This was arguably the worst book I read this year.

 

Throne of Glass is a Young Adult novel about Celaena Sardothien, a trained assassin is captured and forced to work in salt mines until she is chosen by  Prince Dorian to compete in a tournament of assassins, the winner of which will be granted amnesty and a temporary position as the king’s personal hitman. It appears to be set in an alternate universe where magic is real; however, the king has banned practicing magic…somehow.
In the middle of the tournament, something sinister starts killing the competitors from the inside of the castle, that’s somehow made entirely of glass.

The book has a pronunciation guide (I take it as a bad sign if your own readers can’t pronounce the name of your protagonist) and an afterword/Q&A with the author. Apparently it took Sarah Maas 10 years to get her book published. If she’d spent those 10 years editing instead of trying to publish the same garbage, it might have been good.

I thought that Maas’s ideas were original. Unfortunately, her weak character development, universe building, plot structure, and overall writing skills were a pretty big letdown.

I feel like if I were to ask Maas what time period Throne of Glass took place in, she either would not have an answer, or she would answer with our universe’s timeline, which would be disappointing, because she has a whole universe to work with.

Other questions I’m still left with:
-Why were there gargoyles on the bell tower and why did Maas focus so heavily on them when they play no role in the plot?
-How does a trained assassin not notice people coming into her room?
-How does a trained assassin scarf down an entire bag of candy without inspecting it?
-How does a trained assassin get captured and forced to work in the mines for years?
-How does a trained assassin develop feelings for and get so easily flustered by a pretty boy who’s ready and willing to get diggity-down with anyone who shows interest?
-How did the king ban magic?
-Why did the king ban magic?
-If people have magic, can’t they use it to fight the king who doesn’t have magic?
-Why give presents on Yulemas, and not call it Christmas?
-If you name a character Nehemia, a biblical man’s name pronounced “nee-uhMYuh”, why is it a princess whose name is pronounced “nuh-HEE-mee-uh”?
-Billiards, novels, and pockets all exist simultaneously, but we still seem to be in something of a medieval time period. Where’s the timeline consistency?
-How the heck do you build a castle out of glass?
-Is Sarah J. Maas a feminist?

The overly woman-praising tones of the book are not a turn-off, they’re just poorly done. And don’t get me wrong, I know I don’t fit into the target audience of teenage girls, but the evil king is angry about powerful women, the kingdom worships a pantheon of gods with one Goddess, who is greater than all of them, and the chess board has a High Priestess, among other not so subtle hints that women should be in charge, not men.

In short, I feel like Maas published her rough draft 10 years after she wrote it in high school.
And I’m still lost on how a trained assassin shoves candy into her mouth without inspecting it.

1 star. Bad. Do not recommend.

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