Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Source: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass trilogy (Book #1)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: August 7 2013
Tagged under: 2014 read, YA-fiction, fantasy
Pages: 432
Buy at: Amazon

She's in a fight for her freedom...

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. 
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of theGuard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass - and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

Review [Spoiler-Free]

For those who are not too familiar with this series or its author, let me begin with a quick background tale. Throne of Glass originated from back in the 2000s with Sarah J. Maas posting it there  as a WIP chapter by chapter under the title Queen of Glass. It had a massive online following and was eventually acquired by Bloomsbury in 2010. In the dedication of this book (and again in the acknowledgements), Sarah J. Maas tipped her hat towards her online readers.
To all my readers from FictionPress - 
for being with me at the beginning and staying long after the end. 
Thank you for everything.
While I was a frequenter of back in my teenage years, I stumbled onto Queen of Glass too late to read it. By then, Sarah J. Maas had already taken it down so while I knew a little bit about it, it wasn't until years later (i.e. now) that I was able to pick up the book and discover what had entertained the thousands of online readers that had flocked to her story back then.

I couldn't help walk away with mixed feelings.

On the one hand, the concept of the story is certainly very interesting and easy to delve into. Calaena was sprung from her prison in the Salt Mines of Endovier on one condition - participate in the competition to become the King's Champion. Should she win against the other twenty-three competitors, all chosen by the various lords of the empire, she would regain her freedom. As a reader, you couldn't help but be intrigued by the story as each round of competition brings about its own challenges and the events in between the rounds make what appeared to be a simple bid for freedom into something more ... complicated.

In addition, Maas' style of writing creates a certain charm. I can see how it has captivated readers all those years ago and continues to entertain new readers now. It's easy to read. Calaena has a certain snark to her voice that makes all her banters entertaining. And you can't help but support her in her quest for freedom. The pages just seem to fly by while I read. It came as a total surprise today when I wrote the page numbers  down for this post because the book certainly doesn't feel like long.

However, there are aspects to the book I really didn't enjoy. For all her claims to being the best assassin prior to her capture, I saw little of it in the duration of the book. Calaena spent more time eating whatever she could get her hands on (though to be fair, she had been in prison for over a year), try out all sorts of pretty dresses, read as many books as she can get her hands on and sneak into various balls and dances. And unfortunately, since we're stuck in Calaena's POV all the time, I couldn't help but at times feel like that was what the book was all about.

Secondly, apart from the competition, little else happened! You would get hints of something brewing, little bites of something big but not much came to fruition. I do understand that this is part of the trilogy and that the action will probably come in the later books. But it felt to me as if Sarah J. Maas had come up with a plot for one book and when the publishers bought the book, she was forced to spread it across three. To paraphrase Bilbo Baggins (apologies J.R.R. Tolkien), it felt "thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread."

Overall: 3.5/5

I liked the book enough to give the second book a go and most likely, finish the series when the third book comes out. I truly respect Sarah J. Maas for what she has accomplished. From humble beginnings on, she has managed to achieve what every online writer wishes - see her name in print and share her story with readers from all around the world. While I can see the charm in her book and understand her success, there were bits and pieces that prevented me from liking the book more. 


  1. I have been curious about this series, I will have to check it out!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

    1. You should :) I feel the second book did pick up the pace and I'm looking forward to the final book coming out in September. Let me know what you think when you are done! :)