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Revisiting: Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

on June 26, 2017

Throne Of Glass (Throne Of Glass #1)
Sarah J. Maas
Bloomsbury ANZ
2012, 404p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly.
Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

So it’s been almost five years since I read Throne Of Glass – my first review is here. I was in a bookshop the other day just browsing and I saw the other books in this series and it reminded me that I only ever read the first book. I don’t know why I didn’t read the next ones, perhaps I missed one coming out, or had too much to read and then once there were a few books I thought it’d take too much time to catch up. But recently reading all three of the A Court Of Thorns & Roses series and loving them, I thought hey, you know, I really should get in and get up to date with the Throne of Glass series. I remembered that I’d pretty much loved this when I read it way back in July of 2012, so I picked up Crown Of Midnight, Heir Of Fire Empire Of Storms. They didn’t have a copy of Queen Of Shadows that matched all the others so I had to order that in. I picked it up last Thursday and so I was ready to go.

I did pick up Crown Of Midnight to try and start it but when I opened it, I realised that I really didn’t remember anything from Throne Of Glass. I’ve probably read over a thousand books since I read Throne Of Glass and even though I read through my review and had the general gist of the storyline, I knew that it’d probably be much better if I dug out my copy of that and re-read it before picking up the rest of the series. So on Saturday, I did just that.

The first thing that struck me was that 5 years ago I loved this enough to rate it a 9/10 on my blog, which isn’t something I do super often. This time around I’d say I liked it – but I didn’t love it. There were certain aspects that I really enjoyed but there were others that I felt were quite weak and/or problematic.

I really enjoyed the setting. The world feels both interesting and sinister at the same time – Celaena’s fellow competitors are all thieves or assassins or men who have been discharged from the King’s Army for probably heinous crimes, considering the kind of acts the King tolerates and probably also endorses. Celaena is malnourished and needs training but her skills, learned over 7 or so years intensive training, haven’t completely deserted her. She’s advised to remain middle of the pack so as not to attract too much attention as she isn’t competing as herself but as some sort of random lady jewel thief, which I’m surprised that anyone buys. Celaena has trouble following instructions though, which probably doesn’t bode well in the future.

The tension built well, especially in the final battle which I actually had zero memory of. Obviously I knew who was going to win (Celaena has a touch of the Special Snowflake about her, it feels like there’s a lot of foreboding about the weird murder of her parents and probably she’s not just some random from some village etc) but if she didn’t then there wouldn’t be a series, because her opponent would certainly have made it a fight to the death. However there were times when I “bought in” and Maas did made me wonder how she could possibly still be victorious in the situation she found herself in. So props for the setting and the build of the tournament and final battle as well as the premise itself.

Things I didn’t like so much: there’s a love triangle and in my second reading I am pretty much team no one. I don’t particularly like either of the suggested possible would-be could-be lovers. One is the Crown Prince, the son of the despot King but he’s not like his father, he’s sensitive with hidden depths. He likes to read books. And is more of a pacifist than the conqueror his father is. But he’s also an annoying vain flirt who is supposed to be charming but I really found him a bit too try hard pretty boy. He’s always sliding into Celaena’s rooms at inappropriate times and I don’t buy into the romanticism of the prince and the assassin at all. The other option is the Captain of the Guard and I haven’t existed in a vacuum the past five years despite not going on with the series. I know Chaol has his fans (sidenote: I keep wanting to pronounce his name as “chole” in my head, which I know it isn’t but it’s a very hard habit to break) but honestly I didn’t like him much either. He was okay – I think if I had to pick one at this stage, it would be him but the fury I’ve seen around at some parts suggests he probably isn’t endgame either, the same way in which the Court of Thorns & Roses series went. There’s far too much smirking and sideways glances happening between these three and Celaena seems to swing hot and cold on how she feels about one or both of them, often on the same page. Some of the dialogue read as a bit awkward at times (painfully so) and I felt as though there wasn’t a lot of real personality in pretty much any of the characters. Hopefully this is something that changes as I get further into the series and the world and the characters flesh out and evolve more. At the moment it just feels like everyone is blandly stoic with the occasional sardonic twist.

This has actually been quite an interesting exercise – I don’t often re-read much these days and I’ve never reviewed something for a second time. I was quite intrigued by my slightly different opinion and how my reading tastes may have grown and changed in the past five years. I think what I expect from a story is different now. It’s a long time and although it probably sounds like I’m more negative than positive on the book (I’m not, I still really liked it, just didn’t glowingly love it like first time around), I am still really keen to get into the rest of the series and see how it goes. The first book felt like a lot of set up for it to go places so I can’t wait to start the second book and see what happens next. We haven’t actually really seen Celaena as an assassin, although she thinks about killing people. But I think about killing people and I don’t actually do it. It’ll be interesting to read a MC who kills people for a living and how she will find working for the repulsive King.

This time around….I’m giving it:

7/10

Book #109 of 2017

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3 responses to “Revisiting: Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

  1. I have never read Sarah J. Maas. No excuses.

  2. […] ended up re-reading the first before diving into the rest, an experience I chronicled on the blog here. It’s something I’d never done before and it was an interesting experience. Although […]

  3. The first book is not the best, but Crown of Midnight definitely picks up. I was just rereading the series and Throne of Glass I enjoyed the least! The rest of the books are definitely 5/5 for me! I hope you enjoy the rest too!

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