Book Reviews

Book Review: Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas

throne of glass

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release date: August 2nd 2012
Format: eBook
Pages: 416
Started: April 9th 2016
Finished: April 12th 2016
Rating: 3/5

Celaena Sardothien is an assassin. Well, she was. The mistake of being caught a year ago drove her to become a slave in the salt mines of Endovier. But one day, she gets summoned by Prince Dorian to be offered an opportunity: be his champion in a competition to find the next Royal Court assassin. Winning this contest would secure her freedom after four years serving as the King’s hand. But as if the contest was not difficult enough, contestants start dropping like flies. As she investigates the murders, Celaena will uncover bigger mysteries and be faced with more questions than answers.

Okay, let’s start with the obvious. Celaena Sardothien, famous around the bloggosphere to be one of the most bad-ass character that ever walked a fictional planet. Well, I am still waiting to meet her. The young woman portrayed in Throne of Glass is first and foremost vain. I love multi-layered characters. Of course, an assassin can care about her clothes, maybe even her hair (perfect place to hide a weapon). But you cannot spend half the book thinking about these. Not when you’re supposed to be killing people since you were a very young girl. A third of the story is spent reminding us she is an assassin. The best. Not afraid. A real professional. Again, where is the proof of that? Saying something doesn’t mean it’s true. And the author’s habit of pointing out there is not an ounce of weakness in her characters with one repeated sentence doesn’t help.

“-Insert name here- said softly, but not weakly.”

It is rather annoying. If you want us to believe your characters are strong and fearless, please portray them as such. Celaena only appeared to me as a lady, way too eager to get chummy with the people who are keeping her captive. Which brings me to the last third of the story: the bad-ass killer caring much more about boys than about the events occurring around her. Yes, she is young, we all know how this detail can impact someone’s attention span and focus. But when a strange man comes to bring you back to a castle where the Royal family you despise live, your first thought is not “hm, that guy is sexy.” I do not hate Celaena, I am only hoping she gets a brain more mature as the story unfolds.

A thing that is lacking in this book is subtlety. Although it did not bother me in itself, the love triangle is obvious from the beginning and the two young men in this contest are the perfect clichΓ© every assassin would fall for. Okay, I am being mean. Chaol is the sexy head of the Royal guard, a mystery man, a master of weapon and combat. Prince Dorian is a handsome reader with a heart, trying to get away from his father’s power.
I don’t dislike the two of them, some of their lines are very good and even though their actions and reactions are predictable, both are suited for their jobs in the story.

The Favorite Character award goes to Nehemia. We don’t often get a female friendship that doesn’t entirely revolve around boy talks, so it is worth noticing. Moreover, Nehemiah is a mysterious character with a sharp mind and a sharp tongue. I became more and more intrigued about her as the story evolved. I really hope she gets to appear in the rest of the series.

Special mention to the pronunciation guide set at the end of the book. I wish I had been aware of it when I started reading, because I spent the entire story calling Chaol sometimes that sounds like “coal”. The places received the same kind of treatment, the worst being figuring out how to pronounce Wyrdmarks.


I was expecting the first book to be all about the contest, but what is first described as the main event of the story slowly gets overshadowed by greater more ominous problems. Other plots come and fill what would have become boring if only the competition had been taking place. It was nice to see Celaena getting to know all the contestants through the Tests without being entirely focused on it. I welcomed the magical mystery that came creeping into the story, although I wish there had been a little more explanation, some things felt a bit overwhelming as you get introduced to a well-built world with a very complex and ancient story. I felt the balance between each plot was just right in building enough tension to serve an eventful and intense ending.

Even though this review sounds as if I had a lot of things to complain about, I am glad Throne of Glass was my key back to fantasy. I had lots of fun reading Celaena being a fool teenager evolving in a ruthless world. I am not familiar with the rules and code of fantasy but I feel the story and characters check all the right items to be a good fantasy, and I will be looking forward to reading the rest of the series.


23 thoughts on “Book Review: Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas”

  1. This series gets better as it develops (although I still rate book 3 as a bit of a blip). And, thankfully, the love triangle does not go in the direction you might expect. Looking forward to hearing what you think of Book 2 (which is still my favourite in the series so far).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed this review, you cover the faults in Throne of Glass very well and you’ve written a good assessment of Celaena’s character. I agree with everything you’ve written here.
    I would call Throne of Glass light fantasy, if you are interested in really getting into epic fantasy I think you would like books by authors like Brandon Sanderson and Brian Staveley.
    Also, thanks for including the pronunciation guide! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚ I am still struggling to find my voice when writing reviews but I managed to say everything I wanted in this one. Celaena was a good subject to work on, unfortunately for her! I will check these authors, I love discovering new things.
      You’re welcome, I struggled so much with the names that I was utterly relieved when I found the guide, I knew I had to add it in the review, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They should warn about the pronunciation right at the beginning, haha. I was so confused it took me out of the story at first. The guide sure helped, I wish I had discovered it sooner.


  3. Nice review! No one likes her character. Literally no one at all. She sounds awful. Everyone says she gets better through the course of the series, but I don’t like a man I need to fix, so I sure as hell don’t want to read a character that’s a mess, too. I can’t stand that when an author tells you how awesome a character is supposed to be instead of showing you. It’s like use actions not words to describe it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I had lots of fun writing about ToG πŸ™‚ Exactly. An author should not have to come to this to let you know who their characters are . If you write them well, readers will understand. We have brains and an imagination.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The books do get better as they go along, and Celaena gets better too. After finishing what books are out, book one feels totally separate and different than the others. Be prepared for the wild non-stop ride that is book two! That and book three are my favorites of the series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am getting more and more excited about the rest of the series as I receive comments about it πŸ™‚ They are at the top of my to-buy list. I really want to witness the change in Celaena’s character.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review! I had a lot of problems with the first book, but did feel the series got better- I’m interested to see what you think as the series goes on. And I totally agree with you about Nehemia- one of the best characters in it for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! πŸ™‚ I already bought the second because all the comments talk about how it gets better and I want to see this happening! I did not see Nehemia mentioned enough in reviews, it’s a shame!

      Liked by 1 person

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