Book Review – Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas – 4 stars

Book Review – Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas – 4 stars

Warning: Some reviews contain spoilers. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There are some dark themes, on page torture, flashbacks to abuse, and mentions of sexual abuse, so a trigger warning is required.

I’m going to start with non-spoiler thoughts on the entire series then dip into each book. Generally, I loved the series, mainly following the characters’ journeys and their highs and lows. Lots of lows, but the highs were just as good. I cried a few times. One scene especially (no spoilers but it wasn’t one of Celeana’s) in the final book hit me hard. I don’t often cry in books and haven’t with any of her others, so this said something about how much I’d invested emotionally. I also loved how things pieced together over the series as more characters filled in gaps and joined the story. 

But… I found the latter books a bit slow. The scenes dragged way longer than I had the patience for by that point. I get the idea was to build tension, and it did, but then I just got bored and wanted to skip, which ruined the tension building. I think there were too many POVs by the end that overloaded me and sometimes confused me as to whose POV we were in. Some could be cut and told to a POV character and some could be easily shifted to another. 

Either way, I loved this series and would recommend it to anyone who likes big adventures and emotional journeys but be prepared for an epic ending and the words to go with it.

Throne of Glass 4 stars

This book revolved around a competition where Celeana, an assassin who was captured and enslaved in a mine for a year, could win her freedom. But she has to face the man responsible for her parents’ deaths along with present deaths that create problems for her during the tournament.

This book didn’t grab me in the earlier pages. It’s a mixed pace, which I tend to prefer, but not when the start is so slow. It was worth it when the bigger story began and we started to see the beginnings of a mystery.

What I liked…

I love Celeana. She’s a feisty character with a complicated history. She’s a little prickly but after what she’s been through, but she has reason to me. 

The two male leads Chaol and Dorian are an unlikely pair for friends but make for an interesting dynamic. Chaol is all about duty while Dorian will do anything to avoid it, including sneak about with an assassin.

Celeana starts off pretty pathetic on the physical abilities front and has to train a lot with Chaol to help her win the tournament. I love seeing the change and I love how realistic it all is, including days when she’s unwell because of her period. It doesn’t get more relatable for female readers. 

What I didn’t like…

I think there are too many coincidences that make no sense. I’m on board with a fake reason for now, or the characters musing about plausible reasons that end up being wrong, but I get annoyed when things magically happen. 

Celeana discovers a lot that just creates more questions, and the one person who can answer is super shifty. Again, as a reader, I needed something to work with on that front even if it’s a lie or the shifty character is spelled not to give specifics. 

Final thoughts…

Despite the dark themes sprinkled about, the story is a fun read with interesting characters, an exciting plot, and lots of mysteries for us to unravel.

Crown of Midnight 4 stars

Celaena won the tournament to become the King’s Champion and is back to being the assassin she was before she was enslaved. But just when she thinks she can get on with her life, at least for now, more dark and twisted magic starts causing havoc in the castle.

What I liked…

More magic creeping about. We thought it was over, but the wyrd marks are just the beginning.

I loved the new characters to spice up the story and create tension and distrust while encouraging the existing characters to question their true loyalties.

The tension between Chaol, Dorian, and Celaena was fun to read. I don’t mind love triangles if they’re written well. 

I love that the characters are forced to make hard decisions and sacrifice to spare others. And not a significant spoiler, but Chaol’s personal sacrifice to keep Celeana safe was especially meaningful. 

What I didn’t like…

I did NOT like when I found out Celaena’s big secret. It was super vaguely hinted at once or twice, but 2 whole books??? Sorry, but I hate when characters keep secrets from the reader. A short time is fine for a bit of suspense, but almost 2 books, and we had no idea.

I honestly think books 1 and 2 could have been combined with some minor sacrifices. I read a lot of long books, but this didn’t quite feel like I got my time’s worth in that sense.

Final thoughts…

Settle in for the long, long, long haul, but it’s worth it for the characters. Their personal journeys are too much fun to give up on, and I couldn’t wait to see what Celeana does next.

Heir of Fire 3 stars

I felt like this was where the real story began, and books 1 and 2 were more like build-up. At the time, it didn’t feel that way so they were worth reading. But now Celaena is out of the king’s grasp and can do whatever she wants. So she gets drunk and eats garlic bread on a roof. Sounds like a plan.

Incoming old AF broody fae male to bring some real badass magic to the mix and make Celeane feel even more guilty for the past ten years. 

What I liked…

I loved that it wasn’t easy for her to tap into her powers. We followed her struggles both magically and emotionally as she faced pieces of her past to keep her promises.

Rowan was definitely a nice addition to spice things up with Celaena, not romantically, but he challenges her at every turn. I love that since she can be a little bratty. I’m okay with a little brattiness after all she’s been through.

Manon. I loved her. She’s my favourite character in the series, and I found myself more interested in her story and loving Abraxos. He’s like a big scaly cat.

I like following more of Dorian and Chaol without Celaena. They feel more like independent characters in this book. And their ending… super tragic.

I also love how Celaena’s cousin is now in the story and discovering what he’s been up to in the ten years since Celeana’s parents died. 

What I didn’t like…

Again, I feel like some bits were a slog. Character-wise, they were interesting, but they were too often and made the story feel slow.

Her discoveries felt too random for my liking, and I would have preferred some connection at least even if it was unclear. I don’t know. Just… puzzles are fun, but when you can’t see pieces with at least the same colours, you begin to lose interest. 

Final thoughts…

As far as characters and fun goings-on, this is another great instalment in the series. But be prepared to wait for it all to make sense. Long haul, remember. 

Queen of Shadows 5 stars

Having mostly mastered her fire and the shift, Celeana is now going by her real name, Aelin. She’s back in RIfthold and meeting up with Chaol who now knows who she really is.

What I liked…

Things start to make more sense now as characters meet up again. I love the reunions, some emotional, some crazy, some full of resentment. Lots of character dynamics to process.

Manon starts showing her soft side with a new character, and I love their story along with Kaltain’s. It’s all so interesting to read about characters from book 1 or characters from Celaena’s past that we haven’t met before.

Everything moved nicely in this book and felt more satisfying in plot/character/worldbuilding balance.

What I didn’t like…

Nothing jumped out at me in this book. 

Final thoughts…

Definitely the best so far and worth the wait to get into the real grit of the bigger story.

Empire of Storms 5 stars

All the characters have their goals and they all end up with Aelin, but she’d feel the pressure. She faces threats from all sides, including from people she thought she could trust. Plus, she makes some pretty harsh discoveries that blow up all her other plans.

What I liked…

Everything in this one. 

Character dynamics and their individual conflicts. 

Plot movement that keeps me on my toes.

Tension is really good in this one. I nice balance of buildup and execution.

What I didn’t like…

In this one, nothing leaps out.

Final thoughts…

Another fantastic instalment in the series. I feel way more immersed in it now.

Tower of Dawn

I skipped it. Sorry, not sorry. 

I’d just finished Empire of Storm when Kingdom of Ash was released, so I jumped straight to that. Everything I’d missed made sense as and when it needed to in the final book, so if you’re desperate to read that, then don’t worry about skipping this. You’ll catch up.

I did however feel bad about missing out on new relationships and new characters, but again, I figured it out quite easily in the final book.

Kingdom of Ash 3 stars

I’m not sure where to start with this book. It had a satisfactory ending but dragged a lot. I found myself getting bored of the extended scenes and long descriptions. It was kind of a letdown compared to Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms. But I still enjoyed it for the most part.

What I liked…

Finally, everything comes together and makes a nice little bow.

The emotional aspects really hit me in this book, especially taking down one of the witch towers. No specifics to avoid spoilers, but I cried at that whole scene.

All the characters joining forces was so much fun to read. They all brought their own pieces to complete the massive puzzle which was super satisfying after such a long series and so many groups of people.

What I didn’t like…

Aelin’s attempt to put the wyrd stones back. I honestly didn’t see the point of that part at all. I understood the backstory of it and why she was supposed to do it, but it did nothing for the plot other than have all this build-up to… very little. 

The later battle scenes dragged a lot. They were slow and boring and I wanted to skim. 

Aelin keeping secrets from the reader… again. This is a huge pet peeve for me, so the constant surprises were more annoying than anything. We’re in her head, so why is she keeping secrets from us? I’m on board with secrets for a couple of scenes, but not for multiple books or chapters like Aelin seemed to do throughout the whole series.

Final thoughts…

Overall, this series was amazing with characters and worldbuilding, but it lacked good pacing at times and satisfactory reasoning for me as a reader. I’m definitely glad I read this and found myself loving the characters’ personal journeys more than the bigger story.

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