Normally, the last thing I would encourage someone to do would be to take unsolicited advice from a stranger on the internet. But we're friends, right?
Because if we are, I have to tell you that you absolutely MUST start reading the Throne of Glass series, like, yesterday.
I'll admit to being a recent convert. (Shout out to my friend Faith who loaned me all her books!)
I've been averse to the idea of doing book reviews for a while now because I respect that everyone's taste is different and I don't want to disparage anyone's perspective or hard work.
But when I really love something, I'm a shout-it-from-the-rooftops kind of girl.
The first book, Throne of Glass (published by Bloomsbury in 2012), starts out as a slog through every teen cliche you can think of~ an effortlessly beautiful, oh-so-mysterious heroine with double the love interests must compete in a Battle Royale-style fight to the death to earn her freedom and manages to inadvertently start a revolution in the process. In a nutshell, the series follows teen assassin Celaena Sardothien through a brutal competition hosted by the evil King of Adarlan in the hopes that she will win her freedom after being the only person ever to survive a year in the notorious slave labor camp Endovier. Faeries, monsters, dashing princes, etc. Not gonna lie, I had to force myself to finish the first book because it just felt identical to every other YA dystopia written in the last decade.
There are a few highlights, in that Maas really takes the time to develop her characters. She stays away from the insta-romance typical of the genre and allows situations between all of the characters to progress naturally. She also writes some truly well done platonic friendships between both male and female characters that are really refreshing in a genre that tends to rely on emotionally fraught relationships that often ring hollow or artificial.
First book on a scale of 1 to 10 hovers around 4.
Crown of Midnight picks up a lot of steam plot-wise: conspiracies, secret identities, dead languages, and a murder most foul. Grimmer in tone than the original, Crown is where Maas starts to really stand out from the crowd. The second book also drops some fascinating background information about the main character that is really a game-changer.
Second book: 6 out of 10
I'll pause here to say that I would definitely recommend reading the short story collection Assassin's Blade before continuing on with the rest of the series. They contain character development that is absolutely crucial to understanding Celaena going forward and figure into the later books in a big way. Trust me on this.
With this in mind, Heir of Fire feels like a real coming of age story. It's the first time that the author really shows you ( as opposed to telling you) what Celaena is really capable of, and
IT. IS. AWESOME.
Tons more background that spins a far-reaching web of story lines reminiscent of a juvenile George R.R. Martin. Maas introduces a slew of new characters, which I'm normally opposed to this far into a series, but she does it seamlessly.
Third book: 7 out of 10
By the fourth and fifth books in the series, Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms respectively, I was certifiably OBSESSED. Whereas the first few books in the series move slowly, these two come out of the gates raring to go. Ultra-high stakes from the very first page had me flying straight through to the end and wondering how it could even be possible to be so invested in a series that I initially wasn't even sure I could finish. Empire of Storms brings everything to a head perfectly, and just as I made the mistake of feeling hopeful hit me with a cliffhanger I had no idea was coming. I had a serious case of emotional whiplash that I have yet to fully recover from.
Books four and five: 10 out of 10 ( Easily)
(Parental disclaimer: Things get a little steamy between certain characters in Empire, so younger teens should proceed with caution.)
The companion novel, Tower of Dawn, takes place simultaneously with Empire, but in NO WAY should it be considered second fiddle. There is slightly less action, but this book is absolutely packed with information~lots of world building that really fleshes out not only the physical setting but has huge implications for all of the major story lines.
Tower is a solid 9 out of 10.
Now, all of that said, I recognize that this series is not the next Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. However, Maas is still a very young author, and I have no doubt that with a little more time to hone her craft, she could totally be up there with the big shots.
It is pure fantasy wish fulfillment~a slow burn, ( you'll have to read it to get the pun!) that ultimately explodes with action, romance, and intrigue.
I'm telling y'all, this series is a DO NOT MISS. The next book doesn't come out until October, and the anticipation is killing me!
If you've read it already, please feel free to comment or share your thoughts on our Facebook page! Things you loved? Things you hated? Predictions?
Do YOU have recommendations for ME? Since we are friends and all, lol. Leave those in the comments too, and I might just review your suggestion next!