I wasn’t sure and secondly because I’d stopped talking a very long time ago. This was simply the building I’d been holed up in for the last thirteen years, and I hadn’t left it in any time recent enough for me to remember what it might have been called.

My silence was clearly awkward for him however. “Um…” he said slowly. “Actually, maybe this is the wrong place…”

When I opened my mouth to try and answer him I swear I heard my jaw creak. “I…” I said. “I don’t know.”

“Oh?” He continued to look around, periodically returning his gaze to me but for the most part looking anywhere else but. “Is there anyone else inside?” he asked.

I frowned at the question which had such an obvious answer. “No,” I told him. “I thought I was the only survivor.” My curiosity piqued, I leant forward a bit to try and see if maybe someone else was out there. There wasn’t, of course, just the endless flat miles of devastated wasteland, charcoal and maroon in the light of the too-bright sun, stretching out as far as I could see and no doubt even beyond that. “What’s your name?” I asked the man.

“Jim,” he said, managing to bend his lips into a smile for a moment, “I’m Jim. I was just up here to clean the windows, but I think I might have got the wrong building. I’m sorry if I woke you up.”

I didn’t think any hallucination of mine would call themselves Jim either. I suppose that meant he was really there. “How did you survive?” I asked him. I think it had been too long for me to conjure up much excitement.

His eyes went wide and he was completely still for a few seconds, then he looked around once more and then back at me. “Same way we all do, I guess?” he said. He made it sound like a question, which was understandable. I too had long since forgotten how I’d survived.

“It’s not too dangerous out there, then?” I wanted to know because this incident was making me feel like maybe it was time I left the room again, even if only just the one more time, but I wasn’t going to do it if it was dangerous out there.

“Dangerous?” the word was spoken almost as a laugh. “I guess you could say it’s as dangerous as it ever was!”

A somewhat philosophical answer, I thought; not exactly the kind I was looking for. Still, I couldn’t expect myself to muster up enough strength to ask the same question twice. I tried to think of something else to say that might be useful.

It was Jim who asked the next question, about the same time as I became acclimated enough to the light to drop one of my hands. “Were you having some kind of nightmare?” he asked.

I shook my head a little, as much as I could. “No, I was awake,” I said.

“Oh.” He looked past me and into the room now, not even trying to disguise his peering. “How long have you been cooped up in there?”

It took me a while to remember that the word I wanted to answer him with wasn’t a word at all, but a gesture. I shrugged.

“Well, that’s probably too long then—if you don’t mind me saying so of course, I mean I’m only a window cleaner, aren’t I? Why don’t you come outside, enjoy the sunshine for a while, that sort of thing?”

“Bad for your skin,” I informed him.

“Eh?” he said.

“The sun,” I said. “The ultra violet rays cause skin cancer. Even a little exposure can cause damage.”

“Well, that may be,” said Jim, though he didn’t look like he believed it, “but you can’t stay shut away forever, can you?”

I don’t know, I’d been doing pretty well so far.

“Tell you what,” he said, glancing at his wrist, “it’s almost lunch time. Come on up to the roof and have a sandwich with me, eh?”

The roof? I’d never been to the roof of the building before, wasn’t even sure how to get there. Sure, I think I could have been forgiven for slacking off from my very important task of staring into space for weeks on end, but the thought of leaving the room honestly frightened me. Of course, I didn’t get much of a chance to explain that.

“See you there!” said Jim, and with a little wave he began scaling back up the wall, and I was too unused to speaking after such a long time to ask him to wait.

Thus I was compelled to go to the roof. To do otherwise would have been rude. It was easier than I thought to open the door to my room, I hadn’t locked it the last time I came in and although it creaked horribly it was actually even less stiff than the window had been. A few dust-ridden cobwebs drifted to the floor as I stood there, peering out at the corridor. My room had been right at the end. Fifteen point five, it said on the door, so I suppose that meant I was on the fifteenth floor. I couldn’t remember how many floors there were altogether, but I hoped it wasn’t that many more than fifteen. Taking the lift would have been incredibly stupid after twelve years without servicing after all, and in my experience lifts had been unreliable enough even before the apocalypse.

I shuffled slowly through the dust and bits of peeled paint towards the door to the stairs, having to use almost my whole body weight to push it open. The stairs were the hardest part—it turned out the building had eighteen floors and with my having been sitting in a chair for at least half a year or so before this, climbing them was gruelling. The top floor had a little door marked ‘access to roof’ with a bar across it, and on my third attempt I managed to push it down and get up to the stairs to the roof.

Despite having just parted company, I was still surprised to see Jim there, undoing the straps of his harness with a frown of concentration. He looked up and waved to me when the door shut. “Hello, there!” he called.

There was a box on the ground which was open, and I could see sandwiches wrapped in Clingfilm inside it from where I was.

“I, uh, didn’t bring anything,” I said awkwardly. I wondered vaguely where he’d got the bread from. Where he’d got anything at all from was a mystery, come to think of it.

“No worries,” he said with a laugh, stepping out of his harness. “I don’t mind sharing!”

I couldn’t think of a reply. While he poured a cup of steaming liquid from a thermos I inspected the rest of his lunch box. There must have been at least two sandwiches in there, the box was quite deep. A packet of crisps, a Kit Kat, a Pepperami—which I personally wouldn’t have eaten, I was pretty sure those things had to be kept refrigerated and since they probably stopped making them around about the time the world ended, that one would have been lying around for who knows how long. Then there was a separate box of what looked to be raw carrots, and a sprig of grapes.

Grapes were nice. I used to like grapes, I remembered. These were the red kind. I reached forward for one then stopped and checked to see if it was all right with Jim. “Go ahead,” he said, smiling at me. I picked one off the branch and sat back. I wasn’t really all that hungry, so I just concentrated on the feel of holding a grape, how cool it was, and firm, but I knew it was liable to be crushed if I pressed it too hard so I was careful. It was a nice shade of red too.

“Thanks,” I said, as soon as I remembered to say it.

“No worries,” Jim replied. He patted me on the shoulder lightly and a cloud of dust swirled into the air. I flinched at the impact, it was so unusual for me that I think I blocked it out immediately after. Then after a brief pause, the odd man started up conversation again. “Isn’t it nice to be out here in the fresh air?” he said.

I looked up at the yellow sky and red sun. Being in the fresh air after so long was indeed… refreshing, but I couldn’t help but be nervous about the consequences.

“You can have some of the carrots too, if you like,” Jim went on. “I hate the buggers. And a quarter of the Kit Kat, seeing as how that’s not good for me anyway, and I can spare at least half a sandwich and a few crisps. You like prawn cocktail? I wish I had another cup with me, I could give you some tea, but I have a bottle of water in the bag…”

He went on in that vein for quite some time, talking about nothing in particular and nothing that made any sense to me at any rate. My answers were monosyllabic at best, and sometimes I forgot to answer altogether. But it was strange, because sitting up there on the roof with the window cleaner from the west country whose name was Jim and who was sharing his impossible lunch with me put this odd little thought into my head.

It was a thought of little substance and less common sense, but it popped into my head all the same, and even though it might have been best to ignore such a frivolous notion, I couldn’t help but entertain it—even if only as idle fancy. I don’t think I’d ever had much sense.

And yet, as I sat up there with that strange man and listened to his chatter, it did somehow occur to me that perhaps it was not the end of the world after all.

Throne of Glass: Hardcore Mary Sue (Part II)

Throne of Glass Commentary PART TWO

(You have no idea the trouble I went through posting this. Burn in hell, Internet Explorer. Burn in hell.)

 

Chapter Twenty-Three

Celaena has a nightmare and Chaol wakes her up to tell her that it’s fantasy-land Halloween, and there’s a party she’s not invited to. Lol.

Then we switch back to Dorian so he can whine about how boring religion is and then gush some more over Celaena’s beauty. Also the council is plotting to take Princess Sue—uh, Nehemia, hostage and invade her country because apparently they have nothing better to do.

Nehemia proceeds to continue to insult the people of the country she’s staying in as a guest (and yeah, they’re the evil empire and all, but that just makes it even more of a bad idea to get on their bad side!) and refuses to acknowledge the difference between a soldier and a guard. Then Nehemia insists that Celaena be made her language teacher but that scene kind of fizzles out when Gregor Clegane drops by and cleans a tile…?

Apparently it’s integral to the plot. Nehemia gets pissy about it but won’t say why.

Chapter Twenty-Four

Our hero sits around doing nothing and then randomly discovers a seekret passijway! She finds an escape route but decides not to escape because Chaol would be dismissed and Nehemia wouldn’t have an excuse to be in the story anymore.

She goes down another passageway and finds the room where the party is so she can watch Chaol like a creepy stalker. But then she finds out all the other assassins were invited except her! Sing it with me now,

All of the other Reindeer…

Though that insult is soon ignored in favour of watching Dorian like a creepy stalker. Oh my. Which will she choose? I’m so invested. (Actually I am—I like Chaol and wouldn’t want him to have to suffer through her. Maybe he can become Kaltain’s champion and together they’ll take over the kingdom! Woo!)

Dorian goes to her room later to watch her sleep like a creepy stalker (she can have him for all I care), and then Chaol drags him away, so he can give her a present.

…And then watch her sleep like a creepy stalker.

Well. He’s less creepy than the other two.

Chapter Twenty-Five

Now things get really head-desky, as Celaena has a dream-vision where she meets Dorian’s ancestor, the first queen of glass castle-land and she says that she came from another world (guarded by the gargoyles Celaena saw earlier, so now we know why they were mentioned, thanks.) to tell Celaena about a terrible evil lurking in the castle, that only she can destroy and bring balance to the Force.

(insert Star Wars theme)

Sure. Why not?

(because it’s stupid, that’s why.)

Vagueness ensues, but Celaena does get a sweet amulet from the dream—nice!

Chapter Twenty-Six

Yet another champion is dead, (this is what—the fifth? They’re all so forgettable I’m not sure I was supposed to be keeping count), and this has made Chaol finally start taking shit seriously, especially as the murderer is apparently Hannibal Lecter.

Celaena goes to vision-queen’s tomb to waffle on for a bit, then puts on a really pretty dress that makes all the guards love her and goes to look at the half-eaten corpse and all the ritual symbols written in blood nearby. Her analysis?

This was no accidental killing.

Nooooooo, really? Ya think?

Then we switch to Dorian and Chaol, who are sparring manfully. While they snipe over Celaena, Dorian lets us know that apparently King Dumbass kind of wanders off for no reason every now and again and no one knows where he is. Great security!

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Celaena tells Nehemia all about the dead guy—I suppose in case any of us missed it the first time around, because Nehemia has nothing useful to say about it. Then Gregor Clegane (okay, his real name’s Cain) shows up to taunt Celaena and tell her he knows she’s secretly the best assassin who was ever captured and thrown in a mine. Great strategy, Cain.

Chaol brings Dorian to watch Celaena train, so he can see what a super-awesome assassin she is and stay away from her. Instead, Dorian sees her talking to Nox and gets jealous. Thrilling.

We switch back to Celaena, who’s researching those ritual symbols. She discusses religious stuff with Chaol and he tells her she sounds like a ‘raving lunatic’.

That’s my Chaol!

But then he proves that he’s dumb too by not really giving a shit about the symbols even though they were graffiti-ed in blood all over his crime scene. She exposits to the audience about the symbols, given the extremely imaginative name of ‘Wyrdmarks’ (as in, ‘weird marks’), then reads a Walking Dead novelisation.

No, I’m serious. She picks up a book about zombies called The Walking Dead.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Oh thank god—the half-way mark! Curse this book for making me yearn for the sweet, sweet Purity Sues of regular YA schlock! Curse yooooooooou!

Ahem.

Anyway, Celaena is bored with actually doing shit, and plays pool. On finding she’s not super-duper at it, she throws a tantrum and Dorian has to come along and show her how to play. Sexily. After that useless scene is over they discuss whether or not the murders are intentional.

*facepalm*

Oh, I don’t know—maybe they cut a hole in that one guy’s head and took his brain out by accident! Seriously, you just said you knew it wasn’t accidental!

Chapter Twenty-Nine

The champions are fighting and sniping at each other again and Celaena defeats her opponent so easily all sense of threat has evaporated.

Now we’re with Kaltain again, gossiping with the Queen over Dorian. Yawn.

Chapter Thirty

Oh good, another murder. Chaol brings Celaena along to look at it and Celaena makes some observations, ending in the most astute, ‘maybe this killer thing is that ‘evil’ vision-queen was talking about’?

Ya think?

Later, Celaena reads some maps and has a boring conversation with Dorian.

Then Chaol watches people. Thrilling.

Chapter Thirty-One

Vision-queen shows up to be vague and remind Celaena about what she already knows, and after that there’s a poison-identifying test, and Celaena wins by copying the poisoner-guy’s answers. For some reason Brullo makes them all drink the possibly-poisoned wine and gives antidotes to the ones that got it wrong, rather than just telling them whether or not they got it wrong.

Because he’s hardcore?

Chapter Thirty-Two

Our two Sues go to the kennels so we can have the most saccharine scene ever—and given what I’ve seen in shit like Delirium, that’s saying something. Celaena convinces Dorian not to kill a puppy that wouldn’t be pacified, getting as sanctimonious as she ever does.

Then she runs into Cain being a spaz and tells Nox and poison-guy who’s now apparently her friend to stay in their rooms. I’m amazed they’re not all already doing this.

Chapter Thirty-Three

Kaltain is hanging about, smoking opium, (remember kids, drugs are bad!) when Duke thwow him to the fwoor (okay, his real name is Perrington), comes along to manipulate her to be jealous of Celaena. Uh, if they both hate Celaena, why are they bothering to try and manipulate each other into hating her more?

Then Nehemia goes to Celaena’s room to cry about some of her people being massacred. I’m sure it’s integral to the plot.

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chaol shows up to wangst about the massacre (why would he care? Except that he’s ‘a good guy’, of course), and Celaena wangsts over her period pains. Suck it up, girl, you’re supposed to be some sort of super-assassin!

Then Dorian pops by to make fun of her, earning him a few more points in my book. Then he wangsts over the dead rebels too and those points evaporate. Seriously, have some balls, Dorian.

Anyway, also there’s going to be a fantasy-land Christmas party and Celaena’s not invited again. Lol.

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chaol is wangsting some more, this time over how he’s falling in love with Celaena (okay, now I only like Kaltain), and how brilliantly amazing she is for surviving the mines.

More of the assassin tests are mentioned in passing, along with some more of those murder things, because we wouldn’t want to focus on the only vaguely interesting thing about the book when there are love triangles to get through!

There are only six champions left now, (which the book says before listing… five champions. Sure, Celaena doesn’t bother to include herself in the list, but it’s still jarring) and Dorian is too busy wondering if the amulet that vision-queen gave Celaena might possibly have belonged to vision-queen.

Then Celaena sees someone’s drawn Wyrdmarks under her bed, just like that scene in Sleepy Hollow… She goes to the library and runs into Nehemia, who reveals she actually can speak the language perfectly and then vanishes.

Celaena thus suspects her of being the murderer. Right. As if.

Celaena… you’re pitiful.

Chapter Thirty-Six

…sigh.

I don’t even… sweets. Celaena eats some sweets. Whatever. Dorian pops by to give her a puppy for Christmas, and while she doesn’t care that it rabidly attacks people, she is prepared to kill it for not being toilet trained. Lovely.

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Celaena goes to church, falls asleep and annoys Chaol. Then she gets a present.

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Apparently Celaena has decided to crash the ball, and of course has to spend pages getting dressed and then suddenly this book turns into… Cinderella? What?

Dorian tries to get Chaol to dance with Celaena, but Chaol isn’t drunk enough for that yet, so Dorian hangs around for Celaena to gush over, and the two of them dance instead.

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Some guy points out to Chaol that Dorian is obviously in love with Celaena, and Chaol flounces. Kaltain makes up her mind to kill Celaena, while Celaena remembers that Dorian is actually the prince and she hates him, but then apparently doesn’t care, Dorian goes love crazy and thinks about jumping off cliffs (that you, Bella?), while Chaol wangsts and looks at Celaena through her window like a creepy stalker.

Has the plot just ended or something?

Chapter Forty

Well, something important happens… the puppy gets a name. Dorian and Celaena snipe. Kaltain is jealous so Perrington reveals Celaena’s true identity to her and they plot to poison her so Cain can kill her, even though we already know Celaena knows all about poisons and shit.

Chapter Forty-One

All those book-reading scenes finally seem to have a point, as Celaena learns that the Wyrdmarks are used to grant the power of the sacrificial victim to the killer, who she still thinks is Nehemia because she’s an idiot.

But when she goes down into the tunnels to see some guy chanting and doing magic stuff, it’s not Nehemia at all, but…

Granny Goodness!

No, not really, it’s Cain. Big surprise.

Chapter Forty-Two

Cain summons a big monster-type thing and traps Celaena inside with it, but she escapes to vision-queen’s tomb, finds a big sword and kills it. Yay.

Chapter Forty-Three

Well, it feels like it should be the end of the book, but of course we’re only three quarters of the way through!

Audience: NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

That’s right, there’s more! Celaena wakes up in Nehemia’s room, so she can abruptly reveal her backstory to her. Nehemia gushes over how super-special-awesome Celaena is. Also, Celaena decides not to tell Chaol about Cain being the murderer because that would give away her escape route.

Boring conversations ensue, and then King Dumbass randomly shows up.

Chapter Forty-Four

Nothing happens.

Chapter Forty-Five

During another training session with Nox, Celaena lets slip who she really is as she tries to warn him away. He disappears that night, so I guess he wasn’t a villain after all (I don’t know, he reminded me of Freddie from Inescapable). No, he was just irrelevant to the plot entirely.

Kaltain is still an opium addict and Dorian and Celaena play chess and make out. Then she has a nightmare.

Chapter Forty-Six.

Oh, God, 80% done. I know the finishing line is in sight, but I don’t know if I can take it…

Oh well, nothing happens in this chapter anyway.

Chapter Forty-Seven

Kaltain prepares to poison Celaena and the champion’s duels begin. Cain wins his, then Nehemia gives Celaena a weapon of her people so she can defeat her fellow convicts with SYMBOLISM! Yeah, an assassin took out a mercenary with a foreign weapon—that’ll show King Dumbass!

Chapter Forty-Eight

With the help of one-liners and annoying bravado, Celaena wins, which means she has to go up against Cain. Yay. But then she drinks Kaltain’s poison! (I remember now that she cheated during the poisoner’s exam) Oh no. She begins losing the duel with Cain so he taunts her and then punches her across the room like this was a cartoon.

Well, I guess he does have the strength of all those guys he killed. Maybe telling Chaol about that would have been a good idea after all, Celaena?

But no, instead she gets poison-induced hallucinations of zombies.

Chapter Forty-Nine

Vision-queen shows up to defeat the zombies and banish the poison. Oh God, let it end soon.

Chapter Fifty

With the aid of vision-queen Celaena defeats Cain and becomes the king’s champion. Cain doesn’t like this, so he tries to kill her, but Chaol steps in and kills him. Yay. Or not yay?

Kaltain gets pissy at the Duke for the poison not working, and he immediately throws her under a bus for no reason.

Chapter Fifty-One

Dorian and his dear old dumbass dad snipe at each other for a bit, but daddy agrees not to punish Chaol, to let Celaena be named his champion, and to not take Nehemia hostage. Why? Because he’s an idiot. Just like everyone else in this book.

Nehemia explains some crap about those stupid Wyrdmarks  and how she used her powers to help defeat Cain to and reveals she had secretly come to stupid-land to spy on the King. Wait, that was supposed to be a secret?

Chapter Fifty-Two

Fuck, just END already!

Ugh. Dorian and Celaena have a boring conversation, and King Dumbass plots many plots with the Duke.

Chapter Fifty-Three

Chaol shows up for hugs and to wangst over killing Cain… what, has he never killed anyone before? Apparently not. Then Dorian pops by to tell Celaena the exciting news of her being able to sign a contract. THRILLING.

Then they break up for no reason.

Chapter Fifty-Four

Chaol continues to wangst, making about as much sense as Perdita did when she wangsted over killing random wolf-guy in Verity. I remember Verity, that was a good book…

Then Celaena meets up with vision-queen who tells her she has a great destiny, blah, blah, blah…

Chapter Fifty-Five

My god, I think we’ve reached INFINITE BOREDOM.

But King Dumbass proves he’s not such a dumbass when he tells Celaena he’ll have all her friends executed if she ever goes against him. Hmm, maybe he’s not so bad after all…

Wait, that’s the end!?

FINAL THOUGHTS

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRR
RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG
GGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!11!!1!!!!111!!11!

DIE! DIE IN A FIRE! DIE!

God, I’m going to have to get my own characters to take care of this for me! Elliet! Eivun! Shelira! Lizelba! Show Celaena what a real assassin is like by killing her!

Eivun: My fee is £1,000,000.

Shelira: Mine is being £800,000.

Elliet: I’ll do it for £100,000.

Lizelba: And I’m a bargain. £75,000.

What? My own characters, that I lovingly crafted with my own hands, won’t kill one measly assassin for me?

Elliet: Of course we will. As long as you pay us tons of money.

Eivun: Yeah, that’s kind of what it means to be an assassin, twathead.

*Cries*

Lizelba: Why not set that despair monster you also created on her instead, then you can kill all the other characters at the same time?

Huh, good idea. Dawn—release Dolorelamia!

Dawn: Sure thing, freak!

Sorry, Kaltain. I’m sure you’ll go to a better place. You could hardly end up anywhere worse.

Throne of Glass: Hardcore Mary Sue (Part I)

THRONE OF GLASS

(The condensed GoodReads version of my review is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/556344528 )

The unofficial sequel to the Game of Thrones series, this tells the story of one of the single thrones fought over by the people of Westeros, for the kingdom in the far south, just east of Dorne. This kingdom first made its existence known in the series when it was mentioned that Flat-Face Pog of the Night’s Watch had come from there before he was brutally slaughtered by a zombie horse.

The Kingdom of Glass remained neutral during the War of the Five Kings, but it’s ruler, Lord Malbatrixavys, swiftly joined forces with Aegon the Pretender in the last book, trying to secure a marriage between his son Malvolio and Arianne Martell, whose own father Prince Doran was sure to side the same way—

Hahaha, not really, I made all that shit up. No, Throne of Glass is just another book I had to pick up after reading the glowing reviews. That and it has Sephiroth on the cover.

Chapter One

Well, I can’t say this will be a book where nothing happens, as within the first two paragraphs we learn that our hero, Celaena, is Ardalan’s most notorious assassin who’s been locked up in the salt mines of Endovier, and today a man in black has begun following her around. Looks like it’s our old friend exposition! I’ll get Dawn to put the kettle on…

Already I’m lead to ask why she’s not just executed, as it takes an ‘extra half dozen guards’ to escort her everywhere when they could be doing something useful. Is she just that good a miner? She must be, if she was so crap an assassin she got captured.

Well, the man in black is Chaol, Captain of the Royal Guard, and he spends some time leading Celaena through some corridors. She thinks about killing him and whether or not he might be a worthy opponent, because she’s hardcore.

She then goes on about the salt mines, and how they suck, and the different kinds of people you find there—the usual crowd, rebels, La Resistance, those oh-so persecuted magic users, then she thinks about how maybe she’s going to be executed, but I’m guessing that would mean the bad guys were actually smart, and how often does that happen?

But no, she’s been brought before… Dorian, the Crown Prince of Ardalan! Dun dun dun!

Chapter Two

Celaena reacts to this surprise by thinking about how hot Chaol is. As you do. She refuses to bow because she’s hardcore, and instead gets thwown to the fwoor.

Apparently by a Duke. Who is then told he has a meeting with the treasurer. So, did the whole court come to this mine for this secret meeting? Or is the mine just right next door to the palace? Anyway, the Prince says there’s no point in making her bow, which prompts Celaena to think about her backstory, as adopted daughter of the King of Assassins. Assassins have a monarchy now?

Anyway, the Prince is totally hawt too, which annoys Celaena, because people she doesn’t like are supposed to be ugly. Then she thinks about how beautiful she is, just in case the audience was worried there.

They talk about how amazing an assassin Celaena is for a while (so amazing she got caught and sold into slavery), how many random guards she’s killed, blah, blah, blah.

And the Prince has a proposition for her. That’s all that happens in this chapter, but I suppose we have to make room for exposition this early on in the book.

Chapter Three

The prince explains that his dear old dad wants Celaena to be his lackey, because he’s a moron. Celaena can’t let the prince get through a sentence without making a dumb quip to show she’s hardcore, and she got herself captured and thrown in a mine, so I don’t know why the king would want anything like this…

Well, I guess someone has to hold the idiot ball.

Oh, but it gets better! Because he’s a cartoon villain as well as an idiot, King Dumbass wants to hold a tournament to see who gets to be his champion. Yay, tournament book! Celaena’s competitors are all thieves and assassins (why thieves? Or are they just all assassins and some of them happen to steal stuff too?)  but none of them are as famous as her (probably because they didn’t get their idiot selves captured).

But Celaena is still stupidly arrogant and complains about the king thinking he needs to test the great almighty her against others. Then she haggles for her freedom, and the prince stupidly agrees to lower her terms of contract from six to four years, even though he holds all the cards, and she agrees to enter the Hunger Games.

Chapter Four

Celaena goes on and on about how she’s the most beautiful skeletal slave in all the mines, and pages of description ensue. Then to show us she’s a good guy, the prince’s dogs all like her. Celaena starts harassing Chaol by going on about how brilliant she is even though she’s only eighteen and trying to guess his backstory after he tells her to piss off.

My god. It’s Patch in female form! Run awaaaaaaay!

Oh, wait—lunch.

Chapter Five

Celaena spends a few pages eating and lets the audience know how many jewels she’s heard of by comparing the leaves to them.

Leaves. Don’t. Work that way!

Somehow this reminds her of more of her backstory, which only embellishes what we’ve heard before by giving the king of assassins a name. Don’t worry—it’s a stupid one. Anyway the empire is evil because they burned down a bunch of trees and they hate magical creatures—never heard that one before, yawn. After the king banned magic, all the magic users disappeared, I guess because they were chicken. (Insert Goodkind reference here).

Chapter Six

Two weeks of travelling later, Celaena wants to kill Chaol, either because he’s the descendant of her Nephilim vassal and his death will grant her the power to become human, or because she’s hardcore, there doesn’t seem to be an actual reason.

They reach the extremely tacky castle and Celaena remembers how the last time she was there she’d killed someone. She tells Chaol she was only captured because the other assassins were jealous of her brilliance and sold her out.

Suddenly POV switches to Prince Dorian, who goes on about how beautiful Celaena is (of course).

Chapter Seven.

Ah, the perils of finding a book with an actual story. This is going to take a while, we’re not even 10% done. Celaena taunts Chaol about how easy it would be for her to escape, but doesn’t, because…

Then she sees some slaves and wangsts over the fact that slavery exists and is bad—well, that and the slaves might think she had something to do with it, and she wouldn’t want them to think badly of the wonderful noble her who used to free loads of slaves and stuff when she wasn’t killing people.

(Don’t worry, like all assassin protagonists I’m sure she only killed bad people)

When they reach the castle, Celaena is taken to her quarters (instead of a cell, why?) and makes a weapon out of hairpins. Then she gets fitted for some clothes and thinks about murdering the tailor for not listening to her no doubt brilliant suggestions. Then she thinks about murdering the woman sent to serve her because… she’s hardcore.

Then there’s a POV shift to Dorian, who’s hanging out with dear old dad so they can argue about… uh, stuff. Well, it’s more vague sniping. And then King Dumbass hits him. Ha ha.

Chapter Eight

Because everyone in the book is an idiot, they show Celaena around the castle so she can plot escape routes. They talk about Dorian’s brother Joffrey—uh, Hollin, who’s an Enfant Terrible, and Celaena points out a gargoyle that’s obviously important because of reasons. Chaol takes her to a library where—surprise, surprise—it’s revealed that Celaena is an avid reader. And no one else is, because none of them are as good as her.

Also because King Dumbass doesn’t let anyone else read them. But Celaena gets some books from Dorian anyway, I’m sure it’s all extremely important to the plot.

The next day she overhears some random woman call her a harlot and tries to murder her with a flower pot. Because she’s hardcore.

Chapter Nine

Celaena is finally taken to see King Dumbass.

Chapter Ten

Losing some of her hardcore-ness in the face of meeting the king, Celaena bows, ‘her skirts whispering’. Whispering? Is she hearing voices now as well?

Also the king’s sword is called Nothung. Not Hung. Lol.

Celaena surveys the competition, who are all ugly and stupid because she’s brilliant, except one guy who’s just kind of ordinary (and Most Definitely Not a Villain) and another who might be Gregor Clegane. The king announces how they’ll all be competing to be his champion, and Celaena wangsts that ‘champion’ is just a fancy way of saying ‘murderer’.

Uh, Celaena? What did you think an assassin was?

She whines about how evil the king is and how the people should revolt. Why don’t they revolt? Why are other countries losing to King Dumbass? Because of the reason.

Dorian shows up later for flirting tiems and to give Celaena her cover story (which was much more interesting than her actual story), but then some woman called Kaltain shows up to flirt with him and she and Celaena insta-hate each other. In her honour, Celaena spouts off some semi-misogynistic pseudo-feminism.

Chapter Eleven

Celaena is woken up the next day by Chaol so she can complain some more. He in turn gives us this line:

“Stop whining. No one gives a damn about your clothes.”

Oh, Chaol; I think you’re my favourite character! Celaena goes back to thinking about killing people and Chaol continues to be as annoyed with her as I am. They have a sparring match in which Chaol somehow overcomes her Sue powers and wins, and Celaena goes all Sweeney Todd and refers to the weapons as her friends.

Scimitar. Training weapon of deceit. I love you./Dr. Z.

… no one will get that reference.

Chapter Twelve.

The master of weapons, Brullo, introduces himself to the champions. I’m sure his character will be integral to the plot. Then some of the other champions introduce themselves, and they’re all boring. Celaena goes all assassin-snob on them, whining that none of them would be allowed into the Assassin’s Guild because they’re not ‘refined’ enough.

She whines about how no one is basking in her murderous glory, and Chaol has to explain to her that that’s good, because it means they’ll underestimate her.

Then there’s a training montage.

Chapter Thirteen

Another Sue called Nehemia shows up the next day. Her personality is that she’s Princess Leia, and she and Celaena immediately become bff. They go on about how much King Dumbass’s kingdom sucks and how everything’s better where she comes from. (Again, if King Dumbass is really so crap compared to you, why is he winning?)

And then suddenly we get Chaol’s POV so he can worry about some of the dogs being eaten while being annoyed by Celaena, who bugs him constantly about what type of woman he likes.

…oh my god. Oh my god! You know what this means!?

Celaena is basketball coach guy from Hush, Hush! He’s after me again! Run, Chaol!

Chapter Fourteen

Oh god, finally—the quarter way mark. Shit, this is going to take twice as long as usual and I already hate it twice as much. Celaena is of the ilk of the classic Legomance Sues of my youth, assassins who never assassinate people and go on and on about their clothes all the time.

Curse you, basketball coach-guy!

So Celaena spends her time training and vomiting (is she bulimic or something now?) and whining about how no one’s paying her any attention, until one day Chaol fails to show up for training practice (almost as if the Captain of the Guard has other things to do!) and she talks to fellow competitor Nox about how one of their fellows was murdered.

Then there’s more training montage.

When we next see our hero she’s gone back to her usual past time of annoying Chaol, who isn’t busy investigating a murder because… he has to give his backstory to Celaena. It’s not very interesting. Celaena tells him about the time her idiot guardian decided she wasn’t a good enough assassin and broke her hand. Because he’s hardcore, I guess.

Chapter Fifteen

The first anti-climactic test for the champions is an archery competition—insert Katniss joke here. It’s all very boring and Celaena shows off even when she’s explicitly told not to because she’s hardcore.

Chapter Sixteen

Chaol asks Celaena about her scars so she can wangst about all the terribly tragic things that happened in the mine and how she killed some guards who raped and murdered a women who treated her scars and they didn’t kill her back because… they knew she was the main character. She tells Chaol they died too quickly, even though a few sentences earlier she said no one deserved to be whipped as she was, which means no one deserves to be whipped, but torturing people to death is a-okay?

Then some guy called Sven tries to escape and dies. I’m sure he was integral to the plot.

Chapter Seventeen

And now we’re with Dorian’s POV—haven’t seen him in a while. He goes on and on about the clothes his mother’s wearing today and she tries to convince him to get married. He’s disgusted by her ‘prejudice’ of being annoyed with Princess Leia—uh, Nehemia’s refusal to wear a dress she sent her. How is that prejudice? Because of the reason.

He goes on about how everything’s boring for a bit. God, I miss Maxon and his sweet stupidity. Then he watches Celaena, gushes over her Sue beauty and has a boring conversation with her. Then he tells Nehemia it’s not suitable for her to be with the champions, but because she’s such a good diplomat she tells him to piss off, and they somehow end up having a stupid fencing match.

Chapter Eighteen

Back with Celaena (joy of joys) she begins gushing over Dorian’s hotness as he spars with Nehemia. Chaol shows up to tell her to get da fuk out and she has a tantrum.

Chapter Nineteen

Suddenly we’re in Kaltain (the Dawn character)’s POV. She gossips with the Duke who thwew Calaena to the fwoor at the start of the book. We learn that she’s a ho who wants to be queen, that’s the kind of girl I like!

She manipulates the Duke against Celaena by telling him Dorian’s in love with her—what a horrible person! (Why couldn’t this book have been about her?)

Then we switch to Dorian and Chaol, as they discuss what a bad idea falling in love with Celaena is, even though we know they’re going to do it anyway. Also that one guy who was murdered is mentioned, but not a lot, because we need to make room for womance!

Chapter Twenty

Celaena sits about wangsting over her old boyfriend Sam (Gamgee or Tarly?) and how he was betrayed too, and then died or something. Then Dorian shows up to listen to her play the piano, which—of course—she’s brilliant at. They have a boring conversation. A long, boring conversation with much sniping, whining, sanctimony, and all around Mary-Sue-ness.

Chapter Twenty-One

The next test for the ‘champions’ is to scale the castle walls and get a flag. Celaena has tar on her hands, so it’s easy for her to grip the stone walls of the…

Wait, I thought the castle was made of glass?

Anyway, then some guy dies. No one cares.

Then another one of the assassins tries to kill that guy who was Most Definitely Not a Villain, but Celaena risks her life to save him because… she’s hardcore? No, that’s not even fake-hardcore, that’s just kind of dumb.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Celaena saves ‘Nox’ through the magic of bungee jumping, which I’m pretty sure doesn’t work that way, and complains about how she could have won because she’s so much better than everyone else, even though we’ve established quite firmly that showing off her skills is a bad idea.

Assassin guy isn’t punished even though it was said at the start that trying to kill the other champions would get you kicked out, but who cares about that when there’s sniping with Chaol to get through! Celaena makes Chaol feel sorry for her with her wangsty training from hell backstory, and demands an apology for being called a criminal.

And now they’re friends. Lovely.

Oh, and some other guy died too.