Cover of Throne of Glass, featuring a woman with long white hair holding weapons

About the Book

Title: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
Published: 2012
Series: Throne of Glass
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Cover Story: Dual Wield
BFF Charm: Heck Yes
Talky Talk: Character Driven
Bonus Factor: Badasses
Factor: Series Starter
Anti-Bonus Factor: Love Triangle
Relationship Status: In it to Win it

Cover Story: Dual Wield

If you didn’t know that this book was about a butt-kicking lady who knows her way around a blade (or blades), you’d have a pretty good idea after seeing this cover. But WHAT is wrong with her hands? They look a little lobster-claw-ish. (And I’m sorry—now that I’ve pointed it out, it’s all you’ll be able to see.)

(Related: I’m really glad they didn’t stick with the original hardcover. As pretty as the woman on the cover is, the whole “which way to the gun show” vibe is kind of awful.)

The Deal:

Celaena Sardothian used to be the greatest assassin her country had ever seen. But then she was betrayed, arrested, and sent to the salt mines of Endovier to serve a life sentence in penance for her crimes.

A year into her sentence—months and months more than the typical prisoner lasts—Celaena is offered a way out: fight to become the King of Ardarlan’s Champion and earn her eventual freedom.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

The events Celaena experiences in her 18 years of living, even long before she gets to Endovier, would break most people. But Celaena has a strength that defies even the worst of situations. And that strength is more than just physical—Celaena is extremely intelligent and deeply cares for the people who she lets past her defenses. She’s also witty and charming, when she wants to be and knows well how to use sarcasm and sass. She’s not perfect, however; she often speaks before thinking and is stubborn to a fault. Still, I think all of that combined would make for a seriously amazing friend.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Although Celaena’s pretty busy recovering from a year in a prison camp and training to beat out the other contenders for the title of King’s Champion, a girl’s gotta have a little fun. And when there are guys like the Crown Prince of Adarlan Dorian Havilliard and Captain of the Guard Chaol Westfall sticking very close to your side, temptations are hard to resist.

Talky Talk: Character-Driven

The Throne of Glass series is an immensely popular one, with a massively devoted following. But this series—unlike others that spring to mind—is worthy of the praise.

In Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas introduces a new fantasy universe that, while taking cues from other series/tropes, feels fresh and exciting. Her characters*, both good and evil, leap from the page. I do wish there was more world-building in addition to the excellent characters, but there’s room to grow (considering the planned length of this series; see below) and the little Maas does in this introductory book shows promise.

*One fault some people might have with Maas’ characters is her character’s names. But the English major in me loves how unusual they are. If you need a little help, here’s an official pronunciation guide.

Bonus Factor: Badasses

Charlize Theron as Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road holds a gun a stares fiercely just off camera

Celaena’s a ridiculously “talented” assassin, trained in numerous ways to kill a person with weapons, poisons, her bare hands, etc. She can also take people down with a barb of the tongue. She’s not the only badass in the book, however: Nehemia Ytger, Crown Princess of Eyllwe, is nearly as skilled in fighting and even more experienced in the machinations and politics of the court. The two of them together are a force no one should ever reckon with.

Factor: Series Starter

Stack of YA book series

Unlike many YA series, which end up being trilogies, Throne of Glass is a six-book and five-novella series. Currently, all of the novellas and four of the main books have been released; the fifth comes out this September. Diving into such a large series (in the YA world—I know there are many much larger series in existence) can be daunting, but for those of us who really enjoy the world and the characters, it’s nice to know we get to revisit it more than three times.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Love Triangle

Jacob, Bella, and Edward from Twilight

I’m never really a fan of love triangles in general, but it’s even harder to enjoy them when all parties involved are worthy people and there’s no obvious answer as to who’s the better choice.

Relationship Status: In it to Win it

From the very moment we met, Book, I knew that this wasn’t going to be an easy relationship. I pretty much immediately fell for both your world and your characters, which has far-reaching implications depending on where the series goes. But I can’t resist a good fantasy story, particularly one with such an amazing main character (and love interest(s), natch). So I’m all in. Please don’t break my heart too badly?

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book with my own money and got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Throne of Glass is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.