Why I’m not Going to Follow My ‘Passion”.

I love reading and writing. I really do but I’m about 99 percent (let’s leave the 1% for some freak-of-nature accident) that I won’t try majoring in creative-writing or english in college or considering a full-time career in it either.

Part of that may be due to the fact that I’m part of  a (relatively) conservative Indian family which has gone to college for generations and credits education for raising them above middle-class.  My parents can’t fathom the point of college degree not in a STEM field.”‘How  will you learn problem solving?” is their biggest concern. To be honest, I’ve heard a lot about how useless degrees in the liberal arts can be- not just in terms of employment but also as something you can learn in a classroom. Most of them are life-skills which come from reading good books and talking to interesting, knowledgeable people. I hate to sound snobbish or anything but most liberal arts are something you need years to properly learn as well as a deep desire to learn about them. They’re like people skills or spices- necessary to have to make stuff palatable, but you can’t exactly eat a whole meal made of them.

Do what you love. It sounds great in theory but when it comes to creative hobbies, there;s a huge chance you’ll be a starving artist if you follow this advice. Writing out my thoughts has just shown how middle-aged I am, but there’s a reason people call me practical (and pessimistic when they’re annoyed with me). if you’ve read any of Malcolm Gladwells’ books (stuff like Outlier, Black-Swan and Antifragile), you probably already know that in all creative industries .01% of the people in it make more than the rest 99.99%.
And I might say I love reading and writing now, but I’m cynical and practical enough to realise that it’s entirely possible- after months of not being able to pay bills and having to get a job at Mcdonalds or something- I’ll look at my one-time hobbies with anger and resentment. Call me a coward, but I’m not willing to see that day, a day in which I look back at something I once loved and thought was the best thing on Earth as scum which held me back.

While I’m listing out some of my bad points, I might as well mention that part of it is laziness. Do I think I can spend 14 hours a day, seven times a week on writing and reading. If I have to be honest, the answer is a maybe instead of the enthusiastic yes it should be.

So while I love reading and writing, I’m going to let it take a backseat to other interests I have such as psychology, neurology, biology and economics when I decide my major and my career.

Advertisements

Throne of Glass: A book review

Book: Throne of Glass
Author/Authoress: Sarah Mass

Book Cover:5/5

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)            Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

I feel that the first is a more accurate representation of the book. We have a pretty but mysterious-looking girl in the foreground and a forbidding but beautiful ice city (it’s actually supposed to be glass, but it looks more like an ice city) in the background. Yes, there is some action in this book but most of this book deals with court intrigue, ball gowns and flirting instead of the hardcore action that the second book suggests. Although they’ve kind of gotten that wrong, because like any girl with long hair knows, long hair is impossible to keep down while doing anything-much less fighting. 

Plot: 3/5

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined

I had my misgivings on the plot. For one thing the names were horrible. Calaena, Dorian, Nehemia and Chaol are the kind of names you would find in a disgusting medieval love story. And to an extent, I guess this was a medieval love story but it had some twists.
Another thing that made me leave this book untouched for so long, was that it looked eerily similar to The Selection by Kiera Cass (and we all know how well that worked out). I mean, a Prince and a guard in the same castle as love interests. (love triangles- you can never escape them). I got a flashback and it definitely wasn’t the good type. But an assassin- that’s an interesting,cool premise. And a ex-prisoner? That’s even cooler!

And the mysterious murders? Something told me nothing ordinary was behind them. Yes, we have another paranormal romance on our hands here. I’d skip the romance if I could (in this book) but the paranormal in this is undoubtedly good.

Characters:3/5

Sarah Mass gets a lot of flak for creating Calenea but what we need to remember is that Throne of Glass is in first person. Yes, she may be inhumanly (that was a major spoiler for the nex book, by the way) beautiful and  good at everything-fighting, dancing, music, etc. but it’s all in Calaena’s point of view. And she’s something of an unreliable narrator. Sara Maas has created nothing close to a Mary-Sue. Calaena herself has admitted that she’s shallow and a little bit cowardly. And from her thought’s, we’re able to derive that she’s very vain and a bit of an egotist. She knows she’s pretty and she’s not too shy to use her beauty to get what she wants even if her methods may be a little bit…morally lacking. So either you really like her, or you really don’t. There’s no happy in-between. Maybe this quote from the book will help you make up your mind. Beware though, she acts like this All the time.

“Nor had she missed when they zigzagged between levels, even though the building was a standard grid of hallways and stairwells. As if she’d lose her bearings that easily.

She might have been insulted if he wasn’t trying so hard

 

Chaol is constantly on his guard whenever Calenea is around. And for the first part of the book I’m just as intrigued and annoyed with him as Calenea is. But as Calenea spends more and more time with him without slipping-up (ahem, killing someone), he starts to relax some in her presence. And then we get to know more about him and his life. He’s the strong,stoic type but his back-story (to me) is kind of boring. Maybe I let my expectations get too high, but Chaol was one character that disappointed me. 

Dorian seems to be a flirt at the beginning of the book. But he’s witty and not boring. Like all royalty in books who become love interests, he’s actually interested in the protagonist and not a stuck-up snot. Meh. I didn’t have much hopes from him so he didn’t disappoint me much. But neither did he surprise me. 

Nehemia….Ah, she’s probably my favourite character in the book. Rebellious, beautiful, mysterious, exotic and intelligent- the book might have actually gone better if she was the MC. But her friendship with Calaena was good  enough for me. Both are mischevious and get along well. 

The Villain

About 100 pages into the book, you’ll easily be able to tell who the villian is. I won’t spoil those 100 pages for you though by telling you who exactly the villain is. Just know that the foreshadowing is not subtle at all. At one point, Maas does try to steer the reader in another direction, but it’s just a ploy.

Romance: 4/5

I’m usually against love triangles but the love triangle in this is a surprisingly good one. Both guys actually have a chance and both are very different from each other. On one side we have the sweet, funny Prince Dorian and on the other we have the tough, strong leader of the Guards, Chaol. Despite their weird names, they’re actually pretty believable characters. My main problem with the romance in the book was it’s quantity. There was too much of it! Although really, I shouldn’t have let the assassin-plot fool me; This is a harlequin teen novel and I should have expected all the romance that usually comes with these books.

Worldbuilding: 2/5

For the first half of the book or so, I’m almost bored with the world. We have generic, boring lands ruled by a just as generic, boring tyrant. I start to sit up and take notice when Wyrdmarks are mentioned and so are portals. Quite frankly, the introduction of Queen Elena and the history of Ilrea just bored me. So the Worldbuilding in this just failed. It’s been a week since I read the book and I can barely remember anything about this book’s world.

Writing: 4/5

It’s in first person so a lot of people will dismiss this book after a few pages but once you got past that,the sailing was smooth.  It was a quick, breezy, fluffy read with minimal weird and awkward sentences. The banter between the characters alternaed between cute, flirty, profound and witty.

“She moaned into her pillow. “Go away. I feel like dying.”
“No fair maiden should die alone,” he said, putting a hand on hers. “Shall I read to you in your final moments? What story would you like?”
She snatched her hand back. “How about the story of the idiotic prince who won’t leave the assassin alone?”
“Oh! I love that story! It has such a happy ending, too–why, the assassin was really feigning her illness in order to get the prince’s attention! Who would have guessed it? Such a clever girl. And the bedroom scene is so lovely–it’s worth reading through all of their ceaseless banter!”   

Calaena’s internal monologue was hilarious to read too.

Plotholes:3/5

This book doesn’t suffer from plotholes. But that’s not to say that it’s perfect. In fact, it’s skewed in the other way. Everything is just so obvious. We don’t have to make great mental leaps to figure out the ending.But there were no plotholes so I am giving this book a 3/5 in this category.

Overall Rating:3.5/5

A badass heroine with boring love interests. An interesting plot premise with terrible world building. Very cool writing with very unsubtle hints. The second book was better (I know from experience) and so were the prequels (But I suggest you wait until you’re done with this book to read them. Else you’ll be really disappointed with this book. ) but I’m not rating those books. This book gets a three because I was interested enough to read the sequel but not interested enough to re-read the book.