Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas Review

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publish Date: August 7, 2012
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Pages: 416
Source: Publisher
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.
Celaena hasn’t had is easy. Nor has she made her life any easier by committing the crimes she has, either. Having spent a year serving her sentence in the hard labor of the salt mines, Celaena is given an option. She can be free, but she must first serve as the Prince’s champion to become the royal assassin. She must beat some of the deadliest opponents around, all vying for the one coveted killing position that could actually grant her freedom after three years of service. Things aren’t black and white though. The Prince starts to have feelings for her, Celaena must constantly be on her toes and the contestants are being killed. Is this position really worth killing for, and can Celaena adopt the new kill or be killed mentality in time?

There has been SO much hype about this one, and you guys know how I feel about hype. I remember at BEA the line for this signing was wrapped around the exhibit hall, and trust me, I was one of those vying for a copy. Throne of Glass promises the YA crowd the trifecta – an empowering heroine, action and endless adventure and a love interest to die for. Author Sarah J. Maas had her hands full crafting a story that encompassed all of the above and still delivered the emotion we, as readers, seek. Witty, dramatic, tense and action-packed, Throne of Glass delivers heart-pounding suspense and theatrics page after page, wheeling and dealing as it spins you into its suspenseful web.

Gosh, I have so many feelings about Throne of Glass that I hardly know where to begin. Celaena was an intriguing character who drew readers in with her outward bravado and inner strength. She was a bit rough around the edges and defied expectations, demanding that people pay her the same respect that they did others. Then you have the love interests – yes, two of them Chaol has this gruff demeanor that makes me love him for his utter lack of flouncy nuances. Dorian, the Prince, however, had the prestige and honour that makes him covetable. I’ll admit, their characters were a bit riddled with clich├ęs for my taste, but I definitely found myself able to choose a side. Honestly though, a secondary character stole the spotlight for me. Nehemia represents what is often lacking in YA fiction. She’s subtly powerful, incredibly intelligent and has cunning for days. I found myself in her corner much of the novel. The plot moved at a steady, even pace throughout then ramped it up at the end, and I found myself far more invested in the story later on. I’ll admit that Throne of Glass was a bit heavy on the “tell don’t show” factor, and that lost me a bit in the beginning. I honestly was unsure how I felt about the novel until the very end because of it. Most importantly though, I think that the actions of Celaena deterred me a bit from the start because, at times, she seemed a bit disingenuous and put on, if that makes sense.

I want to absolutely love Throne of Glass because of the parallels it draws with one of my favourite series for adults (Game of Thrones). However, I find myself a bit on the fence. It’s well-written, but it’s a bit too much at times. I give it a strong 3.5 out of 5, and I know that I’m one of the few that didn’t absolutely adore this story. I highly recommend it to all YA fans, especially those who enjoy fantasy and dystopian novels.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. I really loved this book, but I can totally understand how you feel about it. It's definitely a great fantasy novel, but there is a lot more that could be done with, for & to it. I did pick a side in the love triangle though - who did you like more? :)

  2. A lot of people loved it, so I'm hardly going to bash it! By the end, I found myself invested in it, though it took a long time haha honestly, I'd have to say I'm team Chaol ;)

  3. I just finished Throne of Glass today. I have to say I agree with what you said. I had very high expectations, but the beginning was way too slow for me. Only in the second half of the book I really started to enjoy it. Team Chaol for me though! :)

  4. Yup! By the end, I was invested, but it just dragged on for a good bit first. I'm Team Chaol, too. For sure ;)

  5. Nehemia was the best character in the entire book. I want HER story, please. While I didn't hate this book, I wasn't thrilled with parts of it...

  6. This book sounds like something I would really, really love. I haven't read Game of Thrones yet either (I need to get moving on that!!) but I know that a lot of people have said pretty much the same thing.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  7. She really was, wasn't she?! I'm with you on this one, Mary :)

  8. I think a lot of people will love this one! And Lord knows I love Game of Thrones! :)

  9. I didn't fall in love with this one either. I think I just felt like there was so much going on that we skimmed the surface of EVERYTHING, never really getting deep enough into anything. I really hope that this means Throne of Glass is a set-up for the rest of the series (which I don't always love) because I, too, want to love this series, being such a fan of fantasy. I think if the author spends time developing ALL THE THINGS that she mentioned, it stands to be awesome. It just felt a tad superficial at times and I found myself a little surprised at all of the craze. BUT...that is why I dislike the hype machine so much - there is such a long way to fall. I'll definitely read book two when I can, but I think it had better start making some of the loose ends tie together and tighten up that love triangle a bit. (I couldn't choose a love interest yet.)

    I think I could talk on this one for days. I'll be quiet now. I wanted to love it, I really did. I'll read the next one with high hopes again.

    Also, I read somewhere where there are to be five additional books. Have you heard that or have I read wrong? Six is a big, lofty series - so using one book for set-up in the beginning is plausible in such a long series, if you think about it that way.

  10. If you love characters like Nehemia, you would LOVE NK Jemisin's HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS series. Lots of intrigue, immortal gods, ambiguity, magic. I'd definitely recommend.

  11. I have to say I disagreed with the review. I've read all of Game of Thrones and this book, to me, didn't come very close. I felt the characterization was very black and white (good people were good, bad people were bad - and for all that she's apparently a famous murderer, Celaena didn't make any morally ambiguous decisions).

    I felt her character was a little inconsistent. To be fair - I did start skimming after page 100.

  12. A lot of telling and not showing? Interesting! I've been really big into fantasy books lately so I'm excited about reading this. I've read mixed reviews. I like your honesty on what you liked and what you didn't. Great review!

  13. I just started this book but I must say that
    Celaena's arrogance is really annoying me.

  14. Great review! I've wanted to read this book for a very long time, but I did not really know what to expect, so thanks for clearing it up:) I'm kind of stalking all your reviews btw, they're so good :D

  15. Sweet review! I love the sound of this book! I'm glad to hear all the great things about it! Especially how the world was introduced in a special way to keep the story going!

    Cleo Rogers (Bankruptcy Lawyer Chicago)


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