throne of glass series reivew by sarah j maas - my book collection!

Throne of Glass Series Review and Reading Guide [Spoiler-Free] 

I recently finished reading Kingdom of Ash, which is the final book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas and it’s been an experience, to say the least!

I won’t keep you in suspense: Overall, I adored this series, and it will be one of my favorites for the rest of my life. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect or that I don’t have critiques. Honestly, this series probably isn’t for everyone.

And it is a commitment at eight books, some of which are over 700-900 pages long. So, I’m going to break down how I recommend you go about reading this series and then give you my honest Throne of Glass Series review and reading guide so you can determine if you want to add it to your TBR list.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Associate and there are affiliate links in the below article, which means if you make a purchase after clicking on one, I may earn a commission. Full disclaimer here.

throne of glass series reivew by sarah j maas - my book collection!

This set you see in the photo above came from Amazon – they had the best deal on the hardcovers I’ve been able to find anywhere.

Read if you like:

  • Strong female protagonists and amazing characters

  • YA fantasy

  • Multiple romantic subplots

  • Epic, intricate main plot

  • Gradual world building

Pass if you have a problem with:

  • YA writing style

  • Soapy romances

  • Committing to an 8-book series

  • The second half of the series being significantly better than the first half

I did a reading guide and review video on my YouTube channel that you can check out here as well!

What’s Throne of Glass About? 

Throne of Glass is a young adult fantasy series that features a main character named Celaena Sardothien, and she is one of the most feared assassins in the kingdom of Adarlan. But she hasn’t been a free woman since magic disappeared and her homeland, Terrasen, fell to the king of Adarlan, who resides in a glass castle.

The first book in the series starts off with her getting hauled out of a prison in the salt mines by the crown Prince Dorian, and the kingdom’s captain of the guard, Chaol, who offers her a chance at freedom if she wins a competition to become the cruel King’s champion and serves him for four years. What starts as a quest for her personal freedom becomes something much bigger as it Celaena discovers that darker forces are at play beyond the king’s unjust ambitions.

What follows is an incredibly epic series with a ton of intriguing characters and romantic subplots (and a love triangle) as we follow our heroes around the land of Erilea. 

What is the Best Throne of Glass Reading Order?

Alright, so the first thing that people tend to freak out about when it comes to this series is the reading order. Like, people get reading order anxiety, because half of the advice you’ll see claims you need to read it one way, the other half claims you need to read it another.

And there are two components to this, the first is Assassin’s Blade, which is the prequel to TOG. Some people say you should read it first because that’s the chronological order of events. Others say you shouldn’t read it until after you’ve read the first two books, others still say you should read it after third book Heir of Fire, which supposedly gives Assassin’s Blade more impact.

Sarah J Maas herself has recommended the second option, which is reading AB after the second book, Crown of Midnight. 

My opinion? It honestly doesn’t really matter that much. For myself, I read it first before Throne of Glass, and I’m glad I did for a couple of reasons. One, I found Assassin’s Blade to be the weakest book in the series because it’s a collection of five novellas, and it contains a lot of important background information, but the story itself is really just about how Celaenia ended up where she did at the start of book one.

By the time I finished Heir of Fire, I was ready for Queen of Shadows; I don’t think I would have appreciated the detour into Celaena Sardothien’s past at that point.

The other reason is that I feel like I would be a little more confused at the start of Throne of Glass if I hadn’t read Assassin’s Blade first Celaena mentions characters and places in passing in Throne of Glass, and if I hadn’t read Assassin’s blade I wouldn’t have known what she was talking about. So I felt like having all that backstory helped me feel like I was going through these things with Celaenia. 

 Now, I can see why people would say it has more emotional impact to read it this way because it kind of ties in more with what happens in Queen of Shadows. But I read it first, and I’m happy I did. Either way, don’t stress out about it; don’t let it paralyze you from starting the series because it’s not that big of a deal. 

Should You Do the Throne of Glass Tandem Read? 

The second point of contention when it comes to reading this series is when you get to these two books, Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn. The question is whether to read one book after another or to do what’s called The Tandem Read, where you essentially read both the books at the same time.

The main reason why people recommend it is because both books happen at the same time, but in different places and follow different characters. As well, Empire of Storms ends on a cliffhanger that doesn’t get resolved until Kingdom of Ash, and for some, reading Tower of Dawn after that can feel like a chore.

Tower of Dawn also gets a lot of undue hate because it doesn’t follow the main characters, and a lot of people don’t really like the main protagonists of this book, but I wholeheartedly disagree with that. Tower of Dawn is fantastic!

The only reason I would suggest doing the tandem read, if you can, is because it is really epic to read through all these storylines at the same time. I feel like this could have just been one big, Ken Follet-sized book. 

However, some people find it too overwhelming; if the idea of reading nearly 1400 pages together feels like a total nonstarter for you, then don’t sweat it! You can totally read them separately and you aren’t missing out on anything. 

There are quite a few guides online on how to do the tandem read; basically, you read a few chapters at a time and then switch to the other book. (Here’s the reading guide I used.)

One last side note: If you are reading Throne of Glass bundle on the Kindle, you can still read both books at once! Even though the books are not separated by Kindle files (it combines all the books together into a 5300 page file on your Kindle), you can read both very easily by making use of the bookmark feature. I actually found it easier to do on the Kindle than lugging around two big books everywhere.

Is it Hard to Get into Throne of Glass? My Reading Experience

Probably one of the biggest things you’ve heard about this series that is holding you back from reading it is that a lot of people say that it takes a few books to really get into it. Honestly, that is kind of true. For me, it wasn’t until I got to Heir of Fire, or really the 4th book in the series, if you count Assassin’s Blade as the first book, that I was starting to be like, whoa, okay, this series has me. 

Now, that’s not to say that these first three books are bad. I gave them three stars, which is to say, I enjoyed them, and they were worth reading, but I wasn’t screaming over them.

But the thing is, everything that happens in these books is so important to what happens later on, and so much changes over this series that you end up looking back on these earlier books with a feeling of fond nostalgia. I like them more now retroactively than I did while I was reading them. But they are still worth reading.

However, if you aren’t chomping at the bit to go right into the next book after the throne of glass or crown of midnight, I get it, I was the same way. So what I did is I broke up this series with a pallet cleansing book in between each one for the first half of the series. 

But again, by the time I read Heir of Fire, I was like, okay, I see what’s going on with these books, and I’m here for it.

But the last four books? They are fire. I can’t even choose which of them were my favorite in the series, because I loved all of them, gave them all five stars. 

Queen of Shadows has a special place in my heart because it’s a real turning point in the series, the way the characters change towards each other and their ideals and their goals was really impactful for me. And then the tandem read was pure magic.

These two books are kind of like, the peak of the action or unraveling everything that’s going on in Erilea and with these characters. And then the last one, Kingdom of Ash was a long but very satisfying, very worthy ending to the series – which for a series with so many books is an impressive feat for an author to pull off. 

Kingdom of Ash was the first book I ever annotated.

Why I Loved the Throne of Glass Series

So you say, okay you say its good, but why? Why do you love about it, without getting into spoilers. For me I think its partly because Sarah J Maas is a master at surprising you. Like some things are expected, but other things just end up going in a totally different direction than you thought.

I loved almost all of the characters, there are about twelve primary characters in these books, and by primary characters I mean characters that regularly get their own POVs throughout the story, aand there were only a couple of characters where I was like, I could take em or leave em.

The series also has this epic overarching storyline, but it’s also very much about the characters and their relationships and how they grow and change throughout the series, and I eat that stuff up. Character depth and really feeling like you know and understand these fictional people you’re reading about are my favorite things about reading.

And almost all of them are really multi-faceted, flawed characters that change throughout the series in profound and interesting ways. I especially love the way we get to see Celaena transform throughout the series and the incredibly tough choices she is forced to make.

And, of course, I also really liked the love stories in this series, although oddly, the main pairing is actually not my favorite. I can’t tell you my favorite because this is a spoiler-free review, so I won’t name them, but I will say it the main characters in Tower of Dawn. 

And I loved how the story always kept moving, it was always fun, especially by the time you get to Queen of Shadows, there just no real slow parts, and you’re just totally absorbed with every chapter.

But above all else, the thing that really makes Sarah J Maas stand out to me is how intentional and intricate her storylines are in the sense that there are people and places and things mentioned early on that you don’t think are important but they come back later on in the series.

And it makes it amazing to re read because then you will start catching these little easter eggs and details that you missed the first time around. Not just within the Throne of Glass series but between her other series as well. And I have mad respect for that, for an author who knows what she’s doing with her whole series and where it’s going so far in advance. 

Throne of Glass is Not for Everyone

As much as I gush about this series, I stand by the opinion that it isn’t for everyone.

For example, if you love lyrical, complex, Pulitzer-level prose – this is not that. Also, if you like minimal romance in your fantasy, this series is probably not for you. There isn’t a ton of romance in the first few books, but there are multiple love stories that develop throughout the entire series, and at times, it is a downright soap opera.

Some people love that, others hate it. If you hate it, this series, and indeed, any of Sarah J Maas’s books in general, aren’t for you. 

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this Throne of Glass series review! This series will definitely go down as one of my favorites of all time for it’s impactful story, fun scenes, wonderful character development, and romantic subplots (and love triangles!) However, it is not for everyone, especially if you take issue with YA prose or aren’t willing to commit to three or four books before getting hooked on the series.

But if you can commit, it is definitely worth the effort!


Is Throne of Glass Better Than ACOTAR or CC?

It’s a matter of opinion, of course, but I would say that Throne of Glass is the best series out of them all, I just loved the stories and characters so much. Whereas I honestly feel like the plot of A Court of Thorns and Roses is more or less over after the 3rd book. And Crescent City is only two books in, so it’s not really fair to compare. But it’s going to take a lot to beat this series for me

Do You Need to Read TOG to Read ACOTAR or CC? 

The short answer is no, but I would strongly recommend it. I will say you can read Acotar and the first two books of crescent city that are out right now before reading throne of glas. But it is important to read a court of throns and roses before crescent city.

Is Throne of Glass Meant for a Younger Audience?

TOG is indeed marketed for a young adult audience, however there is nothing juvenile about this fantasy series. I was in my late thirties when I wrote it and it’s one of my favorite series of all time!

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