Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Ok, you’re all going to hate me for this but… deep breath.. I was disappointed by this novel. Yes, I know it’s big, and other bloggers have practically screamed at their keypads for me to read it but maybe the hype was just too much, maybe I had to many expectations? For whatever reason, I didn’t find it that good.

For those who don’t know, the Throne of Glass series has been infamous. It has been ranted and raved about for months, bloggers and readers alike are absolutely gushing over it. In fact, I’ve heard the author has become so popular that she no longer signs books at her appearances. But for me, it was just a bit meh.

The story follows Caelena, an infamous, ruthless and most importantly captured assassin. Sentenced to a death camp, she is offered one last chance for freedom: win a competition and become the king’s champion. If she looses she dies, if she wins she does the dirty work for the man who sentenced her to death in the first place.

But as the stakes become higher in the competition it becomes clear that the less scrupulous competitors will do anything to win, which quickly begs the question: how can a player be less scrupulous than an assassin?

We all bear scars,… Mine just happen to be more visible than most” – Caelena

The novel provides a unique twist on our standard fantasy setting: tyrannical king, strong teenaged girl as the lead, and attractive and sought after love interest. Sought after by everyone but our doe eyed MC, of course, who is beautiful and modest and provides a challenge to our prince by showing no interest in him what so ever. Yawn. But the unique twist is that Caelena is bent on destroying her tyrannical leader from the start, kindling isn’t required to spark the rebellion in her and I was disappointed this was not utilised more in the plot.

I like a novel that packs a punch. Challenges a way of thinking. A novel full of twists and turns, one where the characters struggle through their problems and stumble out the other side as life long friends, learning from their hardships and overcoming long-standing weaknesses. One that leaves me reeling and desperate for more. This was not that sort of novel.

The lack of character development annoyed me. The assassin went from from a cold hearted killer to compassionate within the first chapter. The captain of the guards remains suspicious of her even when they become friends and even the prince, who claims he’s changed so much, continues to be only interested in one thing. It was disappointing to follow these characters through such an ordeal and form friendships that didn’t seem to effect their characters at all. I didn’t feel the novel challenged the characters in a way they hadn’t been before and found each character, particular Dorian, disappointing when they were given the opportunity to show they’d changed since the novel began.

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

Ironically enough the character I enjoyed most was Lady Kaitlin. She was a driven and her chapters were entertaining to read, her personality shining through the page. And her character definitely developed throughout the novel, albeit in a sinister way. Maybe I’m just a fan of the villians but I really did find her character to be entertaining to read.

A highlight of this novel was Caelena and Nehemia’s friendship. It was sweet how they built each other up and helped each other, showing a loyal and lasting friendship. Nehemia’s character was another delight to the novel. She was cunning and strong and, although her actions were often unclear, her motives were always obvious.

Names are not important. It’s what lies inside of you that matters.“- Nehemia

Pacing is an aspect this novel does well. I found there to never be a dull moment and enjoyed the action interspersed with plot development. It’s a quick and easy read from this aspect, and very light hearted. The plot was good and the element of mystery kept me guessing, which was fun.

Other than the authors over use of the exclamation mark (seriously, give it a re-read, you’ll never be able to unsee them) the writing style was good. Efficient in places but descriptive in others and very easy to read, with some very poetic moments dotted in. If you’re looking for some quotes for your wall, this novel has some great ones.

Libraries were full of ideas—perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons

Overall, I would say Throne of Glass is a good novel and an entertaining read but wasn’t very impactful. I wasn’t drawn into the plot, characters or storyline in such a way that I worried about their troubles or particularly cared for their successes. However if your not looking for something too heavy I would suggest this as a good fantasy novel.

⭐⭐⭐/5

Lets Compare Notes

Have you read Throne of Glass? Do you agree with my opinions? Have you read any of the sequels and, if so, would you recommend them? Would love to hear from you in the comments!