Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass Book Cover Throne of Glass
Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.


I’m a fan of strong female characters in books. Forget damsels in distress who sit around wringing their hands and yearning for a hero to come and rescue them – I like a girl with spunk, wit, and the ability to take care of herself. That being said, however, there’s a fine line between a strong, independent heroine and a heroine who’s seemingly invincible.

Believable characters must have some sort of weakness or vulnerability. Celaena Sardothien, the protagonist in Throne of Glass, is lacking this, making it very difficult for me to really feel invested in the book. From the very beginning, Celaena is an uninteresting heroine because she’s just too perfect. Even when she’s competing against the biggest, baddest, toughest fighters around, she has no worthy opponents. It seems like every third paragraph is about how easy it would be to disarm the dozen trained soldiers surrounding her, or how laughable it is that the captain of the king’s guard believes manacles and chains can contain her. I get that she’s an assassin, but come on. Her strategic and physical prowess requires no effort whatsoever, making it lose all meaning.

I also would have appreciated more of an emotional range for Celaena than just arrogance and anger. If she has to be a physical and tactical prodigy, she should at least have some more emotional vulnerability. Fear, doubt, loneliness, alienation, guilt…there’s an entire array of feelings that the author could have used to make Celaena a little more relatable. Her occasional nightmares and a flash or two of nervousness are not enough to make her believable, and that’s a serious flaw of the book.

One thing that I did enjoy about Throne of Glass was the ending. I don’t want to give anything away, but I appreciate that the love triangle (if you can even call it that – one side of that triangle was rather underdeveloped) didn’t have a clear-cut resolution.

I won’t go so far as saying that Throne of Glass is terrible, but it’s certainly not one I’d recommend.  There are better and brighter books out there that you should be reading instead.

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