Janina's Reviews > Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
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's review
Jun 03, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, young-adult-fiction, for-review, mystery-thriller-suspense
Read from June 28 to July 04, 2012

Sorry, but it looks like I've been excited for NOTHING. After enticing me with its promises of a reading experience reminiscent of Megan Whalen Turner and George R.R. Martin, Throne of Glass ultimately let me down. Having been excited for this novel for weeks and actually liking the sample I read, I have been brought back to earth now – with a jolt. This YA fantasy is a rather sorry example of its genre.

I have the notion that a big part of this book did not work for me because of its heroine. Celeana is smart, athletic, talented and beautiful. She loves music and reading. She is fluent in different languages. She is great. And she knows it. And rubs it in your face repeatedly. As do her suitors and admirers. I had the feeling that Sarah J. Maas tried everything to make me love her heroine. How do you make readers love someone? Present them with a book lover! But somehow, she accomplished the opposite. I did not loathe Celaena, but she grated on my nerves. I wished someone would tell her off, would for once not grant her every wish; I wished the characters I liked would not fall for her charms and good looks.
The little romance Celaena had (I won't say with whom) was laughable at best and mostly resulted in me rolling my eyes at the fact that the only attraction that existed between those two stemmed from them both being beautiful.

In terms of plot, I cannot deny that there was always a level of suspense present. I did want to know how this story ended, and yes, there were actually parts when I feared the whole thing would not end well – partly because my beloved heroine did not deem it necessary to inform certain people about what she had witnessed in the castle. Overall, though, the story remained a tad too juvenile and simple for me. Important events were mentioned only in passing and the mythology did not go any further than what was important for the main story line. Many things remained unsaid – doubtlessly for the sake of sequels yet to come – but it was not the subtle way of remaining unsaid but hinted at I love in fantasy novels, it felt more like remaining unsaid to lure me into reading on.

There were aspects I liked - Celaena's friendship to Nehemia, the Eyllwe princess, and Chaol, the loyal and fierce captain of the guard – but in the end, there isn't enough to make me interested in reading any sequels.

In short - what I wanted: A less is more mentality. World building that does not only cover what is necessary to follow the main story arc. Subtle romance. Villains in different shades of grey. Assassins that actually assassinate. And do not only sit in their room talking or thinking about clothes and boys. What I got: A vain and mostly unlikeable heroine. Two men absolutely bedazzled by her presence. Hints of a love triangle. Lots and lots of descriptions of clothing. Flimsy world building. An overall poor execution writing-wise. Thank you. Next?

Thanks a lot to Netgalley and Bloomsbury for the review copy.
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Reading Progress

16.0% "I think I've already identified the contenders for a possible love triangle. Fantastic." 1 comment
34.0% "So far, the only character I like is Chaol. Please don't let him become to infatuated with Celaena."
54.0% "can't deny I'm kind of hooked now. But every time Celaena and Dorian interact, or Dorian or Chaol go on about how amazing Celaena is, I have to roll my eyes and suppress making gagging noises." 2 comments
70.0% "All in all, I can't say I'm a fan of the narration. It seems a little ... inconsistent."
83.0% "Really Celaena, why aren't you telling anyone what you've witnessed? Your excuses are flimsy at best. I hate it when this technique is applied to make the story "more exciting" - more like more annoying ..." 3 comments
01/29/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 73) (73 new)

Judy I'm hoping one will go more of the platonic friendship route but it doesn't look likely.

Janina Hmmm. I've read somewhere that the story doesn't really focus on romance, but I am already annoyed by Celaena always checking Dorian out ... so yes: doesn't seem likely.

message 3: by Nomes (new) - added it

Nomes I only read 25%. It didn't bother me, but didn't excite me enough to keep going.

message 4: by oliviasbooks (last edited Jul 05, 2012 11:13PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

oliviasbooks Oh no. I HAVE to talk to Teccc. I don't think he will like it then. It's not too late to change the preorder.

message 5: by Teccc (new)

Teccc Oh........... :(

Judy I suppose in the end there wasn't much focus on romance, but what romance existed was like watching two wooden boards attempt to make fireworks considering how bland each of their personalities were.

It kind of felt like "Oooh he's handsome. Oh no, HE'S handsome. Oh wait, they're both handsome!! He's a priiince he shouldn't be handsome."

There was a story somewhere in there though which was why it was readable :)

Janina Yes, there was a little bit of a story in between ;). I found it weird how fast Celaena would forget one guy as soon as she was seeing the other ... and I fear that this love triangle will play a very important role in future instalments.

By the way, I really had difficulties figuring out how to pronounce the name Celaena - makes a knot in my tongue. In the end, I just went with Celena ;).

Janina And Teccc: I really can't say for sure if this is for you or not ... I did remind me a lot of Grave Mercy, though.

Amy (Turn the Page) Sorry you disliked this one :( I've been excited about it but I'm reading more and more disappointed reviews...

Janina Yeah, it was quite the disappointment. Honestly, after reading it myself, I have to admit I cannot understand the praise at all, but well ... to each their own. I am sure others cannot understand my love for certain books as well ;).

oliviasbooks Teccc, did you get my e-mail??? Via gmail?

message 12: by Shirley (new)

Shirley Marr I love this quote of yours! - "How do you make readers love someone? Present them with a book lover!"

Janina Haha, thanks! Well, you know ... even a blind hen sometimes finds a grain of corn ;).

Btw, we have that saying in German, and as I did not know if there was a direct translation, I looked it up in the dictionary. This is what I found:

1) Even a blind squirrel will find a nut / acorn once in a while.

2) Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

3) Every dog has his day.

I just about died laughing at number 1 ... does anyone really say that?!

Amy (Turn the Page) ^ No but I think I may start to! :D

message 15: by Silent_count (new) - added it

Silent_count Janina wrote: "I just about died laughing at number 1 ... does anyone really say that?!"

Yeah but I'm guessing it's only people who write dictionaries... so they can put it in the dictionary. :)

I've heard the 'blind hen' saying used but then meine Eltern sind aus Deutschland.

oliviasbooks Teccc, I'll bring a different book on Sunday!

message 17: by Teccc (new)

Teccc Yay! :-) Thanks!

Janina Silent_count wrote: "Janina wrote: "I just about died laughing at number 1 ... does anyone really say that?!"

Yeah but I'm guessing it's only people who write dictionaries... so they can put it in the dictionary. :)


It must be fun being a dictionary writer ;). I think the blind hen saying does sound a little strange in English.

message 19: by Joy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joy I've read Sarah's draft of the story when it was still on fictionpress, and it was really well written. In book format though, I'm sure a lot of information and world building had to be scrapped in order to forward the storyline. It is a YA after all, you can't expect crazy world building similar to George R.R. Martin in 404 pages. This is why four novellas were released in order to build up the world and backstory for the audience. Perhaps you'd like to take a look at the four novellas as well, because you mentioned that there wasn't all that much 'assassinating'. There is definitely much more character development and assassinations in those.

Nikki I'd give the pirate novella a miss - I hated Celaena after reading that, thought she was selfish, arrogant and generally in need of a slap, lol! She comes across far better in the Assassin and the Desert ;o)

Douglas Meeks People that have not read the 4 novellas really should not review this book because even though it was not marketed that way I can see that you don't have a feel for who the characters are or why they act the way they do because their history and the world building is in those novellas. They should not have put the book out for review for anyone that has not read them IMHO.

message 22: by oliviasbooks (last edited Aug 07, 2012 11:06AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

oliviasbooks Douglas wrote: "People that have not read the 4 novellas really should not review this book because even though it was not marketed that way I can see that you don't have a feel for who the characters are or why t..."

So? If that was true I would say that publishers should not be allowed to sell unsuspecting readers books that REQUIRE FOUR NOVELLAS to be read in advance without warning them first.

Douglas Meeks oliviasbooks wrote: "Douglas wrote: "People that have not read the 4 novellas really should not review this book because even though it was not marketed that way I can see that you don't have a feel for who the charact..."
No argument, the way this was book has been marketed it should have included the novellas in the novel to make it complete or state clearly that it was part of a series.

Michelle i kind of see your point in writing this review. i was also hyped by grave mercy and didn't like it much in the end and this one would have ended the same if i hadn't read the novellas before

the novellas had all the stuff you probably wanted to see in this book grey villains, a deeper sad love and some other stuff i don't want to spoil (really cheap e-books and maybe more to your taste)

i constantly missed most of the characters from the novealls ... but the novellas wanted me to read the book so badly and prepared me for the storyline so i wanted to read about the prince and the competition

this information is obviously shared to late, but maybe you invest a bit more time in the prequels, the next book probably rocks the house

message 25: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy I doubt that reading the novellas will fix the horrible love triangle and the main character's immaturity.

message 26: by Joy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joy But how mature were you exactly, when you were 18? I think Celaena had experienced enough pain during her time in Endovier that to be able to laugh still is a wonder. Sure, the love triangle plays a part in the story but it's not even the main plot (like Twilight). Maybe people need to stop focusing on that when they review, because you're not looking at the whole picture. It's so hard to get girls to read these days unless there are elements of romance. So what if there is a romance in this story? It's a YA novel. I can't remember the last time I read a YA that didn't have an element of romance in it.

message 27: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy There are mature and immature 18 year olds. I don't think her age is a factor. The point is her background as a supposed hardened assassin. It would be ok if she is immature and all about candy and dresses and balls if she was a princess who has been raised in a castle all of her life. If she has had a difficult life where she lost someone she loved, had to live in the salt mines where she was forced to work and saw her friends brutally beaten, it would be more believable if she had to be mature and grow up very, very fast. And be concerned about, I don't know, the evil that is lurking about killing assassins?

I would also say that the love triangle in this book took up quite a considerable amount of the plot. How many pages were devoted to her sitting on her bed chatting with Chaol or the Prince, exchanging silly one liners and such?

There is nothing wrong with having an immature character. There is also nothing wrong with having a love triangle in the story. As readers, we all have the ability to decide what we like or dislike about each of these elements within a book. As reviewers, we should all be honest about what works or does not work for the particular book we are reading as it resonates for each of us. Why can't reviewers focus on what they believe to be a poorly written love triangle? People can judge for themselves whether they like it or dislike it.

(Sorry for posting so much under your review, Janina)

message 28: by oliviasbooks (last edited Aug 07, 2012 07:54AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

oliviasbooks Huhhhhhh? Why do you read reviews then? I, for my part, care a lot about what Janina has to say about a book that I haven't read yet. And I can tell you who she is: Someone who convincingly and considerately reviews books in her spare time. And when I read a two-or-three-star-review, I do it to find some balance among all the gushing or to confirm that I am not the only unimpressed reader of a certain book.

Douglas Meeks While this review has not made me any less enthusiastic about this series, it has made me aware that without the novellas you really don't have a clue as to what got the "assassin" to this point in her life (or why she may still be a bit naive). Now while I hope to actually read the book in the next day or 2 (I do several reviews a week for different forums/sites) it HAS made me aware that the marketing for this novel was severely lacking, several reviews have been less than complimentary and the major cause was the lack of information in the novel that was included in the novellas. It becomes obvious to me that the novel as a stand alone book must be lacking since I found the novellas to be 5 Star reading (well maybe not the first one The Assassin and the Pirate Lord) but they do all the world building AND give you tons of history and insight into who Celaena really was/is. I can see that as soon as I finish up Shadows of Destiny series (a real gem I stumbled upon) I need to get the novel completed and write a comprehensive review. I can't believe she wrote all these 5 Star novellas and then wrote a 2-3 Star novel but we shall see. I should mention that in general I find a lot more of what I call "literary snobs" here on Goodreads, meaning people that trash a book on many things other than it's entertainment value. I can overlook a lot of things but at the end if I have been entertained by a good story then I consider it a good book (possibly with flaws but very good never the less) .... I think I will add this rant to my placeholder review :)

manda Whoooa what, I read reviews for this book, glance over the comments section and this is the kind of crap I see?

Kendall wrote: "Judy and Janina, I really think you should read the novellas. Yes, it does seem a bit silly that you have to read the novellas for the world building etc, but if you had, I think you'd be a lot less defamatory and malicious. Perhaps you'd be a bit less sanctimonious, too. I mean honestly, who do you think you are and why do you think we care what you have to say? Like you said, we can judge a book for ourselves and we certainly don't need your holier-than-thou reviews to help us form our opinions. "

I see a lot of people are suggesting to read the novellas first, but unfortunately it is not a reader's obligation to read anything.

I'm allowed to read the third book of GRR Martin's Game of Thrones without reading the previous installments if that is what I want to do, and I am also allowed to form an opinion on it.

In Janina's case, it isn't even that extreme, because Throne of Glass is the first book in a series. If it can't stand on its own without the novellas to prop it up, then that's the failure of the author, and not the fault of the reader.

Second; defamatory and malicious?? I'm not sure I've read the review the same way you have, because I could not find anything "defaming" or "malicious" in it. She didn't like the book. Why is that malicious?

One last thing, "I mean honestly, who do you think you are and why do you think we care what you have to say?"

Obviously you care, if you took the time to be all indignant over her review and commenting on it.
Anyway, that's beside the point. I doubt the reviewer even cares if people care or not. This review is an expression of her opinions. No one has to pay any attention to it if they don't want to - she's not forcing them to.
Who do you think you are, accusing her of being "sanctimonious".

I'm going to stop right here before I get carried away. Sorry for posting such a long rant on your review space, Janina.

message 31: by Silent_count (last edited Aug 07, 2012 10:06AM) (new) - added it

Silent_count Kendall wrote: "Like you said, we can judge a book for ourselves and we certainly don't need"

Given that you've neither read nor reviewed any books, it's pretty clear that you can't, in fact, judge a book for yourself.

By the way, find yourself a dictionary before the next time you use the word "defamatory", or "sanctimonious" for that matter. You'll find that using big words, which you don't understand, to try to appear clever doesn't wash on a site populated by people who read books.

message 32: by oliviasbooks (last edited Aug 07, 2012 11:08AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

oliviasbooks Thank you, Amanda. I had all that in my head, but I couldn't express it as well as you did. I had been too stunned, I guess.

Janina Well, I'm gone for a few days and what happens? Thanks Olivia, Judy, Silent_Count and Amanda for jumping "in defense".

Douglas, I am sorry, but I don't see any reason for me to read accompanying novellas to a novel I did not enjoy - I think they're unlikely to change my opinion. And I don't think I am "required" to read anything in general. I review for fun, it is not my job.

And Kendall, if you don't care about what I have to say - nobody here is forcing you to read my reviews.

Douglas Meeks The fact is that they should have made sure that people who purchased the book knew about the novellas or better yet included them with the novel because it is obvious that without it the novel is lacking. I am not disputing your opinion, I am saying that as someone who does review books on a regular basis and I HAVE read the novellas that I find it hard to see how the story could have gone so wrong. The fact that I still have it in my TBR stack makes my comments less than totally valid , all I know for a fact is that the novellas were excellent and hope she did not actually write a 2-3 star novel after those exceptional stories. I hope to be able to write something a bit more informed within the next week.

Janina Sorry, but to me it sounded a little like my review wasn't "valid" because I haven't read the novellas. I'll be looking out to what you have to say about the book eventually, although it's unlikely to convince me to give the author another try ;).

Douglas Meeks " sounded a little like my review wasn't "valid" ", not what I said, what I said was "my comments less than totally valid" referring to my own incomplete knowledge at this point since I had not read the novel yet. However, I am beginning to believe that this novel as a stand alone is an incomplete story which does make any review of it less than adequate due to the lack of talent by either the author (or more likely) the publisher. Hopefully I can back up my comments with a bit more knowledge in next few days by reading the book :) I also doubt that you would change your mind about the book, I just want to know that the novel continues what was an excellent and well written story, while hoping it did not drop to the 2-3 Star level you rated it.

Adina Good review and I agreed with a lot of your points. There was definitely a little bit of the Mary Sue about the heroine.

Scarlett Thank you! You hit upon the same things that I too found so frustrating. I'm not the only one who rolled my eyes! I wanted to like this book as well and it has some good elements, but somehow the execution was off and just annoyed me instead. Great review!

Douglas Meeks See my review now that I finally got to read the book.

Douglas Meeks and if you don't care to read it I have to somewhat agree that without the novellas it is a 2-3 star reading experience, I would have hated to read this book without them. When you include them in your reading before the novel it does make it 4-5 star reading for the vast majority of us.

Scarlett hmmm, that didn't happen with me. I liked the first one ok, thought the desert one put Caleana in a more human and likable light, but then it all went to pot in the third one because the characters made choices that I thought were absolutely insane and unfounded. Just my personal opinion. I haven't read the last one, read the book instead hoping it was better, but still some of the same issues with random actions. Glad you liked it though, Doughlas! It's always good finding those books that you can just fall into :)

Suzuk1girl Great review hit the nail on the head as they say. Their romance was truly as exciting as paint dry. Though I'm not excited but the next book I would read it just to get some closure. In the mix I think the captain of the guard will make a better love interest than Dorian.

Kaitlyn Completely agree with your review. But I just want this on record in case it actually happens: I think Dorian and Celaena are related. I know it sounds random but they have the same color eyes. And what the book said in the begining when it was told through Dorian's point of view, how neither his mother nor his father had that eye color and how no one knew where he got it from. Every sentance in a book has a purpose and I think that the purpose of that sentance was to hint at them being related. Just a random thought. Sorry if I'm wrong or if it does happen and I don't know it. I haven't read the other books yet...

Raffecat I can't agree with "plain old bad"; there's a good story in there, you just have to imagine a lot of it yourself ;)

I'll write a review, but in summary: most of the characters as presented in this book have no clear motivation for what they do, no discernible history, and no apparent goals (except for Nehemia, and perhaps Elena.)

I found it hard to put down, because I could always see a lot of potential in what had happened so far, and I was waiting for something to actually come of it!

Douglas Meeks "most of the characters as presented in this book have no clear motivation for what they do, no discernible history, and no apparent goals"

Hence my earlier comments about people not having read the preceding novellas were not aware of all the reason why people did things nor any of the history of Celaena. I loved the book but without the novellas first I would have been bored most likely or confused at best. See if you agree:


message 46: by Lora (new) - added it

Lora This YA fantasy is a rather sorry example of its genre.

Couldn't agree more, Janina. Sorry this one didn't work out for either of us.

Shinha What I don't understand is which guy she likes.... Jesus....

Danielle (is trying to escape reality) Wow, this is basically how I felt. Such a let down ! I had much better hopes for this book, but it was just so lacking in so many areas. You've summarized them well. There was not one minute I actually believed this girl was the greatest killer of them all. I will not be coming back for a sequel, because I guarantee it will just be a waste of time and effort.

message 49: by Bella (new) - rated it 1 star

Bella Grace You said everything I would have. Let me love you! *squeals*

Julia Although I did like Celeana, I do feel the same as you about most aspects of the book. Sometimes it felt like I was reading a fan fiction.

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