Have you ever read a book or a series that is so good, you can’t wait to get to the end and you never want it to end, all at the same time? That’s me.
I really want to talk to you about the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. For most of the five years I’ve worked here at HCMPL, the Throne of Glass has series has flown off our shelves. It’s been asked for often, talked about even more so, and has grown in popularity in the last several years.
I’ve even had patrons recommend it to me, since (I should add) YA and Fantasy reads are my jam. Go a step further and combine the two: a Fantasy YA read? This is seriously my thing.
Despite all this, I had never read Throne of Glass, the first in the series. It’s always been in my back burner, on my TBR booklist, just all the way at the bottom. Last month, it was time. I reserved Throne of Glass on Overdrive, and when it became available a few days later, I opened and started reading.
I was hooked from the very first chapter. I absolutely flew through the first two books, reading each in just a 24-hour period. The following five books, plus a bonus book full of short stories, Assassin’s Blade, I read in less than a week’s time.
We open Throne of Glass and immediately meet Celaena Sardothien, a young woman recently betrayed and sentenced to the salt mines of Endovier, as a slave. After a year in the salt mines, however, she is given an opportunity: If she wins a contest to become the King of Adarlan’s champion, she will be granted a four-year contract, working as an assassin for the empire she hates, at the end of which time she will be freed.
After sitting on the bottom of my TBR list for a long, long time, I won’t lie, I was hesitant to dive into this world. But after the first chapter, I knew I was in good hands. This book has plenty of magic, humor and romance — a perfect brew for fans of good YA fantasy. Another big draw for me is the mysterious aspects of the book.
Not everything is as it seems, and Celaena begins to realize that there is a growing darkness in the kingdom, one that she’ll have to fight in order to save herself and those she loves most. In each book, Celaena discovers a bit more of herself, her past, and her role in all of the events unfolding. Did I forgot to mention that in Adarlan magic is outlawed and magic wielders are almost non-existent in this land, and they are shunned?
This is a seven-book series. While I loved Throne of Glass and was immediately hooked, things really started to get interesting for me when I picked up Crown of Midnight the second book in the series. I felt that Celaena’s character really starts to get delved into a little more.
In the third book, Heir of Fire, I feel like we start seeing Celaena’s character take on a lot more hardship. This is where we’re starting to see her make some nitty-gritty choices that will impact future events and alter the course of her life. She is starting to find out that she’s not quite who and what she thought she was, and will have to go on a journey outside of Adarlan to find peace with herself, and strength to fight off the monsters that are threatening to enslave her world. It’s in this third book that Celaena begins to become a major player in the world around her, and I’m here for every second of it.
Book four, Queen of Shadows, is where we start to see more of the female badassery that I now admire Sarah J. Maas for. Although first introduced in Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows is where we really start to see Manon Blackbeak, a pureblood, deadly Ironteeth witch that seems to be allied on the dark side of what is turning out to be an inevitable clash of powers between our infamous assassin and quite a few enemies who wish to destroy her. There is some serious action that happens in this one, and so much chaos. This book was definitely an edge of your seat read.
The tension gets ramped up in Empire of Storms, book 5, as all enemies are making the move to strike our heroine and her supporters, and readers will get to see more action/badassery from the women. The ending of Empire of Storms was not so much of a cliff-hanger as much of a sucker-punch to readers, with a grim promise of what was to come.
In the penultimate book, Tower of Dawn bridged a character gap for us. In this story, Chaol Westfall (one of our male leads since the beginning of this series) has been sent off to another part of the world in order to heal after injuries that occurred during Queen of Shadows. In order to heal, he has to face his own demons, as well as secure an alliance for the war that is brewing in his homeland.
I love Chaol. It has been well beyond established that I love him to pieces. But this book was definitely the most slow-going for me. Especially the first few chapters. It has a ton of royal, political like intrigue. I had to wait awhile after finishing Empire of Storms to give myself a little separation before I started Tower of Dawn.
Another reason this book was a mud pit for me to slog through, was the timeline. The timeline is at the same time as the events happening in Empire of Storms, and knowing that made me want to skip ahead, which to me, is the ultimate book no-no.
Kingdom of Ash is the culmination of the series, and a spectacular culmination it is. So many questions are wrapped up, and it is just as heartbreaking as you imagine it will be. There are some incredibly difficult moments that I would love to share but I can’t because I don’t want to spoil it, just know that they are absolutely gut wrenching. You will feel all the feels. I loved the closure this book gave but hated getting to the end.
I can’t say I’ve never wanted to reread a book, but I can definitely say that this series is the first I’ve finished that I immediately wanted to pick back up and start over. I was so torn between reading as fast as my eyes could travel across the page and wanting to slow down because I didn’t want it to be over. As the pages between me and the end of the book got thinner and thinner, my anxiety grew. I didn’t want it to be over.
Overall, I absolutely loved this series. I loved the characters. The women of this series — Celaena, Aelin, Manon, Nesryn and Elide are strong in spirit, super badasses and I loved getting to know them. The men of the series — Chaol, Dorian, Rowan, Lorcan, all of them — they are loyal and fierce and I loved them. The friendship between Chaol and Dorian is the absolute best. The world-building was phenomenal. I was sucked into the world of Erilea and found myself wanting to never leave.
To find this series and other great YA Fantasy novels, stop by the Hopkins County-Madisonville Public Library and check out our selection. If you prefer digital E-Books, we have two great options for you: KY Libraries Unbound at kyunbound.overdrive.com and Hoopla at www.hoopladigital.com. You will need your library card to access either digital E-Book site.