The Throne of Glass series is probably my all time favourite series to this date. It’s a mix of fantasy and dystopia and features one of the best female protagonists out there (who is undoubtably my favourite character ever) as well as being so so gripping.
Before reading it, I hadn’t been a huge fantasy fan and I hadn’t seen the dystopian elements in fantasy. If you read this post I wrote about my definition of dystopia, you’ll have seen that I classify most fantasy books under the dystopian genre, and it was the Throne of Glass series which made me see this.
For quite a while I hadn’t been reading much and what I was reading was either not very good, not part of a series, didn’t grip me much or just seemed like the same old thing over and over again. Reading ToG made me see just how versatile dystopian books can be. Whilst this series isn’t strictly dystopian, it has sooooo many dystopian elements like slavery, hunger games type competitions, war, dictatorship and much much more that to me it’s 100% in the dystopian genre. This opened my eyes up so much to what I classified as dystopia, and because of it my reading is a lot more varied and I’m reading much better books than before.
I found the fantasy elements really interesting in the Throne of Glass series – we aren’t immediately thrown into a high fantasy world with too many things to get your head around, and this makes it so accessible. Instead, the magic and fantasy elements slowly emerge and grow, which means you have time to get your head around the world before it gets too complicated. It’s been a few months since I read all the books (I’m currently in the process of rereading them in preparation for Empire of Storms, book 5, which is out early September) which means I can’t fully remember everything that happens and all the fantasy elements are kind of mixed up and complicated in my head. I do know though, that it doesn’t feel this way when you read them, because Sarah J Maas slowly builds them into the story so they make sense. The fact that I can’t quite remember the important fantasy books acts as a perfect excuse for rereading them (not that these books require an excuse, they speak for themselves). I’m looking forward to continuing to reread them because even just rereading the first book, I noticed so many hints for what happens later on which was really cool.
Before reading the Throne of Glass series, I’d come to hate romance in books; every YA book seemed to be the same. It was always untastefully done and cringeworthy and never really needed (or relevant) in the story. Most authors do it purely for the sake of it. But not Sarah J Maas. Oh no! Sarah is the QUEEN of romance, every goddamn time. The way the relationships evolve in the story feels so natural, and always feels true to Celaena’s character. I know that the entire fandom is split between 3 particularly *ahem* gorgeous males, but there’s one in particular who I just can’t get over. I don’t think I ever will. He arrives in Heir of Fire and well, you’ll know him when you see him… The thing is, even though the romance is done brilliantly and so believably (I mean, who wouldn’t love Celaena?!), I don’t read these books for the romance. I read these books because of Celaena, my favourite heroine of all time.
Celaena is probably one of the most badass characters ever. Lots of others have come close, including Sarah J Maas’s heroine, Feyre, from her other series A Court of Thornes and Roses (which is also one of my all time favourite book series), Mia from Nevernight by Jay Kristoff as well as Kady and Hanna from Illuminae and Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman, but none have ever met Celaena’s standards.
She’s one of the few characters who I completely believe that if romances fell through, I wouldn’t be devastated because honestly? Celaena is brilliant as just her. She doesn’t need anyone to complete her, but sometimes she does need someone to allow her to be her, to not judge her or try to change her, just to support her a bit. Another thing I loved in particular about Celaena is how she isn’t perfect in the slightest. She’s a very broken character, but unlike many “heroines” she doesn’t require a man to fix her and doesn’t even try to be fixed – she accepts her flaws and wears them with pride. Every scar (physical or mental) is a piece of who she is. She doesn’t let her flaws define her, but she doesn’t hide them away either.
In every book of the Throne of Glass series we get to know more and more about Celaena’s past and the tragic events which helped to shape and define her. I’m in awe at how Sarah managed to keep things totally hidden from us as the readers about Celaena, even though we’re in her head pretty much the entire way through.
It’s not because she’s hugely relatable – she’s beautiful and knows it – or that she makes decisions you always agree with, but Celaena’s probably the most developed character I’ve ever come across. Sarah J Maas’s character development is something to be praised (awards should be flung at her for it) and in Celaena she’s created such a deep, flawed, beautiful, heartbreakingly damaged character who somehow brings every emotion into play. I’ve screamed at Celaena, cried with laughter at her wit, been wide eyed with fear at her rash decisions, welled-up at how damaged and broken she is, shed tears at how far she comes in the series and most of all, loved her with all my heart. I genuinely love her, like I’ve never loved another character before (no, not in that way!)
Of course, Celaena isn’t the only incredible character in the Throne of Glass – a few which are very close to my heart are Nehemia, Rowan, Chaol, Dorian, Manon, Abraxos (he might not be a person, but he totally counts), Sam and Aedion. To name a few… I know this review is extremely gushy, but I wouldn’t know how to write it in any other way. Of course there are flaws in these books, but honestly my mind is clouded by how amazing these books are, that I can’t even remember the not-so-good-bits.
I must also say, it’s well worth reading the short story collection The Assassin’s Blade, because you find out so much about the series you otherwise wouldn’t. I would definitely recommend reading this book first (I wish I had!) before the series. Or, if you’ve already read the series so far (books 1-4) then you need to read this too!
I can’t wait for Empire of Storms. I cried at the end of Queen of Shadows a lot (I’ll leave it to you to read and find out why) and I’m SO excited to see where the story continues. I haven’t been with this series since the beginning when it was first released, but I do feel like I’ve been with Celaena from the very start of it all, deep in my heart. I have to admit I’m also TERRIFIED to read Empire of Storms. I’m so scared Sarah J Maas is going to break my heart. Again. For the millionth time. But I’m worried most of all that this time it won’t be possible to fix the damage, that this time she’ll shatter my heart beyond repair and won’t leave any scraps to start the mending process.
OHHHHH and let me just warn you now if you’re new to these books… There are twists in this series, huge slap in the face twists that COME OUT OF NOWHERE and jab you right where it hurts. So just be warned…
Have you read this series? Let’s gush together! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.