I was doing my annual reread of A Court of Thorns and Roses this past November, as one does, when I saw a very interesting post on instagram. It mentioned a scene from TOG when the main character sees Rhysand for the first time. I kid you not, by the next afternoon I had ordered the entire boxed set of Throne of Glass and was anxiously awaiting its arrival.
My love for the author, Sarah J. Maas, and my love for her ACOTAR series is what drove me to pick up Throne of Glass.
Well, without further ado, here’s what I thought of the entire series:
//Hello! This is your warning to proceed with caution.\\
//She contains spoilers…but as vaguely as possible.\\
Throne of Glass: Book 1
I had read this book years ago, and wasn’t intrigued enough to continue with the series. I had the same problem with this book the first and the second time reading it: there was a LOT going on. I understand that this book needed to set up the world, the lore, and the characters, but holy heck was it too much.
I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if it had focused on setting up the characters and the world first. Don’t bring in the magic system or the ghosts, or the gods/goddesses yet. Wait until book two.
In terms of plot, and all the pieces individually, this was a five star read. When you put all the pieces together, however, this fell more to a 3 for me. I honestly felt too overwhelmed to be able to focus on any singular aspect of the story, and therefore was unable to form any emotional attachment to the plot or the characters. I did not care what happened to a single character in this book, which wasn’t great when there was a *major* death and I just sort of shrugged and turned the page.
My advice if you’re dipping your toes into this series is to get through this book as quickly as possible. Meet everyone and everything this book throws at you, and get through book two. I promise you, it gets delicious after that.
Three words to describe TOG: overwhelming, assassin, games.
Crown of Midnight: Book 2
Right off the bat, I liked this one more than TOG. I was accustomed to the world, the characters, and the insanity that was their lives. I was in it and feeling more in control this time around.
I remember this book c r e e p i n g me out, and even made the distinction that it was so much creepier than ACOTAR (the first Sarah J. Maas series I had read). I was honestly a little scared reading this one at times. Hi, I don’t read thrillers or horror genre because I am a baby.
I still felt pretty removed, emotionally, from the characters. There were tiny instances where I felt a twinge of excitement or nerves for them, so I knew we were making progress. This book had THE BEST CLIFFHANGER. I was hollering as I read the last few pages. Woo boy.
Three words to describe COM: creepy, ghosts, not-who-she-seems.
Heir of Fire: Book 3
There she is, tied for my favorite book of the series. We were maybe two or three chapters in when I finally said out loud, “Okay. I’m in.” I had FINALLY become invested in the characters, who they interacted with, their snarky sassy attitudes, and the peril they found themselves in. Y’all I had been hooked like a dang fish.
Our characters nearly tripled in this novel, and so did our POV’s. I never felt annoyed when the POV changed, or when we added so many new characters. I thought SJM did a great job keeping the interest alive, and kept the pacing on point. I flew through the chapters, dying to know what was happening all over this world.
We get our first true introduction to Fae in this one guys. I think that was my selling point all along. And the revealing of a huge secret that takes place in this one was so exciting to watch as everyone slowly figured it out or uncovered the truth.
Chefs kiss. This was wonderful.
Three words to describe HOF: fae, witches, anticipation.
Queen of Shadows: Book 4
Tied for my favorite book in the series, this one delivered. I have discovered that I love reading about reunions, or when two groups of characters meet for the first time. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to read about, and to watch how it all unfolds.
There’s a scene in this book that I’ve reread after finishing every other book in the series. It’s so grounding for me, and it is just my favorite. It’s right around page 220-250. If you know, you know. 😉
There’s so much mischief, major action, and so much the characters are working through in the never ending battle of good versus evil. This was the first time I truly understood what a master mind the main character is. She was always 5 steps ahead; even I couldn’t guess her next move.
Three words to describe QOS: reunion, action, plotting.
Empire of Storms: Book 5
Wow, is there a lot going on. That’s a major theme for this series…it’s a lot! But now it’s in a good way. We’re over halfway through this epic fantasy series, and we’ve already seen some major resolution in the last book. Now the characters get a chance to regroup and figure out their next move.
As usual their next move is 5 steps ahead of whatever I thought was going to happen next. We’re really and truly introduced to romance, with more than one couple!!! One of the romances took me completely by surprise, but it quickly became one of my favorites in the whole series.
The last 100 pages of this novel blew. me. away! If there’s one thing SJM is good at (and by now we all know there are a lot of things she’s good at) it’s writing truly horrid, unlikable, evil characters. There is no redeeming this character, or their actions. I was floored by the plot twists, and how deep that evil seed was rooted into our innocent characters. Has there ever been a better master manipulator in literature? Probably, but I can’t think of one right now.
Three words to describe EOS: steamy, hot, shocking.
Tower of Dawn: Book 6
Rolls my eyes. Okay.
When I found out this book was a parallel timeline to what happened in Empire of Storms I was not happy. I even thought about skipping this book entirely and going right into Kingdom of Ash. Instead I read a few reviews by people whose opinions I trust, and reviews by people I didn’t know, and made the decision to just read it and get on with it.
Well…I have super mixed feelings. I liked it. There were some really great moments, plot points, relationship and character development. But most of the time I was just so frustrated that I was reading about this side quest (if you will) and not where the main action was. Especially after that cliff hanger!!! To the people who waited years between release dates, I commend you. Wow.
It doesn’t help that at almost zero point in the first five books did I care about Chaol or Nesyrn…and this entire book is just their POV’s. I honestly can’t say that I care for either of them much more after reading Tower of Dawn. I have slight happy feelings towards them, but not much else.
I will give credit where credit is due. There were parts that had me on the edge of my seat, and even flipping ahead to see what happened, so kuddos for that. Sarah sure knows how to tell a story. But this gets only 3 stars from me because I probably won’t read it again in my next reread of this series. Maybe KOA will change my mind somehow? And I’ll want to come back to this for the origin story of relationships, etc.
Three words to describe TOD: too-long, we-stan-yrene, too-long.
Kingdom of Ash: Book 7
We’re here. We made it. The last book in this epic series.
I didn’t have the most enjoyable reading experience going into this novel, because I thought I had been spoiled on a character’s death. So for almost 1000 pages I was waiting for this person to die…and they never did? I had unnecessary anxiety and fear whenever this character was mentioned or it was their POV, and honestly it kind of ruined some of the book for me. I just could not relax.
Then there were the actual deaths. My goodness, I cannot remember the last book that made me sob. I was crying for almost two hours while finishing this one. I hadn’t realized I’d grown so attached to these characters, but I think it was also the storytelling of their deaths that got to me the most.
Am I happy with how things ended. Yes. I am. Was it too easy and a cop out? Yeah, it totally was. Seven books have been leading up to this war, this final battle, and that’s all you give me? Granted, the flashes to the battle scenes throughout the entire novel were great. Truly had me on the edge of my seat every time the POV was someone on the killing field. But that last standoff between ultimate good and evil somehow felt anticlimactic.
I almost don’t want to complain too much because the death toll was emotionally manageable. I’m going to have to read it again to really solidify my feelings on this last book. Maybe going in knowing will help me focus more on the details, and not have my heart in my throat the entire time…
Three words to describe KOA: finale, heartbreaking, too-easy
I absolutely enjoyed our main character, Celaena, and how strong and independent she was throughout the entire series. Sarah J. Maas is so wonderful at writing characters, especially female characters, that you can look up to.
“The fear of loss . . . it can destroy you as much as the loss itself.” -Aedion, Empire of Storms
In her epic fantasy series, I see so many examples of overcoming mental health battles, PTSD, anxiety, grief, and depression. As a reader, this subtle representation is so important to me. It may sound silly, but now if I’m having a hard day I can think, how would Celaena handle it? And instead of killing everyone in my path, I’ll tone it down a notch and kill all my tasks and negative thoughts instead.
There was a lot I loved about this series, and a lot that I really didn’t like. I think that’s bound to happen when there is more material. When every book is close to 600+ pages, that’s a lot to sift through. I think ACOTAR sits better with me overall as a series because it’s more concise, and I think SJM had more experience as an author when creating that series. With shorter work, you can either love it or hate it. With such a massive project like this series, I think it makes sense that there will be parts people loved and parts they didn’t. You can’t please everyone, but I was pleased just enough to now have a dedicated Sarah J. Maas shelf in my room.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you! Have you read this series yet? What’s your favorite and least favorite book of the series? Who is your favorite character?!