ARC Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

TITLE: Throne of Glass
AUTHOR: Sarah J. Maas
PAGES: 416
FORMAT: Netgalley ARC
ISBN: 978-1599906959
BUY IT: Amazon
RATING: 5/5 [in the genre] or 8/10 [all books I’ve ever read].
FOR: Fans of Tamora Pierce, especially Song of the Lioness. Girls looking for a badass hero. Anyone sick of romance being the only plot in fantasy. Readers.
GET IT:  Today!  New release!  

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 exhilirating. 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.

The Basics: This is the book I’ve been waiting for. Maas breaks into the market with a thrilling, fast-paced novel that breathes life back into young adult high fantasy. Her main character is snarky and fun, supported by a cast of people as interesting as she is. Don’t worry, tweens—there’s romance. Very sweet, cute, slow-developing romance that, for once!, doesn’t overshadow the plot. And Maas’ world feels real from the first page. It may not be the most unique or never-before-seen fantasy world, but it’s classic. I love it for being something happy and familiar, allowing me to focus on all the elements that really are unique—including the very cool ritual magic system. A great read for anyone who misses books full of magic, adventure, and snarky heroines.  I can honestly say that Maas has inspired me to keep writing what I love.  Because it's so clear how much she's put into this wonderful series start.

Plot (5/5): I couldn’t stop turning pages. Sometimes it’s a little too fast-paced, but for the most part, it moves along at a good clip. You’re never bored, you’re never forced to dwell on boring fluff moments, and you’re always wondering what’s happening next.

Concept (5/5): Like I said, fantasy worlds like this, with your typical European-style kingdoms and such, are not new. But this one feels real. Maybe Maas didn’t need to borrow copies of old pagan holidays, but it’s a very minor nitpick. Her world feels real. Like a place that could exist somewhere. And the magic? I’m in love. The system of Wyrdmarks and the disappearance of magic are two features that make this world stand out.

Characters (5/5): Celaena can get arrogant and annoying, and sometimes you want to slap her. But most of the time, you want her to triumph. I enjoyed her quick wit and her whimsy. Besides, the world is full of arrogant people, and Celaena proves that she has the skills to back up the talk. Nehemia is my favorite character. She’s snarky, clever, and so lovely and noble. Chaol is good in an understated way, and Dorian? I’m in love. He’s adorable. His banter with Celaena is sharp and hysterical; those scenes were my favorites. An amusing example: “Just one game.” “Don’t you pay people to entertain you?” “You should be honored by my company.” “I’d be honored if you would leave.” The only snag is Sam, who seems like an unnecessary afterthought.

Style (4/5): The jumping POV can get a little confusing. Sometimes I felt like I was being ripped between heads. Once you get used to it, you hardly notice that you’re jumping at all. Though I wish it were a little more methodical, it’s nice to get different perspectives on Celaena’s story. The writing itself is gorgeous. Maas has a way of showing the beauty in ordinary, unexpected details. A favorite: “It was in the way his hair met his golden skin—in the tiny gaps between the strands, in the way it fell across his brow.”

Mechanics (5/5): This book was well polished. I could nitpick about some of the names seeming too Earth-like or like they didn’t fit into one language. I won’t. Nothing of this kind was enough to distract me from the plot, which was mesmerizing.

Take Home Message: The second coming of Tamora Pierce—a clever, exciting high fantasy with a touch of romance, a dash of mystery, and a great deal of danger and magic.

Note: I received this copy for free from the publisher in exchange for a review. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.


  1. Great review C.J. You have me even more excited to read it than I was before, and I didn't think that was possible :)