Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass
Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, #1
Release Date: August 7th, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Number of Pages: 416
Rating: 3 of 5 stars

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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 kings 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 don't like high fantasy. At all. I don't like how the plots all seem similar to me. I don't like how the worlds - no matter how detailed they might be - seem similar to me. I don't like how I can barely pronounce half of the character's names. I don't like the general feel I have when I'm reading a high fantasy novel.

With all of that being said, I am genuinely surprised I enjoyed Throne of Glass as much as I did. In Throne of Glass, young, and incredibly notorious assassin, Celaena Sardothien, is being released from her title as a prisoner in the Endovier mines to take part in a competition in which she versus some of the most feared assassins and killers in the kingdom. Should Celaena win the competition, she will be free from Endovier forever, only having to work as the king's personal assassin for four years, after which she's a free woman.

Throne of Glass and I didn't get off to the best of starts, but high fantasy novels hardly ever do (and they hardly ever end well either). I found the fantasy tropes and cliches to be annoying, Celaena to be not as amazing of an assassin as she proclaims herself to be (but more on that later in the review), and the presence of an insta-love filled love triangle, and the similarity to The Hunger Games to be alarming. And in the end, I still do find all of those things to be true about Throne of Glass. But that’s not it: I also found the mystery to be incredibly predictable, the red herrings easy to spot, and Celaena to be a pretty much unlikable character throughout the first half of the book.

So why did I end up giving Throne of Glass three stars, even with all of those glaring flaws? There’s something about this book - something strangely alluring and unputdownable about it. Something that I only realized the book had shortly after I crossed the 50% mark. I don't know what that particular something is about Throne of Glass; whether that something is the incredibly fun and interesting mystery (and I do use 'mystery' loosely), or just the curiosity on how everything will work out in the end (although I think we all knew how it would have ended up), there was definitely something about this book, and that something made me end up liking it.

No, I didn't like Celaena very much throughout the first half of Throne of Glass, and even at the end of the book I had a blurred opinion of her. She constantly annoyed me how she bragged about how amazing of an assassin she is, especially at her age, yada yada yada, but Maas never provided us with a scene that would show us if Celaena is as amazing of an assassin as she proclaims herself to be. And at times, Celaena would brag on and on about how amazing she is, and how much she's accomplished (and I'm just thinking that she needs to shut up, or it will only result in me mourning over my broken Kindle), and then a few pages later she'd completely contradict herself. For example, she'd go on and on about how amazing and tough she is, and then she'd complain about how her wet shoes hurt her feet. Then, another time, she'd (once again) continue to talk about how badass she is, then she'd complain that her stomach hurt and throw up*. Then, she'd (once again) bask in her awesomeness and badassery (that apparently only she is aware of), and then she'd shriek in joy at the mere mention of candy, and as well as that, people are constantly sneaking up on her. Given the "most amazing assassin EVAR" title she gives herself, one would think someone wouldn't be able to sneak up on her so easily. *sigh* Okay. /rant. Now, what I did like about Celaena was her wittiness, and most of her witty dialogue is entertaining. I'm not sure what happened to Celaena throughout the latter half of Throne of Glass that made me have a slight change in heart towards her, though tt could be that she just wasn't as full of herself throughout the second half, or I was just able to tolerate her at that point. Either way, in the end, my opinion of Celaena - while a bit hazy - is not complete and utter dislike. It's somewhere in the middle of me tolerating her, and liking her.

The two love interests of Celaena, Captain of Guard Chaol Westfall and Prince Dorian, were like any other love interest we see way too much as of late in YA. They're both incredibly handsome, powerful, and strong, and both take an instant liking to the equally as perfect Celaena Sardothian. My opinion on both of the love interests is certainly not gushing, but not pure hatred, either. They're not the typical asshole love interest that's common in YA, but they are both two dimensional, and lack any sufficient amount of character development for me to go crazy over them, or for me to care which one Celaena chooses to end up with. However, I did find both of the love interests to be very likable, but I prefer Chaol over Prince Dorian. All of the other secondary characters (that we're supposed to like) are likable as well, especially Princess Nehemia, who I had a strong liking to by the end of the novel.

As well as that, the world-building just isn't good at all when compared to other books in the genre, and there's certainly a lot to expand on in the next book. While I do realize this review is incredibly critical for a three star rating, I found Throne of Glass to be wildly entertaining, for reasons unknown. I will be back to read book two in the series, and probably the novellas, too. Even though this book is most definitely not without its flaws, it managed to make me, a self proclaimed (but it's true - unlike when Celaena proclaims herself to be badass) fantasy-phobe, end up liking it. I don't know what you did, Maas, but I take my hat off to you in writing a high fantasy novel that I liked.

*Seriously, how many times did Celaena throw up, or at least feel the urge to throw up? I lost count.


  1. Great Review. You know I wasn't a huge fan of this book either. But you must read Poison Study. It will help erase all neg feels this book has left behind. Promise!

  2. Thanks, Amanda. I'll go check out Poison Study now, thanks! :)


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