Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 7:25 PM
Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: August 2, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Pages: 404
Source: Gifted
Rating: 2 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”
― Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world. (Goodreads)
My Thoughts
Given the hype surrounding this series, I went into Throne of Glass with high expectations. As you most likely know by now, I am a huge fan of anything fantasy, so I thought this book was a perfect Courtney read. I mean, how could it not be? There’s magic, court scandals, assassins and so many elements that should make for a wonderful fantasy! Unfortunately, it did not impress. I think if I had gone into this expecting nothing, I would have enjoyed it more, but, alas, that was not the case. Throne of Glass was a fast-paced, entertaining read, and I was never bored, but it was just way too dramatic for my tastes.

First off, there’s our protagonist, Caleana Sardothien. I really wanted to like Celeana, and I will say that she did eventually grow on me, and there were times when her snappy comebacks made me smile. Yet, for the most part, I found her conceited, prideful, and melodramatic. She was constantly worried about her appearance and obsessing over whether or not the Captain of the Guard, Chaol, or the Crown Prince, Dorian, found her attractive. I found it hard to believe that after spending a year enslaved and working in the mines, you’d be that concerned about how filthy you looked or that there’s dirt under your nails right after your release. I figure you’d be more concerned about gaining your freedom, which she does worry about but not nearly enough. I liked that she could be a warrior while also loving dresses and frills, showing you can be both kickass and feminine, but she would often lose sight of the important issues like hey, someone’s trying to kill all the Champions, including me. I should probably be more on my guard instead of dancing all night at a ball.

Another aspect of Throne of Glass that really got to me is that Caleana is supposed to be this badass assassin, the Adarlan’s Assassin. She gained this title at a very young age, and we are constantly reminded of the fact that she is a skilled fighter and has killed many people on command. Yet I found that hard to believe when we see very little evidence of her skills throughout Throne of Glass. Not only does she not assassinate anyone in this book, but there are several instances where she has no idea that Dorian or Chaol have entered the room. In fact, she is startled when she realizes they are there. How could such a famous assassin be taken unawares?

While I wasn’t a fan of Caleana’s, I thought the story line of Throne of Glass had some promise. The more details I was given, the more I wanted to know about the little pockets of rebellion forming in a world steadily being conquered by a tyrant king. I loved the political intrigue, the hints of magic interlaced with a forgotten age of magical creatures. I definitely want to know more about all of this, and to unravel some of the secrets of Caleana’s dark past. We’re given only a taste of what we will know, and it’s exasperating because I just wanted to know more!

If Throne of Glass had concentrated more on the history of Erilea, on Caleana’s past and her transformation from assassin to prisoner to contestant, I think I would have enjoyed it so much more. But the romance overshadowed everything. Despite her precarious situation, Caleana can’t help but think how much she’d love to kiss Dorian, and she goes on about how handsome he is at the same time she says he’s infuriating. What’s even more infuriating is the slow beginnings of what can only be a love triangle. Yes, there are gruesome murders going on, and a stressful competition, but nevertheless, two men are infatuated with Caleana and constantly think of her. This is made all the more readily apparent by the shifting of POV from Caleana to Dorian to Chaol. Dorian and Chaol’s POVs offer little to the development of this story, except to inform us of what we already know, that these two are utterly besotted with the assassin. They repeatedly say that she is untrustworthy, that she is hard-edged and a flight risk, yet they still give her their trust way too easily and she captures their hearts far too quickly. I can only hope that this love triangle disappears, and the romance is put on a back burner in the later books.

While I had many qualms with Throne of Glass, I still plan on reading Crown of Midnight because 1) I've heard the series gets dramatically better and 2) I'm hoping to go to a book signing in September and Susan J. Maas will be there! So I'd really like to read all of the books currently released in this series before the event. I'm hoping that Crown of Midnight delivers where Throne of Glass did not. I can see why Throne of Glass may appeal to some, but it's just not for me.


  1. Aw, it's too bad this wasn't the fantastic read you were expecting! I am really happy that you plan to read the next book though, as I do think it gets even better and there's lots more of Celaena being all assassin-y. :D I think because this is going to be a 6-7 book series, the author is taking her time in revealing more about Erilea and Celaena's past, so there is a lot to look forward to with this series. I hope you will enjoy Crown of Midnight!

  2. I agree that there wasn't enough Calaena as a tough assassin in this book. Maas really could have capitalized on that character so much more, but instead we got fluffy romance. A lot of romance. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but when you're promised hardcore fighter lady and you get Calaena, it's disappointing, you know?

    I'll definitely check up on your review of book 2, since I'm not feeling particularly inspired to continue the series, either.

  3. Whelp! Well, you're definitely not alone in this opinion. I know a ton of folk felt the same way about Celaena's character. Actually, I also disliked her initially, but eventually she won me over. I must insist that you read the prequel novellas in addition to Crown of Midnight!! I do think you get more insight into Celaena's character there and definitely lots of assassinating goodness! And I don't think you need to worry about a love triangle for very long...

  4. I wasn't a fan of this novel either--it really was so over-rated and over-hyped, wasn't it??--but I am curious about the sequel. BUT, at the same time, I've heard Heir of Fire, the third book, isn't as good again so.. :/ I'll be interested to see what you make of them, Courtney, as we basically had the same reaction to this installment: disappointing.

  5. I'm sorry to hear that you didn't love this one as much as I did, but I completely understand where you're coming from. I was very new to fantasy when I read Throne of Glass, so I honestly didn't know what to compare it to, so I was fascinated by everything in the book. If I were to re-read the book today, I don't think I would love it as much as I did. However, that being said, Crown of Midnight was phenomenal. It was far superior to the first book and I hope you will like it. I started Heir of Fire a few months ago, but for some reason, I just couldn't get into the story line. I think the author was trying to do too much and I ended up DNFing it. I will probably pick up the whole series once all 6 books have come out, but for now, I've lost my interest in this series.
    Great review, Courtney.

  6. lol this review. But don't you feel at least a tiny bit better now that you can begin following along with all the fangirls on this one? So I'm pretty sure I'm going to feel the same exact way, to be honest. So, like you, I'm pinning my hopes on book 2. But who knows? Maybe my skepticism will help me out a bit, and I'll be able to focus on the good without dwelling too much on the bad.
    Regardless, expect lots of texts/messages from me when I start this later this weekend/early next week!

  7. OK this is exactly why I haven't read the series yet. #1 is the love triangle of course, though I'm told it goes away (But then maybe there are more contenders? Conflicting reports on that) #2 is the drama and everything you said about the MC. I am very curious what you think about the next one, so I'll be following your progress. You know what's funny, I've seen many people who don't typically read fantasy fall in LOVE with this series, and many people who love fantasy, not care for these books at all. I don't know if that would be true across the board, but from my anecdotal survey, it seems to be. Anyway, thanks for this review!

  8. That's a bummer about the romance overshadowing the story. I'm all for a love story, but only if it actually adds to the storyline and isn't just there so the characters can be angsty. It does seem a little weird that she'd spend so much time worried about how she looks and men when she should be focusing on the competition. I'm interested to hear what you think about book 2!

    Also, we just started a new Friday Reads Book Club link up, and we're looking for people to link up. I'd love it if you'd link your review! We're reviewing The Way of Kings, which was a pretty awesome fantasy book.


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