“Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of GlassI read this one a couple weeks ago for a variety of reasons. First, I bought it because of all the hype I heard which made me curious. Then I read it because I woke up one morning in the mood for something purple and the dusky cover of the Throne of Glass caught my eye.

Quick summary:

Celaena Sardothien, the most feared assassin is just an eighteen year old girl. A year prior to the events of this book, she was betrayed and carted off to the salt mines of Endovier to work as a slave until the end of her days. But one day Prince Dorian visits and presents Celaena with a deal she can’t refuse.

Prince Dorian’s father, the King of Adarlan, is steadily expanding his empire and wiping out all traces of magic while he does so. Magic is outlawed. The King has conquered all countries to the east of the Oakwald Forest except Eyllwe, a country to the south that is barely hanging on. To hasten his interests, the King decides to host a competition from which he will select a Champion to carry out his illicit deeds. The best criminals (it seems) are chosen to compete. If Celaena wins, she will work for the King for four years after which she will receive her freedom. With the promise of freedom in mind, Celaena acquiesces though she despises the king.

Once at Rifthold, the seat of the King, where the competition will be held, Celaena is kept under tight guard and is hardly let out, at first, expect to attend her training and visit the library. Though the Prince seems to have taken a quick liking to Celaena, the Captain of the Guard, Chaol, is wary of her at first because of how notorious she is as an assassin. However, both men quickly warm to her as they get to know her. Celaena also warms to them the more she shares their company. As her training continues, she also makes friends with Princess Nehemia of Eyllwe, who claims to be visiting Adarlan to learn its customs, and gains the ire of the Lady Kaltain, one of the prince’s many admirers who try to ensnare him.

But danger lurks in the castle. The competitors are being attacked at night with a gruesome scene left to be discovered in the morn. Meanwhile, the ghost of a dead queen visits Celaena with a task — to rid the castle of a danger. What danger? Celaena has no idea but she’s aware that it’s connected to magic. As she researches this magic and trains for the competitions, Celaena discovers that she is attracted to the prince and has grown closer to Chaol. But despite all that tempts to distract her, Celaena never loses focus on her freedom.

My thoughts: (some spoilers)

Let’s start on the surface then delve beneath: This book cover is awesome! It is so smooth. I caressed it the entire time I read. The texture is like rubber but not really since it doesn’t restrict your fingers much when you rub them all over it, which I did multiple times. OMG, I just can’t stop touching it. As for the artwork, it’s okay. I’m not impressed by it but I do love the color choices: a dusky purple with pops of cool blue with a flick of white and silver. It makes me think of winter.

Now, my reaction to the story: Meh… I didn’t see what all the hype was about; however, I was later told that most people were more excited about the second book in the series than the first so I guess I’ll have to read that one to see what’s so great about this story. Upon completing Throne of Glass, I wasn’t enthused to continue reading the series and I thought to myself that maybe I should set it aside. I mean, the story was just okay but I didn’t find it in any way interesting. I also thought it was highly predictable and from the beginning I could see a potential love triangle developing so…ugh! Love Triangles….

ugh gif

The story starts out slow, which I’m usually okay with but because I was reading this based on hype, I kept looking for the moment where the story would take me on a rollercoaster ride. As such, those slow passages took FOREVER to get past. I highly suggest NOT reading a book solely because of hype. It sours the reading experience. Not that I didn’t know this. I did but I ignored it and got hyped with the hype. Though, when the story did take off, my interest steadily grew. The plot progression was steady but not too fast. The story slowly builds as Celaena gets to know her surroundings, the people, and what has transpired since she’s been locked up — basically as the author introduces us to the characters, their relations, and how the world works; once all that was set in place, the plot speed up a bit.

wow gif

As for the characters, I think I had issues with all except Chaol. He’s my favorite. I thought the Prince was annoying and really needed to get out a bit. It’s obvious that he’s sooo bored. I think he needs an iPad. Maybe he can open a banned portal to this world and get one. My reaction to Celaena runs hot and cold. Sometimes I really admire her and other times I roll my eyes at her until I get dizzy. I do like that she’s strong, feisty, and a total bad-ass when it comes to fighting. I didn’t believe her at first when the story began since those early passages were mostly filled with angry musing along the lines of “If I get my hands on him I would….” It was a lot of tough talk with no action, but when the action came it was good. Actually, I reread Celaena’s fight scenes a few times just to get the picture of it clear in my mind. Loved them!

What annoyed me were the moments when Celaena is vulnerable or is thinking of Prince Dorian….okay, mostly the thinking of Prince Dorian parts. They annoyed me but I’m glad Maas included them to present another side to Celaena. I didn’t mind the vulnerability much but I was rooting for her and Chaol. I understand that in some ways the Prince and Celaena are similar and their conversations are always exciting but other than his looks, I didn’t see why else Celaena was interested and I’m still convinced that the Prince was bored. Otherwise he fell in love mad quick. Chaol, on the other hand, seems a bit more serious and contemplative. I still don’t understand how he became Captain of the Guard, being so young and untainted that he’d never killed someone before. Still, the tension between him and Celaena made me wonder what their relation would be like if they were to become involved.

Speaking of relationships, I found it odd that Celaena broke it off with the Prince so abruptly. What was that about? It made me wonder if Maas was keeping something from the reader; say, Celaena wasn’t that interested but was just using the Prince until she got through the competition…? That sounds likely and makes a lot of sense to me but I didn’t know what to make of it and the story ended soon after so it wasn’t explored further in this book. Obviously that story line will pick up in the second, I hope. There were a few other abruptions in the story that I can’t recall now that disrupted my reading. Most of them dealt with Celaena’s past. It’s as if those scenes began or ended with an ellipses leading to the second novel. It’s probably no fault of the author’s that reacted so to those scenes because I’m really curious about Celaena’s.

Overall: Throne of Glass is an okay story. It neither impressed nor excited me. If not for my curiosity about Celaena’s past, I wouldn’t consider continuing with the series.

Crown of Midnight (book 2) —>

(Added to the Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge)

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24 thoughts on ““Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas

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  6. I’m going to feel this book next time I go shopping, and would agree with the wintery look. Any review which begins with the feel of the cover gets top marks from me ❤

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  7. A friend of mine got this book for me and when I read it, I wasn’t all that impressed either. I actually thought the beginning of the book should’ve been the middle. I didn’t care about or believe Caelena enough as a dangerous assassin to really get into the story until about half way through. For me, the most interesting part was the end where the magic and larger plot seemed to come into play, but I’m not exactly itching to read the next book.

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    • Hmm…I didn’t consider the structure of the story. Maybe the beginning would have worked better as a reflection or something. Yea, I didn’t believe her at the beginning either. There was too much tough talk there with no action. And though I enjoyed the fight scenes, I still didn’t see her as dangerous as she’s considered in the book by the story’s end. I think she is a bad-ass but I don’t see her as “Adarlan’s assassin,” so feared that her name is whispered.

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      • Yeah, I got that feeling too. Throughout most of the book, she described herself as not being at her best and it’s just really difficult to feel that without having seen her be this great assassin. There are prequel novellas that supposedly tell that story.

        I just think the beginning of the book read, to me, like something I should be finding in the middle of the book after I’ve gotten to see this character rise to, or at least exist in greatness, then fall by being imprisoned, trying to escape, and THEN being given a deal for her freedom, which is when the book actually starts.

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        • Yea, a bit of proof would have been good, like a glimpse of that time she tried to escape the salt mines. When she discussed it with the prince in the first pages, I didn’t take her seriously.

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  8. I haven’t read this book yet, but I’ve seen it literally EVERYWHERE, so I guess I’ll have to try it eventually to see what all the hype is about. It’s quite unfortunate when books don’t meet our expectations.

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  9. I think I had a great reading experience with this book because I didn’t believe the hype. I thought there was a good possibility that I would hate it so I was surprised when I loved it.

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    • Yep, that’s the way to go: don’t believe the hype. When I was done I thought that I would of liked it a bit more if I wasn’t motivated by the hype.

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  10. Yeah, I thought that Caelana dumped Dorian pretty abruptly, but I didn’t mind because I never really liked Dorian. He came off as a bad stereotype: the bored playboy prince who’s secretly kind and just wants someone to love *yawn* I always liked Chaol better and I’m happy with how Maas is developing his relationship with Caelana, hence the reason why I’m not throwing stones yet.

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    • Yes, I don’t believe that Dorian was really in love with her, maybe more in lust than love. But I do hope Maas gives a reason for the break.

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  11. Nice review, Zezee. I like it when reviewers include what they liked as well as what they didn’t like about a story. Not everyone takes that approach.

    It’s interesting to see how mixed the reviews are for the Throne Of Glass series, especially with the first book. I haven’t read it yet myself, and I bought it not because of the hype but because fantasy is my favorite genre. But… I don’t know. I guess I’ll see what I think when I finally read it.

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    • Thanks Sara! I like it when reviewers do that too to see if their reactions are similar to mine.
      Yes, the reviews are definitely mixed. From what I’ve read and watched so far, it seems that mostly booktubers enjoyed the story, but the reaction is mixed for bloggers. I suggest reading it when all the hype passes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I might try to squeeze in Throne Of Glass this year, only because I don’t want to lose track of the unread books on my shelf. Plus, since I’m working on a YA epic fantasy, I want to “stay on top of” what’s going in the genre as best as I can. We’ll see what happens, I guess…

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  12. I didn’t really like Throne of Glass either. It started extremely slow for me (like I didn’t even start liking the book until 250 pages in!). I’ll probably read the second book eventually to see if it’s any better. If not, then I probably won’t be continuing with the series.

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    • Yea, same here. I actually thought that it’s because I expected it to be fast-paced that I thought it was so slow; but it picked up for me around the same, 200 pages in.

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  13. I read this book a while ago and I keep trying to remember if I liked it! I distinctly remember not being impressed with the second one so I didn’t continue with the series…but all of the hype is making me wonder if I missed something and need to try again.

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    • Yea, the hype made me wonder if I missed something while reading because I wasn’t impressed by the story.
      Sometimes rereading helps to make me like a story more but other times it has the opposite effect. But don’t let the hype pressure you because though it made me read this book, I think it’s part of the reason why I didn’t like the story much.

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