OK, I did it.
*slips into inevitable book hangover*
This was me back in June when I finished Kingdom of Ash, the final book in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series. I started the journey about a year ago, reading Throne of Glass (the first book) along with a fabulous group of bookstagrammers. Our goal was to finish the series by this April. Some bookworms in the group breezed through the series, reading one book after the other and finished well before April, but I decided to stay true to the schedule and finish at my own pace.
I already miss this series. If I had to choose between TOG and ACOTAR (A Court of Thorns and Roses for those who aren’t SJM fans) I enjoyed Throne of Glass a lot more. I appreciated the multiple points of view, I loved the characters, was engrossed in the storyline and action, and appreciated that there was less smut. This series is more geared toward the young adult audience (though there are some sex scenes), but overall, I enjoyed the story more and the characters more than what you’d find in ACOTAR.
A little about Throne of Glass
Throne of Glass is a young adult fantasy series that follows the journey of Celaena Sardothien, a teenage assassin in the Kingdom of Ardalan. She is released from a prison-like camp, Endovier, after she accepts an offer from Crown Prince Dorian, the king’s son, to compete with other thieves to become the King’s Champion and gain her freedom. Over time, she forms close ties with Dorian and Chaol, and … well, a lot happens.
Like a lot. These books are FULL of action and plotlines. As you continue through the series, more characters are introduced. There are battles and secrets and magic and lots of romance. There’s a lot of betrayal and death. And, in true SJM fashion, there is healing and self-love and sisterhood that left me bawling at the end.
Ugh. I could read these books all over again (and I probably will).
There are so many things that happen in this series and I will do my best to convey my thoughts in a coherent matter. I loved these books. I loved the characters. I loved the plot. I was never bored. I was always entranced by Maas’s story and always found myself wishing that these books were movies so I can watch them over and over. I guess I’ll have to do a reread soon! 🙂
It may be best to break down each book and write a paragraph about what I liked (and even what I didn’t like … not all of them were 5 star reads!) to give you a feel of what to expect if you ever plan to read these books. This will also be interesting because I feel like I don’t remember everything that happened!
Throne of Glass
I’ll admit: I had some fears going into this one. A Court of Thorns and Roses (SJM’s other fantasy series) did not start out great, but I was pleasantly surprised with Throne of Glass as the first book in the series. I was hooked from the start. Celaena is released from Endovier and trains to compete with other deadly assassins in the kingdom. She is quick-witted, headstrong, smart and beautiful. She loves to read and eat. She captivates Dorian and Chaol, and forms a strong bond with Princess Nehemia, who is visiting from her own faraway kingdom. There are duels. There are monsters. There is magic. It is all so interesting; I couldn’t put this book down. I ended the book hungry for more.
The Assassin’s Blade
Now, this one was a bit of a miss for me. This book contains five novellas and they are all important when it comes to context for future books in the series. I found that I enjoyed some stories more than others. While they are all separate novellas, they are sequential in a way, and follow the story of Celaena and her first love, Sam. Celaena forms relationships (some good, some bad) with other colorful characters across Erilea and the book ends with you appreciating learning more about her backstory and ready to read more about Dorian and Chaol.
Crown of Midnight
This is when things get a little wild and crazy, and I was totally here for it. Like Throne of Glass, I tore through this book, needing to know what happened next. A romance starts to bud between Celaena and a certain individual (shock, shock) and there is tons of violence, betrayal, kidnappings, and thievery. Honestly, I just think Celaena is too cool. Magic and witches are introduced, and Celaena leaves for Wendlyn, telling Chaol a secret that changes everything.
Heir of Fire
This one was definitely my least favorite in the series, but there were many elements that I enjoyed. The main snag was that Maas was introducing dual perspectives in this book (hello, Manon. I love you), but it unfortunately was rough to get through. I think Maas was just learning how to navigate multiple POVs, and it showed. In this book, Celaena also meets Rowan, who I extremely dislike. He kind of grew on me in the series, but honestly, I find a lot of the men in Maas’s books to be misogynistic and problematic. I have never been on the “but he’s so dreamy who cares” train with her books. I was never Team Edward either. Stop glorifying toxic men, mainstream culture!
Anyways, this book left me heartbroken and nauseous and OMG I had to read more. So, I pressed on despite the ickiness.
Queen of Shadows
Oh, boy, am I glad I did. This book was my absolute favorite of the series. So many amazing characters are introduced. Nesryn. Lysandra. Aedion. Lorcan. So much happens. Magic. Demons. Murder. I was floored when it ended. I would reread just this one if I could and my TBR list wasn’t 300 books high. Heck. I might just do it anyways.
Empire of Storms
Elide. ELIDE. I love Elide. ELIDEEEEE.
I loved learning more about Manon and watching her character grow. I loved all the romance that was budding among the characters. Yeesh. It just keeps getting better. Characters from the novellas come into play. Celaena continues to be absolutely badass — and the ending, will, again, break your heart. So much happens! I immediately picked up the next one.
Tower of Dawn
Now, some SJM fans do a tandem read with Empire of Storms. And while I did not do that the first time around, I would like to do it the second time I read this series. Tower of Dawn as a standalone, however, is really good. I enjoyed learning more about Chaol and Nesryn and I REALLY enjoyed meeting other amazing characters: Yrene and Sartaq. Love. Them. Everything really comes together in this one and I finished satisfied.
Kingdom of Ash
You may be wondering how the author could possibly close out an entire series with so many storylines and characters in 984 pages. I wondered the same thing. I will say that it wasn’t done as thoroughly as I would have hoped. While I still enjoyed the reading experience, I found lots of holes and wanted more with some storylines. I loved how the story ended for most of the characters, and there were parts that wrecked me. There were some cringe storylines and parts that I could have done without, but, hey. Overall, I closed the book satisfied and then went into that book hangover I was talking about earlier.
Thanks for reading this far if you did. Whew. What a journey. And thank you, Sarah, for helping me get through this pandemic so far!