Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass

I first noticed Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass when several Goodreads friends began reading review copies of the book. It’s been getting a lot of attention lately and I heard positive things about it so I became curious. My friend Janice generously sent a copy and since I wasn’t in the middle of anything when it arrived, I started on it right away.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Throne of Glass coverAfter 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.

Well, that didn’t turn out as well as I expected. I’m a huge fan of YA epic fantasy when it’s done well. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like that was the case with Throne of Glass. The premise had so much promise – I wanted to read about an assassin trying to balance court intrigue with the fierce competition to become the King’s Champion. After just a few chapters, I knew I wasn’t going to get what I expected. I found it odd that an assassin as notorious as Celaena is more concerned about her looks and her dresses rather than honing her fighting skills. I was surprised by how often the characters focused on physical appearances rather than personalities – even the prince kept noticing how pretty Celaena is when he should be noting how well she fights as his candidate in the competition. Aside from not being fully invested in the characters, I wasn’t impressed by the world-building, either. I was initially intrigued by the mystery in the novel – what the country’s history was like, why magic has been banned, who was behind the murders – but that eventually fell flat for me. I don’t know, it just wasn’t as tightly woven (if that makes sense) as I’d like.

I also wasn’t a fan of the love triangle in Throne of Glass because I felt like it wasn’t necessary and the romance felt under-developed because of it. Sigh, I hate to be so negative in a review but I just wanted to list the reasons why I felt like Throne of Glass didn’t work for me. I was even tempted to DNF the book because I found the last hundred pages or so dragging, I just wanted to get it over with. It felt like I was reading paranormal YA (which I try to stay away from as much as possible) instead of epic fantasy. As always, feel free to pick up the book if this looks like the kind of thing you’ll enjoy reading, I’ve seen mixed reviews for it so I guess it really depends on how well you’ll be able to connect with the story. I feel like Throne of Glass would work for readers who haven’t read the likes of Robin McKinley, Megan Whalen Turner or Kristin Cashore. But if you’re like me and you’re aware of the awesomeness of other novels, I have a feeling you’ll just be disappointed. Throne of Glass will be released August 7, 2012.

Other reviews:
A Jane of All Reads
Emily’s Reading Room
Books Without Any Pictures

23 thoughts on “Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass

  1. Yes. Yes. Yes. And again Yes.

    I marked it as DNF, but I did skip ahead and read the last 50 pages before I did to see if I thought continuing from where I was would be worth it. The way the love triangle played out in the end played a big part in my deciding factor.

    • Yay, glad you agree with me! I hate to feel like I’m unnecessarily bashing a book. Sigh, books like this make me even more wary of hype.

      Yeah, the love triangle wasn’t even remotely satisfying. Towards the end of the book, I kept thinking that I should probably just DNF it because there are way too many good books waiting in the TBR pile. I just started Seraphina and I’m hoping it will be a better fantasy read than this one. I know how much you liked it.

  2. I felt like the book would have been so much better without the love triangle and fluff. It had so much potential, but just didn’t do it for me.

  3. Oh, from what you describe it sounds like there is more “teenage-romantic-drama” than Kick-Assery in this book.
    I wasn’t expecting that either, Like you I noticed the book because many of my blog-chums did Waiting on Wednesday posts on it, and it sounded awesome but now you got me wondering about the execution.

    • Yep, there was a lot of teen drama in this book and that’s probably what made me feel like it was paranormal YA instead of epic fantasy. Also a lot of vanity. Give it a try if you’re still interested but no need to hurry, maybe you can wait for it to come out in paperback before you read it.

  4. Ugh, I can’t stand YA books with a focus on appearances. *eye roll* This is how a big part of Shadow and Bone for me. Then the love triangle of course, and damsel-in-distress fainting. I have a copy of this from BEA but I’m not sure if I want to read this at all.

    • Okay then, I probably won’t be reading Shadow and Bone anytime soon. Yeah, you might want to skip this one and just pick up the other books that you got from BEA.

  5. This book might have a real chance…..if someone were to rewrite it from start to finish. I did make it through to the end, and oddly enough, I actually found it entertaining but I am in no way deluding myself that it was any good. The writing is too inexcusably bad to be taken seriously and the main character was unlikeable for nearly the majority of the book. She improved but only just.

    I did like Chaol and Dorian, and their unbelievable and ridiculous love triangle with “THE BEST ASSASSIN THAT HAS EVER LIVED. EVER. LIKE OMG SHE’S SOOOOO GOOD!” Please.

    Aren’t you enjoying Seraphina, where all the names utilize the proper placement of vowels and consonants and are pronounceable without an author’s guide? Do you have a finished copy, and if so does it have a map? The ARC doesn’t have a map and I like a good map.

    • This book might have a real chance…..if someone were to rewrite it from start to finish.

      Bwahaha Laura, you have a point there! I read your review and I agree with everything that you said. I feel like I should have read more reviews before starting this so I could have been warned. What was up with the weird names and the love triangle and the vanity?! Are you still planning to read the sequel when it comes out?

      I’m really enjoying Seraphina right now! I have a feeling I’ll be staying up late tonight to read as many chapters as I can. I do have a finished copy and the cover is gorgeous, I brought it to the office with me today just so I can stare at it. It doesn’t include a map though. I wish it did since I like maps too.

  6. I skimmed and saw love triangle in the comments and now I’m going to cry. Le sigh. Donna’s review had a lot of similar complaints, and I feel like I’ll be falling down that same path when I finally read it…

    • Aww Nicole, maybe you shouldn’t read this anytime soon? LOL if you put it off for a while, you might forget about the complaints that you’ve heard about the book.

  7. I commend you for finishing it. I just couldn’t do it. The entire world, the writing, the character, all crap to me. It actually made me really depressed about the state of publishing. That’s probably really extreme but seeing as how I’m in a total reading funk and nearly everything I come across is total blah, this didn’t help. Plus it was pegged as GAME OF THRONES for teen girls in its blurb on NetGalley. Talk about setting the bar a bit too high.

    • Donna, finishing the book is an accomplishment because I was tempted several times to DNF it. It did make me a bit sad that a book like this as being marketed aggressively when I don’t think it’s as well-written as other fantasy novels. I’m not too worried about the state of publishing though, there are some great releases out there (still in the middle of Seraphina and I’m really enjoying it so far).

  8. This was such a disappointment for me too because the premise had SO much potential! I can see it doing really well though, especially with the Kardashian crowd. (If you don’t know who the Kardashians are, Chachic, consider yourself lucky!)

    • Ha, Maggie, I do know who the Kardashians are. I agree with you, the premise had a lot of potential but the story wasn’t able to live up to that. It makes me sad when a book gets a lot of hype when I don’t feel like it deserves all the attention.

  9. Yeah, I have a sad feeling over this book — was looking forward to it and SO expected what you said you were expecting (court intrigue and assassins!), but if that’s not what this book is about… Hmm. Well I have my copy and will give it a go anyway.

    • Janice, thanks again for sending me a copy! So glad I was able to read the ARC instead of a purchased copy. 😛 No need to hurry to read this if you have a lot of good ones waiting on the TBR pile but at least you already have a copy if you’re still curious.

  10. Pingback: Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas « Bunbury in the Stacks

  11. Pingback: Ten Series I Quit Reading | Chachic's Book Nook

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