Monday, April 20, 2015

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, Book One
Publishers: Bloomsbury Children's
Published Date: 2 August 2012
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

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.
(summary from Goodreads)

Throne of Glass is a fairly good start to a YA fantasy series, full of magic and creepy villains...but maybe a little too much romantic and girlish whimsy.

I’m going to start by stating that I was slightly disappointed with Throne of Glass. While I liked it well enough, it wasn’t everything I’d hoped it would be. Most of that falls on Celaena to be honest. An imprisoned assassin, one the deadliest – that gives me all sorts of expectations. Celaena did not meet them. Instead I got a girl more interested in how she looked, what she was wearing, what the Prince and Captain of the Guard thought of her, and about being invited to balls. Not quite what I imagined looking at that awesome cover. I may not have had as big a problem with this if it wasn’t so much the focus of the book. I accept that Celaena is a teenager after all, thrust into the life of an assassin. I even feel for her. But as it stands, it’s kind of tedious and detracts from the better storyline – the battle to be champion and the evil murdering the contestants one by one. This is what I wanted to read, but I found it mostly glossed over and rushed through. The murders are mentioned in passing and only a couple of the tests are detailed. When they are the focus of the story though, wow. They act as glimpses into everything Throne of Glass could have been and that the rest of the series may well be. I hope! It’s proof that Celaena can be the strong, wickedly kick ass assassin I originally expected too. Maybe. How long it took her to realise who was actually murdering the contestants does give me reservations!!

Maas has the potential for some fantastic world building and an enthralling plot. The tidbits – too few though they are – regarding Celaena’s past, the King’s vicious plans, the magic of the Wyrd, the meaning behind Elena’s appearances, and the descriptions of Adarlan, Endovier, Eyllwe and such, promise an exciting and compelling fantasy series. It really is too bad they aren’t further developed throughout the novel so that we jump right into the good stuff. I did expect that Throne of Glass be simply a starting point though, considering it’s the first in a six book series, so I’m probably being more lenient than I might usually be, honestly.  I’m also keen to learn more about Maas’s characters.  Nehemia and Chaol especially, as I instantly liked them for the smart and quietly snarky characters they are. Dorian and his intensely creepy father are sure to be interesting too. Right now, I’m not a big fan of Dorian. The relationship between him and Celaena didn’t sit well with me. It felt too easy considering who they are. I love all the interactions between Chaol and Celaena however, as they’re more authentic and believable. Plus they had me grinning, which is always a plus! I want more of them, but I admit to being worried. A lot can happen in six books! 

I’ll be continuing this series to see where Maas goes with it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it becomes a solid fantasy with a more tolerable and grown up Celaena. 



  1. AW, it's a shame you didn't enjoy Throne of Glass. I personally really loved the contradictory nature of Celaena - half assassin and half girly girl - but I can understand why some people might not like it.
    Beth x

    1. Yeah, I was disappointed too. I always feel bad not loving books, especially ones that are so popular! But I've heard the series keeps getting better so I'm still looking forward to reading more.

      I know what you mean! At first I did enjoy the two sides of her, as it was a little different. But I felt that it just became too much when I wanted more of the action and intrigue of the champion tests and murders. So here's hoping I enjoy the next book more. :-)

      Thanks, Beth!