I have done it. I have finally given Sarah J. Maas’s “Throne of Glass” series a second chance. It was only after 20 consecutive “Throne of Glass” TikToks and three months of my sister’s persistent badgering to get me to reread the series from the beginning. You must be wondering what I mean by “from the beginning,” but don’t worry: I’ll leave my small bone to pick for the end of this review.
I do not know why, but I’ve always been reluctant to read current best-sellers. Maybe it’s my subconscious attempt to disrupt the publishing patriarchy. Or maybe it’s my internal ego that gets fueled whenever I mention a book that no one has heard of.
Either way, I have specifically heard rumors about Maas, and how she is a notorious “fluff” writer. Meaning that her editors simply push all of her books through to publishing without reading and deriding the story from the unnecessary details. But after reading “Throne of Glass” for myself, I have decided that although that is true, she has definitely gained the title for her editors to trust her enough to publish whatever she wants.
In Maas’s “Throne of Glass,” the story began with the notorious, yet undercover assassin of Erilea, Celaenia Sardothien. Without revealing too much of the plot, Celaenia had been imprisoned by the King’s orders and sold into slavery to work in the salt mines of Endovier, described similarly to Earth’s Alcatraz. However, her identity is not entirely a secret among certain groups, and she is taken out of the salt mines by Prince Dorian Havilliard, and the captain of the royal guard; Chaol Westfall. It was at this point in the story where I had to look up pronunciations before I continued reading this man’s name as “Chole.”
After trying to find a Maas dictionary, I read on to learn that the King’s Championship is right around the corner, and a select few royals are choosing their champions to fight to the death. Celaenia, although untrustworthy, is Dorian’s best chance at winning. The opportunity is too great for Celaenia to pass up, as she would be gifted her freedom in exchange for her winning the championship. But another mission is placed upon her shoulders after a divine higher power entrusts her with the task of winning the championship to save the world. The spirit urges that there is darkness within the castle, and Celaenia is the only one who can snuff it out before it destroys not only Erilea, but the entire fictional universe.
This book is extremely descriptive and complicated, so this short summary might seem like a lot to swallow. But with the character arcs and the vivid descriptions painting each scene as accurately as it does, I have learned to love the fluff and savor each lengthy chapter.
“Throne of Glass,” specifically, is pretty mild on the “spice” meter and includes an enemies-to-lovers trope, along with a touch of forbidden romance, but that might change as the stories progress. If you’re looking for a fantasy series that is extremely plot heavy, rather than romance heavy, this series is for you.
And now, I am going to explain the issue I have with Maas. The one other than the fact that the names of her characters make me giggle like a middle schooler in “Sex Education.”
Two years ago, I walked into Barnes and Noble with the hope of finding a new series to distract myself, as one normally does. Paying my respects to the “smut” shelf, I made my way to the fantasy fiction section when a beautiful hardcover stopped me in my tracks. I looked at the book and the few beside it that matched the cover’s font and noticed that no numbers were distinguishing the series from beginning to end. Unknowingly, I purchased the third book and stopped a quarter of the way out of pure confusion.
Maas, on the slim chance that you ever fall into a self-deprecating hole, search up your name and find this book review, please number your books.
To be clear, the series’s order from start to finish begins with “Throne of Glass,” then “Crown of Midnight,” followed by “The Assassin’s Blade,” then “Heir of Fire,” “Queen of Shadows,” “Empire of Storms,” then “Tower of Dawn,” ending with “Kingdom of Ash.” Some say that you can begin with “The Assassin’s Blade,” but I do not recommend it.
“Throne of Glass” has checked every box on my literary checklist and I have never been more excited to get into a series that is already complete. Stay tuned for my “Crown of Midnight” review. Sorry I doubted you, Maas.