Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

13519397Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury in 2012
Pages: 404

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Rating:  photo two stars_zpsbcb0mxir.png

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 read this book as a read-along with Trang, Lora Shouse and Luke Taylor. It was a lot of fun, I love discussing a book as I read it and I’ve had this on my tbr for ages. 

I have a lot of thoughts on this book. I’m not sure I’ll remember to mention everything but I’ll try. 

If you read my discussion post (link above) you already know that I knew what to expect when I started reading the book. For instance I knew it focused more on romance than action. So I didn’t go into this with very high expectations and that way I didn’t end up being disappointed even if I only ended up giving it two stars. I wish it was better, but it’s exactly what I thought it’d be. Let me explain. 

Okay, so my main problem is the imbalance between the romance and the action/world-building. I knew this when I started, but it still bothered me. According to the synopsis, this book is about a dangerous tournament. And sure, the tournament runs through the entire book, but it’s more like background noise. The foreground noise is Chaol and Dorian and Celaena, throwing longing looks at each other and talking about how pretty they find the other person. Yawn.

There’s also a lot of descriptions of clothes and overall just very cheesy descriptions. Like this: “His sapphire eyes reflected the brilliance of the sky”

………. Yikes. 

And a lot of unnecessary epithets. Such as referring to Celaena as “the assassin” all the time, especially when it’s from her POV. We know that’s what she is, thank you, we don’t need to be reminded. I hate epithets with a fiery passion, it’s even worse when I see them outside of fanfiction. Stop. 

Plus, Kale Chaol is a boring piece of pretty cardboard whose function in the plot is… nothing, except to be jealous of Dorian for getting with Celaena. Dorian isn’t much better, he doesn’t do anything either except fall in love with Celaena, but at least he developed a personality (Chaol didn’t). If I have to pick a “team” then I pick Team Dorian. But I’d much rather be Team Nehemia, because that scene where she kissed Celaena’s forehead and gave her a new name was really cute and it made me smile more than Celaena’s scenes with Dorian. This relationship is a lot better developed as well. 

So in between all this sexual tension and jealousy, we get three pages here and there from the tournament. Sometimes just a few sentences that mention what kind of test they had. It’s an afterthought. 

Still, this isn’t what bothered me the most, though it did get on my nerves. Okay, scroll up and read the synopsis. Then read it again. What does it say? “Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament”. To the death. To the death.

Ehhhhh no. This fools you into thinking we’re going to see some violent hunger games-like fighting where the champions have to kill each other, or tests so dangerous that only the best survive. The tests in this book include things like very dangerous archery, where they shoot at… targets. O m g I’m on the edge of my seat wondering who’ll hit bull’s eye!!! And then there’s also the very scary drink-from-the-cup-you-think-is-the-least-poisonous test, but don’t worry, if they drink from the wrong cup they get the antidote right away so it’s totally safe! Even the Triwizard Tournament is more dangerous than this and it’s not advertised as “to the death”. 

To be fair, Celaena must either win the competition or go back to the death camp where she’ll surely die, but there’s nothing suspenseful about this as the reader knows she’s going to win, because we’re not idiots. 

Surprisingly enough, there’s another background noise, namely something in the castle is killing off the champions one by one. Is this meant to be the “to the death” part? The synopsis doesn’t even mention this and it’s a pretty big part of the book, even bigger than the tournament, which seems to just be there to give all the champions a reason to be in the same place at the same time. So this part of the book is quite intriguing at times (though anti-climatic in the end). Champions are found bloody and mangled, but who or what killed them?  Unfortunately this isn’t explored as deeply as I’d like either, like the tournament it’s more like “oh by the way, another champion was murdered last night. It was gross. Moving on!”

I didn’t absolutely hate this book though. It didn’t bore me to tears while I read it, it did have a certain entertainment value here and there (though it wasn’t very high). I will read Crown of Midnight. I’ve heard from reliable sources that it’s a lot better. 


The ghost of Elena annoyed me, it was too convenient. Though I’m sure she’ll have a function to the later books, I bet Celaena is related to her or something. Though if she is then wow, way to make things predictable. 

And stop naming all the bad guys Cain/Caine. The whodunit isn’t really hard to guess when there’s a guy there named Cain.

kidnapping books

What do you think of Throne of Glass? Do you think the books get better from here? 

Thanks to Trang for organizing this read-along! 😀 

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21 thoughts on “Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

  1. Combustible reviews says:

    Oh, wow, I am in no way EVER reading this. Thank you for doing so, so that I don’t have to. It sounds like the Author liked her characters too much and couldn’t bare to let anything happen to them.

    And, wow, the romance taking over the action? No, thanks. Great review.


  2. Sara @ freadomlibrary says:

    This hurt me to the depths of my soul but mostly because it made me laugh. I feel like synopsis end up ruining books for a lot of people. I wish it were more like date with a book, just a few words and the general genre and five right in. I agree with a lot of the things you said and spoke about them in my review but like I told you before, I feel like reading the novellas first changed my perspective going into the first book. I hope you enjoy Crown of Midnight more because it’s definitely better

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anette @ Anette Reads says:

      Haha, well I’m glad I could make you laugh! I know negative reviews about books I love hurt my soul too. You might be right about the novellas, however I think that if a book is only good if you look at it together with a set of stories published after then it’s not a very good book. It should be able to stand strongly on its own. That’s just me though, I’m glad you enjoyed it more and I wish I did too! Hopefully I’ll agree that CoM is better 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maria says:

    Great review and wonderful GIF choices!! I have been so on the fence with this series. The fan base is so passionate, but I don’t know if I can handle more love triangles. This review makes me both wary and excited to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anette @ Anette Reads says:

      Thank you, haha! I think it’s worth it just to know what everyone’s talking about tbh LOL! That’s mostly the reason I wanted to read it, plus I’m curious to know if it really does get so much better like everyone claims. Hmmmm.


  4. Eve Messenger says:

    I enjoyed Throne of Glads so much, but I have to agree, the “assassin” epithet was so disconcerting. My favorite part of this book was the friendship between Nehemiah and Calaena. The two guys were a pleasant side note.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. transhaan says:

    HAHAHAH GURRRLLL DUMBLEDORE GIF ❤ OH THAT KILLED ME. IThe so-called DEATH tournament…is a frkn joke.. Like the only deaths are the murders (and its not even a part of the actual tournament BAHA) I absolutelyyy LOVEE your review !! Surprisingly I agree with all the points you mention here and ESPECIALLY TEAM NEHEMIA. YAS. Maybe I should have gave it 3 stars HUMM LOL (since we have more bad things to say than ACTUALLY good things to say)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reg | She Latitude says:

    Compleeeetely agree with your points. I didn’t enjoy Throne of Glass that much, though I did read on the series and liked Crown of Midnight (the second book) better. 😛

    I actually gave ToG one star, haha, though my main problem thought was generally that Celaena was too perfect and it kept being pushed into my face. We get pages and pages of description about her beauty, her looks, her dresses, etc. It just overall felt very wish fulfilment-y, if that makes sense.


    • Anette @ Anette Reads says:

      Celaena’s personality didn’t actually bother me that much, that’s why I didn’t really mention it in this review. Though I did touch upon it in my read-along discussion. I thought there was too much description of everyone’s beauty tbh XD And yeah, it bothered me that we were reminded constantly of how talented she is, it was a bit too much ‘tell’ and not that much ‘show’. Glad to hear you found Crown of Midnight better, that gives me hope 😀


  7. Kelly says:

    Hahaha love the Dumbledore gif! I haven’t seen too many reviews of this book that aren’t completely gushing about the awesomeness of it, so it’s nice to see one that points out that it isn’t perfect. I haven’t read it yet, and I think the whole super romance thing kind of turned me off of it…also I noticed you pointed out the descriptions being a little…well…ridiculous at times. I do own the first three books and the novellas, so maybe I’ll get to them eventually, haha


    • Anette @ Anette Reads says:

      I have several goodreads friends that rated this 3 stars or lower, so I’ve seen plenty of other negative reviews on it, which is good because I don’t think you should go into this book expecting to be blown away. Though all of them say the series gets a lot better from here, so you might want to give at least the first two books a try, I know I will! 🙂


  8. healed1337 says:

    It’s an interesting story in theory that focused on the wrong things. Too much romance for a plot about an ex-assassin fighting for her freedom, while dealing with some sort of magic mystery in a world where magic is banned. I felt that the book is good enough to at least give the second book a chance at some point, but I probably won’t be re-reading Throne of Glass any time soon.


  9. Ashley says:

    Love your review and gif choices!
    I really did not enjoy Throne of Glass as much as I thought it was.
    There really was a whole lot of nothing going on for the most part.
    The competition was pretty dumb, like you said, I was expecting some Hunger Games type fighting to the death.
    Everyone swears the series gets better, so eventually I’ll pick up the next book. I’m not in any rush though.


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