Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

17 June, 2014 Reviews 27 comments

I received this book for free from Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J MaasThrone of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on August 7th 2012
Pages: 404
Genres: High Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Book Expo America
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three-half-stars

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 king's 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.

It’s always intimidating to review a book so loaded by high fan expectations and low critic opinions. This book is DIVIDED, my friend. It will turn husband against wife, brother against sister, dog against cat…wait. Well, you get the idea.

So let me break down what I liked and what I didn’t like so that you can decide whether you want to read it for yourself.

I liked… Celeana. This is not a common thing, apparently.

She was arrogant, vain, narcissistic, flawed and I loved every bit of it. I loved her love of pretty dresses and candy. The girl was in a death camp ffs! She can enjoy anything she wants. I love her love of food I loved watching her make friends, I loved her blood thirsty, ragey nature that was sometimes comical. But it’s okay not to like those things. It’s easy to remember she’s an 18 year old girl and easy to forget she’s an assassin in this book. Because she doesn’t do a whole lot of any kind of murdering.

I really just needed her to kill someone…Just one person!

The plot made it hard to show off any of the best ideas about this book because it mostly revolved around the romance between Celeana, Dorian and Chaol. Something of which I had absolutely no investment at all. In fact, the narrative would SKIP over the tests and the gory deaths of people just so that we could see more of these two dudes skipping around mooning of Celeana who is, sorry, about a million times more interesting than either of them. *Cue angry fan reactions*

The plot didn’t do Celeana justice because she was always like:

And I SO wanted to believe it, but why should the reader believe these claims of how badass she is, when you can’t see her doing any badass stuff. Just a lot of prancing around and promises to kill people. Promises, may I add, that don’t get fulfilled! Can you tell I’m a bloodthirsty wench since I wanted a little stabby stabby so bad?

The writing was perfectly serviceable and most parts, I don’t have many complaints about that. I just wanted to not be bored. I wanted it so bad. But I was. Hopefully, the second book will make me fall in love.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
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27 Responses to “Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas”

  1. Jaz

    Yesss the pretty dresses thing has really divided people. And a LOT of fans didn’t like book 1 because of the lack of action but I saw the potential there. Crown of Midnight has a lot more blood so I hope you end up enjoying that (: Celaena’s one of my favourite heroines. She’s badass, just you wait and see!

  2. Judith
    Twitter:

    I’m glad you loved Celaena because she’s my main reason for adoring this series. And don’t worry, the second book (and the novella bind-up) involve a lot more fighting and blood and gore and it’s beautiful. Especially the second half of the second book is AWESOME. The rest of the series (from as far as I’ve read so far) can’t be compared to the first book, because everything is just a lot better.

  3. Anna Flasza-Szydlik

    If Cal would be a little bit more an assassin, she would be perfect. Because I love how she enjoys meals, dresses and candy, that she’s not another angsty heroine, that she’s not lurking in the corner. But reading this book, I had a feeling this was a girl impersonating real Celaena Sardothien.

  4. Alicia Batista

    I just finished reading this also, and I had the same issues with Celaena’s “badassness!” There really wasn’t NONE!! And that was a serious let down! Especially when you hear her and everyone else say how deadly she is!! Well where is it?? Did I get a dud of a book, do I have pages lost in the wind?? Because I can’t see where her badassness is!!!

    But besides that I enjoyed the story, though I wasn’t expecting it to take on such a magical side. I haven’t rated it yet, and I’m still trying to write my review, but I’m thinking it’ll probably be like yours, 3.5 stars.

    Here’s to hoping the next one shows what Celaena’s really about!!!

  5. Kate Copeseeley

    While I didn’t think there was that much lack of killing skills, the love triangle
    RUINED this book for me. RUINED. And in a lot of ways, I think this author focuses on things other than character development, to the detriment of the overall story. But the second book was way better for me.
    Kate Copeseeley recently posted…The BIC (Big Inner Critic)My Profile

  6. Natalie
    Twitter:

    My fingers are crossed because I LOVED Crown of Midnight. I felt pretty much the same as you with Throne of Glass, so…there is hope!

    There are still flaws in CoM but the book improves upon this one in so many ways. SO MANY.

    Basically, I can’t wait for you to read on.
    Natalie recently posted…The Hero of Ages – 4/5My Profile

  7. Annie
    Twitter:

    I have to totally agree – Celeana talks a lot about being a badass assassin and then does very little that’s brutal and ruthless. I really enjoyed the idea of this badass girl who loves the dresses and the balls and the candy but that dynamic wasn’t accentuated enough by stabbing and mayhem.

    Check out Death Sworn by Leah Cypess to satisfy some of the bloodthirsty wench in you 🙂 The heroine isn’t an assassin but she enters a community of assassins that do all sorts of actual killing. And also she has a short story in Changelings and Other Stories that’s very good for the bloodthirsty – at least I think so 🙂
    Annie recently posted…adventures in audiobooksMy Profile

  8. Becky
    Twitter:

    I almost agree with you about this book. I enjoyed the first book, but I think I had been reading some really long arduous book before it so to me Throne of Glass was refreshing in its predictable easy storyline, then I got hooked by the last few chapters of the book where the story hinted at interesting things happening. Then I read the second book and I was hooked. Hopefully the second book will have you hooked like it did me, but who knows. SOmetimes people just don’t liked books the blogosphere rave about it.
    Becky recently posted…Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR listMy Profile

  9. Elizabeth

    CoM has a really epic slaughter scene in it if I recall haha. You should really, really, REALLY read the novellas before you get to CoM though – I think a lot of the things people were upset about in ToG make sense when they read the novellas. Which incidentally read like a full novel and are essential to the plot/character development. It’s the first time I’d ever read novellas as I usually assume they’re just fluffy extras – these aren’t. And CoM….oh my GOD! I really liked ToG, but CoM manages to be like 1000x better.
    Elizabeth recently posted…Monday Musings: LGBT in BooksMy Profile

  10. Tabitha (Pabkins)

    You freaking crack me up Kat – I get the feeling I’m going to like her. Plus you like candy and pretty dresses too don’t you *wink wink*

    I get the feeling this series is very much about the romance. I have stayed away from much of the hype because I plan to read the books and didn’t get in on them like so many others did at the start. Hey you are are late comers haha. Anyways yeah I’m of a mind that I might have a similar opinion as you. Where’s the badass killing – I want to see some death!!
    Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Review: Feather Bound by Sarah RaughleyMy Profile

  11. Morgan
    Twitter:

    I definitely see where you’re coming from, I felt the same way in certain respects. Throne of Glass was good but not great to me and Celaena did seem too frivolous at times. However, like I’m sure all of the other comments say, Crown of Midnight is a whole other ballgame. Celaena is BADASS and awesome (mixed with her less-obvious-this-time-around frivolity) and the story itself is much, much better. The love triangle doesn’t feel so intrusive to me and there is lots of action. I think you should try The Assassin’s Blade as well- even though it is five separate novellas, it reads like a single novel and really sheds some like on Celaena and her world. It was really good 🙂

  12. Anya
    Twitter:

    YES! I’m with you, I liked parts of Throne of Glass, but had a hard time really believing Celeana could be so amazing at assassinating stuff >.> Apparently the prequel novellas help this a lot? I bought the pretty bound edition of them, so I’m going to try reading those before I jump into Crown of Midnight 😀
    Anya recently posted…Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR {2014}My Profile

  13. Lyn Kaye
    Twitter:

    You are not the single person in the pro-Celaena group, Kat. I voiced my disapproval by putting her on my Most Annoying character list and caught some flak over it.

    I have to agree that it isn’t a bad thing to like ball gowns and candy. I am glad to see that she has some humanity left. I just couldn’t buy that she was some top notch assassin. I had to take everyone’s word for it. I was told instead of shown how “great” she was.

    I’m glad it worked for you. Many of my friends stated that book 2 is a huge improvement and that it will help cement my relationship with her after I read it.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR listMy Profile

  14. Natalie Monroe
    Twitter:

    I’m so glad to see I’m not the only one who isn’t swooning over this series. I could buy her love of ball gowns (it’s actually a nice thing), but not her incompetence as an assassin.

  15. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    The plot is pretty much build up in this book and the real action starts in Crown of midnight 🙂 (You can also see some of her badass moves in The assassin’s blade) I’m happy you liked Celaena, because I’ve seen some people who have problems with her. I personally love her flawed personality!
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Top 10 Tuesday 33. Summer TBR pile.My Profile

  16. Terri @ Starlight Book Reviews

    Throne of Glass was so mixed for me. I liked Calaena sometimes and not at other times, and like you mentioned, she doesn’t do very much to shore up my impression of her as a “fearless assassin.” She doesn’t even check rooms before bouncing into them! I will say though that Crown of Midnight RIDICULOUSLY improved my opinion of Calaena, her skills, Chaol, and Sarah J Maas as a writer. It was so much stronger in every single aspect and now I’m practically dying for Heir of Fire to come out.
    Terri @ Starlight Book Reviews recently posted…Review: “Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend” by Katie FinnMy Profile

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