Throne of Glass is a high fantasy novel by Sarah J. Maas and the start of an epic seven-book series. I had high hopes for this series after reading the A Court of Thorns and Roses by Maas (see my review here). There are things I love and hate about this book. Overall, I really like the Throne of Glass series. Keep reading for a peek inside Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

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Summary

closeup photo of castle with mist

After a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier, 18-year-old Celaena is brought before the Crown Prince and given a choice. She can either finish her life sentence in the mines or compete to become the new royal assassin.

Each opponent is sponsored by a different member of the King’s Council. Celaena is the only woman against mercenaries, thieves, and assassins. If she wins a series of tests, she will be granted a four-year contract as the Royal Assassin. After finishing her contact, she is free to go. Celaena enjoys her training sessions with the captain of the guard but finds life at court incredibly dull. Things become more interesting when the prince takes an interest in her, but she has more in common with the captain of the guard. 

Then competitors start showing up dead. Celaena must discover who is behind the deaths before she is the next one killed. Her discoveries will lead her to a much grander destiny than she could ever imagine.

Throne of Glass Parent Guide

baby sitting on bed while reading on book

Language: 30 Biblical swear words; 7.3% of pages have vulgar language
Violence: PG-13 Lots of death. Many times Celaena thinks through ways to kill someone. One instance of post-mortem examination (similar to a crime scene show).
Adult Content: PG-13 A few heated kisses; One night of sleeping in the same bed, but nothing happens.

Parent Guide Explained

Celaena on the UK Cover of Throne of Glass

When the main character is an assassin and involved in a deadly competition against other killers, you can expect violence and killing to be in the book. There are many deaths in Throne of Glass. None are attributed to the main character Celaena and self-proclaimed best assassin. Several times though, she thinks through how she would kill someone. We don’t see her truly in her element until the next book, Crown of Midnight

One thing that pleasantly surprised me was no sex scenes. There isn’t even a let’s “go to bed” and voila wake up in each other’s arms, but everyone knows what we were doing scene. There is a night that a guy sleeps in Celaena’s bed. Nothing is exchanged except a few heated kisses. 

This isn’t the case in future books. For the most part, the adult scenes are easy to skip and not central to the plot or understanding the story progression. I also respect your judgment to not start the series knowing how it will change in future books.

Things I Love About Throne of Glass

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There are lots of things that I like about this book. I really liked that there weren’t any sex scenes. The fact that the characters took their time building relationships and trust felt more realistic than the instant love found in many stories. I also liked that Throne of Glass begins in the middle of Celaena’s story, and we discover more about her as we go through the books. Reading is more enjoyable when I learn more about a character as I go along instead of holding all the cards.

Some parts of Throne of Glass are similar to Hunger Games, with the competition and the love triangle. This one stands out from the other competition books because of the added dimension magic brings to the story. 

Disappointments in Throne of Glass

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Throne of Glass just didn’t hold up to the hype for me, or at least the first book did not. Is it sad that I was disappointed the best assassin doesn’t kill anyone in the book? Plus, she sparingly shows her skills even when she loves to brag about how good she is. Celaena is definitely one of those protagonists you dislike because of how prideful and stuck up she is. Definitely not role model material. I didn’t start liking her until later books when she is brought low, and we get more insight into her past and why she acts the way she does. 

Another thing I found disappointing was the competition. I thought Throne of Glass would kind of be similar to other competitive books. I expected the competitive events to be laid out and for the story to revolve around what was happening. That is not the case with Throne of Glass. We get a front-row seat to a few of the events, but half of the competitions are covered by a single line of text. That part really threw me for a loop, and I had to reread that section a couple of times. It felt so wrong to reduce half of the plot to a sentence. 

Looking at that part after reading the entire series, I can understand why the author chose to spend more time on different elements. I really wish she had kept those parts in or even given a paragraph to each competition. She could have showcased Celaena’s cunning or other skills instead of just putting it to the side.

Slow but Worth it

brown tortoise on brown sand

This first book is slow but needed to build the story in the rest of the books. I like Celaena’s character way more in the following books. She becomes way more of a boss character when she actually unleashes her power and starts acting like an assassin. In Throne of Glass, Celaena smothers her personality and really holds back from being herself. She comes across like just another teen girl and a wannabe Katniss Everdeen. If you want a book with more action, read Hunger Games, Graceling, or Grave Mercy.

The Throne of Glass series also has a similar vibe to The Kiss of Deception. I like how Celaena doesn’t settle for the first guy she comes across in the story, and instead, she finds one who is her equal. This series made me laugh and cry multiple times because of unjust situations and what each character goes through. 

Pro tip: If you are planning on purchasing the entire series I highly recommend getting the ebook bundle because it is 40% off what you pay for the paperback box set. But I also know how satisfying it is to buy a beautiful series to showcase on a bookshelf.

Recommendations

woman sitting while holding book

Throne of Glass is fantastic, and I recommend it to all high fantasy lovers. I think it’s better for older teens and adult readers due to the adult content in later books. Plus, there is a war that gets pretty gruesome at points. I’m not saying this to dissuade you from reading Throne of Glass but just to inform you about what is in store in later books.

If you liked this book, try out A Court of Thorns and Roses, also by Sarah J. Maas. Don’t forget to get the second book, Crown of Midnight, to see Celaena in action. Other books you might enjoy are Red Queen, Graceling, Hunger Games, and The Kiss of Deception. If you need more recommendations for books to read, check out this post with a bunch of action-packed fantasy reads.

Happy Reading!
Emily