Throne Of Glass – Sarah J. Maas

In Reviews by Nya11 Comments


Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament – fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

I am giving this book 2.5 stars (and 3 stars on websites that do not accept half stars), because 70% into the book, things began to get interesting (the premise was good too, but that’s it). Also, overall it’s an easy & fairly entertaining read – consider this confession as the confession of a guilty pleasure. I can see why people like it, and I can see the book’s commercial appeal. Unfortunately, all of this was not enough to make me a fan or make me want to continue the series (I rarely want to continue series that are longer than a trilogy in any case).

Am I disappointed? Yes, but mostly because I have heard so much about the book, and I was expecting something amazing. In case you’re wondering, yes, I think there are books out there that live up to the hype. For me, this is not one of them.

The Characters & Points Of View




I am sorry, but for me, Celaena is not just a strong female protagonist. She is a Mary Sue. Pretty, plays the piano, reads, fights, “one of the boys” but girly at the same time (“when she was free . . . she could buy all the clothes she wanted”), has more than one love interest (and it’s not even a subtle reference). What are her flaws? What makes Celaena feel real and genuine? And please, do not tell me she had a terrible past, because it only reinforces the fact that she doesn’t have specific flaws! I am not “hating on” Celaena, this is “indifference” – because hate is actually good, it means the characters make you feel something. I feel nothing for Celaena. Where’s this character’s depth?

Ok, it’s great that she has all those enemies and there’s all that conflict going on – Cool! Because, of course, she’s “perfect” (and I mean it). So you really, really have to drug her or summon demons or I-don’t-know, but it has to be something out of her control, because otherwise you don’t even have a real chance against her “skills”.
And speaking of skills, less telling and more showing: Apparently, she has got some amazing skills, being the “best” assassin and all, but even if these are mentioned many times throughout the book, they are rarely (or never) shown. Most of the time, she doesn’t even act like an assassin.

Another reason why I think I haven’t connected that much with the character was due to unnecessary points of view. Do not get me wrong, I love other character’s points of view when they are relevant, but in this case I didn’t see the need for that. Why do we need Kaltain’s POV? Wouldn’t it be much more interesting that we’d discover Kaltain’s plans through Celaena’s eyes? Why do we need to know how Chaol or Dorian feel about her? Wouldn’t it be more interesting to be left wondering? I feel it would make a big difference for me if this book only had Celaena’s POV and no one’s else. Plus, it’s pretty obvious that she is the main character and everything revolves around her. It’s not like a High Fantasy story with focus in many different characters and nations. So, really, why do we need other character’s POVs? To reinforce the fact that everything revolves around her?

The love triangle (I am not even considering this a spoiler because it’s obvious from the very beginning) is not only predictable but shallow (I know, it’s YA and all, but still). That last bit in the end, when she ‘gives up’ one of her love interests? My thoughts were: Ok, she’s disregarding this guy so she can have a taste of the other one.

And the worst of it all? It’s that this love triangle & peculiar romance didn’t feel as a sub-plot but rather the main focus of the book. No wonder I was so excited when other stuff started actually happening.

I actually thought that Kaltain and Nehemia were more interesting characters. Their backstories could have been developed into interesting sub-plots should they have been explored properly.

The Plot



Apart from a few twists, I thought the plot was pretty basic and predictable. This could be related to the fact that Celaena is “perfect” and I couldn’t consider the possibility that she could be in real danger, at any point in the story.
The “almost” sub-plots: the King, the duke, Kaltain, Nehemia, all had potential. I wanted to see more scheming, more betrayal, more action. Probably this is all going to happen in the next book and I will feel sorry for not giving this series another chance but, well, this is officially Volume 1, it’s the same chance that all other series have.

The Writing Style

Even if the writing style contributes for an easy read and a good pace (let’s start with the positive), there were several things about it that I disliked.
Positive: short and sweet, overall style is faithful to the tone of the characters’ POV: young, informal.

First, the author has the (bad) habit of describing emotions by describing people’s eyes. “eyes shone with amusement”, “eyes held mere curiosity”, “glimmer of amusement in his eyes”, “pity in his eyes” and other emotions like: anger, disgust, pain. All in their eyes. I wish I had this ability to know how people feel by simply looking into their eyes. I know what she wanted to imply but it was a bit too much, in my opinion. When these emotions couldn’t be read in the character’s eyes, we would have descriptions such as “amusement gone”, “anger bubbled”
And worse when all these emotions, several times, are about other characters, not the character’s POV: “disappointed, the soldiers returned to their meals”. This and other type of sentences such as “She had lied, and Chaol knew it” mess up the POVs and make the character feel omniscient.

Dialogue tags, the author refused to keep them to the basics (‘he said’, ‘she said’) so we have many others and, most of the time, followed by an adverb with no purpose. Action tags between dialogue were not great either.

There’s a lot of inner monologue, and I feel most of the information is revealed through inner monologue by using different character’s POVs.
Apart from that, there’s also some “info dump” in form of dialogue.

Transitions in time were awkward, sometimes even abrupt. “A few minutes passed” and nothing else between scenes, for example. And speaking of abrupt, the romantic climax was abrupt and uninteresting too.
These transitions can be also connected to vagueness. The most obvious example was here:
“And then Perrington smiled, and finally told her everything. When Perrington finished . . .”
Everything, really? Everything what? Ok, you know, we know, but the character doesn’t.

You probably think I am being picky, but it’s a best-selling book we are talking about!

Note: As always, all of this is only my opinion and it reflects my personal reading experience.

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  1. Bibliobibuli @ The Book Tales

    This is a helpful review! I’ve often wondered whether I should read this book or not. I’ve seen good reviews on Goodreads, but when I see the cover, I think, “Is this the story of the nearly perfect young female assassin who has a terrible past and has two guys fighting over her?” By your review, I’d say, pretty much. Nothing wrong with that alone, but there’s too many out there, and what you wrote about her being a Mary Sue and showing more about her…. Flawed characters are beautiful. Not flawed in their appearance or history, but in their personality, in their values, in their attitude…

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for your insightful comment, and I am happy that my review was helpful:) I completely agree with you, there’s nothing wrong with this type of plot, but I’d rather characters with more complexity.

  2. Kimsiang @ TheSpinesBreaker

    I’m a big fan of this series but I did agree to what you said! I totally understand your problem but the books really got better as you continue on! Lol I sounded like I forced you to read it, it’s okay if you don’t like it! Anyway, Awesome review! 😀

    1. Nya

      Thank you a lot for reading, and I am glad that you liked the review:)
      I understand some might like it and others not. But yeah, many people have been telling me the same about the other books, but I just can’t get over the fact that Sarah had to get me into the series during her first volume (officially, because there are the prequels too). So it’s a shame, really, that readers could give up on the series before it gets to the good part.

  3. Lori (Books o' the Wisp)

    Thank you for this HONEST review! I too felt a lot of “indifference” towards Celaena and have been silently frustrated by how many people think she’s a strong, positive female protagonist when she’s the same as everyone else, except we are expected to believe she is some magnificent assassin.

    That being said, the book getting good around “70% into the book” did inspire me to keep going (especially with the lowly priced Kindle edition available) and the second book is so much better. If there’s one thing that can be said about Sarah J. Maas, given my experience so far, is she knows how to end her books strongly.

    I respect your decision not to read the next books in the series, but I do wish you would just so I could see your reactions! Lol.

    1. Nya

      Thank you for reading it!
      This first book did have an attractive price tag (at least when I bought it), but the others not as much, and the fact that there are so many of them is not helping either! Some people have been trying to convince me of the same, so, who knows, maybe one day . . . I do have ‘A Court Of Thorns and Roses’ by Sarah J. Maas to read too, so I will probably get to that one before.

      1. Lori (Books o' the Wisp)

        I too have A Court of Thorns and Roses in my possession! I picked it up at the library last week, so it’s a top priority read this weekend. Hopefully it doesn’t become a DNF…I don’t love setting down books unless they really, really deserve it.

  4. Clayton the Page Turner

    But tell me how you really feel? 😛 Thank you for the review, I kept seeing everyone go GAGA over this thing, but the instant I saw the words Mary Sue and “perfect” I went and NOPED right outta there. I can’t stand that sort of thing.

    1. Nya

      I know right! I admit I was very curious and had lots of expectations because I kept reading about it. But well, it’s my opinion, for what it’s worth. Others might enjoy it. I still have another book by Sarah J. Maas which was Kindle Daily Deal or something too. I intend to read it at some point, so this is the proof I am not giving up on the author, only on the series.

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