Throne of Glass — Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

 

TITLE: Throne of Glass

AUTHOR: Sarah J. Maas

RELEASED: August 2nd, 2012; Bloomsbury USA Childrens

GENRE: Fantasy

AGE RANGE: NA

SYNOPSIS: When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King’s Champion and be released from prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.

And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she’d have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle—and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival—and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.

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I have been so hesitant and nervous to officially start this series, with how much I love the ACOTAR books, but after reading The Assassin’s Blade a few months ago, I was feeling just a touch more certain that I would enjoy the world, as well as Celaena’s character. That said, so many people warned me about the writing in this book not matching up to the level that SJM is at right now, that I half expected it to read quite poorly in 2018. Thankfully, while it certainly is my least favorite of her books, I still found it to be a solidly enjoyable read!

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“You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared.”

Let’s start with Celaena, who seems to be one of the most controversial aspects of the series, among fans and non-fans alike. Is she the most enjoyable female protagonist I’ve ever read? Absolutely not. She’s not even in my top 5 favorites of Maas’ female characters! She’s petty, self-centered, arrogant, indecisive, and hotheaded—but, to be fair, she reminds me of exactly what I would expect from a teen girl who has reached her level of celebrity and has worked that hard to get there. It doesn’t make her entirely likable, but at the same time, I found myself believing in her as a character and she grew on me a lot in a short period of time. I definitely think it helps that I read the novellas first, which depict her in a much better light than this book does.

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”

There is one complaint in particular that I hear a lot about Celaena: that her status as a widely revered assassin is wholly undeserved. With that in mind, I was pleasantly stunned by how capable she is, whether it’s leaping along the tops of gargoyles, scaling walls bare-handed, displaying impeccable archery skills, holding her own in fights she never should have won, or most of all, keeping her strength and spirits about her despite beatings, shackles, an abusive upbringing, and emotional trauma that would be enough all on its own to break most people. I’m rambling, but my point is that, while I fully respect anyone who dislikes her as a character, I can’t agree with the common opinion that she is incompetent.

“I can survive well enough on my own—if given the proper reading material.”

Of course, there’s a lot more to this book than just Celaena’s character! There’s a tournament element, which I’m a sucker for, and I think it’s executed pretty well—the times in between challenges can be a little bit slow and repetitive, but I appreciate the fact that I was kept interested right to the final test, whereas many “tournament” books grow stale near the end of the trials the protagonist faces. In what I consider Maas’ typical style, the fight scenes were mostly pretty glossed over, and the ones that were detailed thoroughly were less about the actions and more about the character’s thought processes. While that isn’t my favorite writing style for action scenes, I don’t really have any complaints, either.

Still, the image haunted his dreams throughout the night: a lovely girl gazing at the stars, and the stars who gazed back.

Probably one of the most interesting aspects of the book, for me, was seeing how far SJM’s romance writing has come. While I absolutely adore the way she writes romance now, and I even loved what existed in the novellas, the love triangle in this book is awkward, clumsy, and downright laughable at times—it was easily the biggest contribution to my lowering the book to a 4-star rating. I couldn’t really root much for either of the potential suitors, though I vastly preferred Chaol over Dorian from the start. There is a lot of solid banter between Celaena and both men, however, and I definitely prized the friendship she created with them both.

She was surprised that her hands had not forgotten, that somewhere in her mind, after a year of darkness and slavery, music was still alive and breathing. That somewhere, between the notes, was Sam. She forgot about time as she drifted between pieces, voicing the unspeakable, opening old wounds, playing and playing as the sound forgave and saved her.

More than anything, though—more than my bemusement with the love triangle, or the at times clunky writing, or the frustration that spawns from Celaena’s more ridiculous moments—this book continued what the novellas began, which was pulling me into a world that I desperately want to know more about. SJM just has this manner to her stories that captivates me from the start, and this was no exception. So, I’ll finish with two things:

  • If you are new to the series, I strongly recommend beginning with The Assassin’s Blade. They were the perfect introduction to the world and to Celaena’s character, the writing in them is substantially more refined than the writing in this book, and they will offer much-needed backstory to a tremendous amount of what happens in this book.
  • I am so utterly delighted that I finally picked this series up, and I positively cannot wait to see what happens next. SJM is one of my favorite authors of all time, and she definitely did not let me down with Throne of Glass!

4flowers

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21 thoughts on “Throne of Glass — Sarah J. Maas

  1. yasminereads says:

    I agree with you sooo hard! I read these before ACOTAR, and being an epic fantasy fan, I gotta say TOG is my favourite of her series. But it wasn’t until the 3rd book that I really got into it–the 180 she does from standard YA fantasy fare to epic high fantasy romance seriously blew me away. I think you’ll enjoy the others in the series much more!

    Like

  2. Scrill says:

    Great review! I can’t wait for my reread of this series before the last book. Glad you liked it!!

    And you can definitely see her grow as a writer as the series progresses

    Like

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