Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Welcome back everyone! This is going to be an extra special review as I have been waiting to review this book for ages! This book was given to me 2 years ago for my birthday and I have been meaning to read it for so long, and I finally just finished it. I know heaps of people that have read it, and have heard mixed reviews and comments.
Story Line (Nilou):
Celaena Sardothien is a cunning assassin who has made the fatal mistake of getting caught…
She was taken away to live a life sentence in the salt mines of Endovier. But to her surprise Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall, has offered her a deal. He wants Celaena to represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament up against some of the country’s most talented thieves and assassins.
If she succeeds, she will gain her freedom. But if she fails, she will be sent back to the death camp that is Endovier. She cannot risk that happening, as it would mean certain death. Celaena must work and fight as hard as she can for her freedom, but must also not get distracted by the many things happening in the mysterious castle….
My Thoughts (Nilou):
Well, well, well…
Let’s get this started, shall we? This book was very controversial. Before reading it I had heard lots of good things about it, especially from my friends. When I looked more into it I found many negative reviews as well. So at the starting point, I wasn’t quite sure what to think but I decided to have a very positive approach to this book.
So, keeping that in mind, I made a list while reading the book of all the things that I liked, and I took the opportunity to take out lines and quotes that I found quite good. But, I couldn’t help noticing a few flaws, and maybe even plot holes. And as any fair reviewer does, I had to check out what others were saying. So as I always do, I jumped onto Goodreads and flicked through some of the comments. There is a link at the bottom if you want to go see for yourself, and I recommend that you do.
All the negative and low star-rating reviews had good reasons to support their beliefs, and I could see where they were coming from because I’ve now read the book.
Okay, so with no further ado, let me make a list of the things that I enjoyed.
- So, first of all, at the start of the book I noticed that it was very well written. And I continued to realise this throughout the whole book. The writing style is very consistent, effective and just mainly well done. There is use of many good language techniques such as imagery and similes.
“She still remembered the feeling of embedding the pickax into his gut, and the stickiness of his blood on her hands and face.”
This line obviously created lots of emotion for the reader, and helped them decide how they wanted to view Celaena.
“Yet there was something in his eyes, strikingly blue – the colour of the waters of the southern countries – and the way they contrasted with his raven-black hair made her pause.”
I really love this line as well, and it accurately represents how well the book is written.
- The whole book had a bit of an element of mystery to it that I really enjoyed. This begun from the very first page and continued on with the story. It was very engaging and made me want to read even more. At the start of this novel, the reader is thrown into the deep end, knowing nothing at all about the world that it is set in and how it functions. We know nothing about the characters and roles or people, or why and how Celaena has landed herself in her current position. This leads me onto my next point.
- All of this mystery was finally solved by the end, and the way it was done was very good. The reader gradually gets to meet all the characters and know them better over the course of the book. The plot and characters were very well developed.
- From chapter 2 I noted that I loved the main character Celaena. She was unlike any female protagonist I have ever read about. I was so used to the stereotypical good-girl pursuing some dream or overcoming a difficult circumstance. But never had I seen the main character be such a bad-ass person! I loved it and found her very empowering.
“Here’s a lesson for you, Weapons Master,” she said, stalking past him. “Give me real men to fight. Then maybe I’ll bother trying.”
- The story was told through a 3rd person view, and I found this to be very interesting and unexpected. It took a little while to get used to because not many of the books I tend to read are written this way, but by the end it felt normal. I think it was the right way to go with this story, because it gives the author the freedom to show the reader the story from many points of view, and not just the main characters. Sometimes it’s good to have this in a story as it provides a bit of a break from the main story line and shows a whole new perspective.
- The story had a touch of humour to it that I really enjoyed, it was just the comical relief that I needed.
“You don’t care for salmon?”
“I hate fish. I’d rather die than eat it.”
“That’s surprising,” he said taking a bite.
“Because you smell like one.”
I love this in 2 ways. The first is that I relate to her so much about the fish. Fish is one of the only things that I personally refuse to eat. It was one of those moments in books where you just stop and think, oh my god that’s so true, I couldn’t agree more! And what I also loved was the humour. Obviously this book isn’t intended to be funny, but I loved the way that Sarah J. Maas manage to slip the occasional witty line in.
Now onto the things that I didn’t enjoy as much…
- The very first thing that I didn’t like about this book was the fact that I had NO IDEA how to pronounce anything. I mean, how am I supposed to say Celaena? Is it just Selena, or more complicated like ‘se-lay-na’? And I’m one of those people that hates no knowing an exact answer. So this literally killed me. I spend half the book just mentally muttering her name, until I just settled on se-lay-na. Whatever. And that’s just the main character!!! Let’s not even get started on Chaol, Nehemia, Kaltain, Erilea and Eyllwe. I think I’ve made it pretty clear to you now that this was just plain frustrating for me…
- As shown above, you can see the map of Erilea (the unpronounceable land that this book is set in 😂) and I found it so confusing. So the book started in one location and just kept moving around the place and describing all these areas as if the reader had the map embedded in their mind. I had no idea where the characters were half the time, and even when I did it took me 10 minutes to find it on the map! I just had to keep flicking back and referring to it because I felt so lost. This really was a downside and prevented me from feeling a connection with setting, it was just way too complicated to keep up with.
- There was a lot of hype surrounding this particular book, and I have to admit that I was let down. Many others have also commented on this in their reviews. Hype really can ruin a book, and this was definitely a big one for me. I recommend you read this fantastic article about hype, it just about sums it up. So yeah, I was disappointed about the overall story line and truly expected better.
- Throne of Glass was also one of those books that started off really slow. It got better near the end, but for those people that DNF books it wasn’t good. Why keep reading a book if it’s already taking way too long and you’re finding it boring and dry? There is no point in wasting your time, as you could be reading something better. Some people go off of this logic, and I do too. I always try and finish books because I think it makes me more qualified to criticise it. But not everyone is like this, and they might put it down after just a few chapters, and never give it a second chance. So if you’re this type of reader, then be warned. It’s slow, boring and dry.
- I didn’t get what I was promised with this book. Many claims were made on the back of the book that were not true. For example, she must fight in a to-the-death tournament, but to my disappointment the king clearly states that “you can win only by trapping your opponent[s] in a position of sure death … and no further“. This was a false claim and made me angry. I feel cheated in a way, is if it were false advertising. Many others have picked up on this too. We were also told that she would be fighting some of the land’s most fierce thieves and assassins. This was a little far-fetched, as I barely knew what their names were, who they were, what they were famous for and what type of person they are. This is the least that I could ask to know about these apparently ‘important’ characters. It just felt like the story was very closed in on all the main characters that Sarah J. Maas wanted to showcase. The others were mentioned once or twice, but that was it…
- Now for Celaena. I was really pleased with her character at the beginning of the book, but as it went on I started to dislike her more and started caring less about what she did. By the end I felt no sort of emotional attachment to her. It’s just that I feel like her character was developed in a strange way. At the same time we’re told that she is super bad-ass, strong and feisty, but she spends half the book complaining about tight corsets, getting out of bed too early and not looking 100% beautiful. Come on…. You just got out of being in a death camp and you’re complaining about these shenanigans? It’s like I was reading about 2 completely different girls, and it felt weird and really disconnected me from the story. By the end, all these comments she was making were just annoying and added nothing to the story. People keep referring to how silly she was and had no common sense. They said she was too up-herself, immature, unstable and a whole bunch of other stuff. I don’t think it’s very productive to personally attack her character, as this will not bring anyone anything good, but hopefully you get the point! The main thing I’m trying to get at is that her likeable character was lost quickly after the first few chapters, and she started to get really annoying after that…
- I found some aspects of the story a bit clichéd, predictable and unoriginal. I can’t really explain myself without giving spoilers, but there is one thing that I can mention. There was a celebration called Yulemas. It was a huge event with lots of excitement surrounding it. People prepare themselves for the celebrations weeks before hand. There is a big ball and children get given lollies from faeries. They go to a temple and celebrate the birth of the goddess’ son. Sound familiar? Oh yeah… that’s right! C-H-I-S-T-M-A-S. I mean come on, how much closer can you get without actually calling it Christmas? Totally unoriginal. And some of the ‘romantic aspects’ (this is me trying to avoid spoilers 😂) of the book were very predictable.
- I know it was a fantasy novel, but much of it was very confusing and unrealistic. The book kept talking about these things called wyrdmarks, and I was very lost as to what they were, how they worked, and what their purpose and function was. They kind of just appeared in the 2nd half of the book, and seemed like a thing to just make the plot more interesting or something. I don’t know what the point of it was, but all I know is that I didn’t understand it or see its relevance in any way.
- And last but not least, hitting you with the deep stuff, why was it called Throne of Glass? Would it shock you if I told you that I don’t even know what the throne of glass is? Yeah, the castle is made out of glass, but is the throne? I don’t remember ever hearing about this throne or knowing that it was even made of glass. It had nothing to do with the story line and isn’t even mentioned as playing a big role. So, what does it have to do with any of this? What’s the relevance, and why should the book be titled this? I just doesn’t make sense to me…
Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: 2012
For ages: 13-16+
Type: Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Action, Romantic and Adventure
NOTE: THIS REVIEW REFLECTS OUR PERSONAL OPINION AND ONLY OUR PERSONAL OPINION.
Goodreads comments (scroll down to find)