It’s time for our monthly Book Chat and I’ve been looking forward to this one! Our July pick was Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. This is considered fantasy romance as well as young adult epic fantasy. Think royal court intrigue with magic and assassins! The usual book stats and the blurb are below in case you aren’t familiar with this one.
Amazon: 4.6 with 15,496 ratings; Goodreads: 4.19 with 690,176 ratings
Published Aug 7, 2021; 7 book series
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
This is one that was personally recommended to me by a friend who hasn’t steered me wrong (yet)! 😉 It also won our Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Readers Facebook poll. Additionally, I’ve often seen it recommended in multiple readers group. It seemed to be a great fit for me and I was excited to get started. As usual, I did still start with the negative reviews online. I do this as a reader anyway and it’s a great way to learn as a writer.
–doesn’t deliver on marketing/ blurb promises
In this case, the negative reviews tempered my excited but they may also have increased my enjoyment as they lowered my expectations. Let’s start with Celaena – main characters can make or break a book for me.
Yes, Celaena is whiny, but she’s also a teenager. Some readers complain of YA characters acting too maturely, but then we have a situation where Celaena does act her age and there are still complaints. Obviously not all teens are whiny and she is an assassin. I actually thought there was a nice mix of maturity levels for her character. I didn’t immediately connect to her in the beginning. There are a lot of conversations about appearances and clothing; there are also scenes where she trains, pushes herself, and struggles in the competition.
Overall, I think it’s a great starting point for a young character in a long series. There’s enough points in her favor that I cheer for her, but I also expect to see long term growth.
I found this particularly interesting as it’s not a complaint I’ve noted previously. I also found it terrifying as an author as blurbs are hard (yes, there will be more on this in the writer’s POV section). Regardless, I would have to disagree with the complaint.
Caleana doesn’t always show the prowess of an elite assassin. Again though, she’s young and it makes it seem more realistic in a way. We do see her skills in the games, in training, and in the later battle.
I think the blurb is accurate. The 3 main plot lines are the competition to earn her freedom, the love triangle, and the new mysterious destiny. We get bits and pieces of each as the story progresses…
Too drawn out
There are times I though the clothing descriptions and court life descriptions were drawn out. I know I’m an impatient reader though and I will skip such things. In a fantasy setting such as this, I think those are more important and necessary. That doesn’t make it the most fun part, but if we want to understand and live in this world with the characters, we need to know more about it. I won’t share spoilers, but there are definitely world building details that I found interesting and hope to see developed in later books.
I was unsure whether to include this one as comments like these always vague to me. In most fictional worlds, the good guys win and love blossoms. I’m not sure that can be considered predictable. There was one or two things I thought were foreshadowed a bit too well, but I’m not sure that qualifies as predictable.
To be perfectly honest, as someone who loves tropes, predictable isn’t a complaint that discourages me from reading. I still wanted to mention it as it may be something another reader hates.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and plan to continue the series (though not immediately). The writing style and flow was one that worked well enough for me. There were some great lines and I shared those on social media. This is always a sign to me of how much I’m enjoying a book.
“All those books, with no one to read them.” -Throne of Glass
I have also heard the series improves and Calaena continues to mature and grow. That’s always a fun thing for me as a reader. If you have read more in this series, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. If you tried this and it wasn’t for you, I’d like to hear your thoughts too. One of the fun points in reading is being able to chat with reader friends, so all opinions are welcome here (no bashing the author or fellow readers though).
Now, it’s on to the writer perspective so feel free to hop down to the end for my usual cat and book picture if writing isn’t your thing.
Let’s just jump right into the writing fun, shall we??
I’m really hoping other authors have read this one as I’d love to chat about POV. First though, I’ll share a link to an interesting article on POV (third person) HERE!
I was confused by the POV at times. The changes between perspectives felt more like head hopping to me even though there were section breaks. I can’t really explain my struggle only that I did struggle. If you’ve read and can share some insights, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
As mentioned above, this is the first time I’ve read negative comments that a book didn’t deliver. To build on what I shared above, the reader also noted it wasn’t just the blurb but the book comparisons also didn’t suit the read.
I know for myself and many authors, the blurb and marketing is incredibly difficult. While this review is clearly in the minority, it reminded me of two important lessons. We need to read in our genres and we need to know the market.
I will readily admit I failed in both of these when I first published in 2014 and even when I re-published in 2018 (after major overhauls). It’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this Book Chat in 2021 so I could continue to learn. As a reader, my expectations have a strong impact on my enjoyment. I’m still learning that lesson as a writer.
As always, if you want to break the rules, you have to know what they are first.
Drawn out/ Predictable
And again, we run into these complaints. I won’t ramble about these too much here as they’ve been addressed in previous chats regarding world building, pacing, and tropes – I will share the link to the Book Chat schedule at the end which also includes links to each chat.
I will say I think it’s important to view our book babies as a reader would. Yes, we have our favorite parts and love our babies. Readers may not enjoy our favorite parts and have no strong connection to our babies. The story is ours to tell, no doubt. That to me is the ‘letter of the law’. However, there’s also the ‘spirit of the law’. We may need to make changes for readers to feel the story as we wish them to feel it. This falls under the ‘kill your darlings’ lesson in my mind.
As always, I’d welcome other authors to share a guest post book chat so send me a message if you are interested. If you have thoughts on Throne of Glass, do feel free to comment below to share them.
Yet another book chat has come to an end – I can’t believe we are already halfway through the year. If you want to check out the other monthly chats, please click HERE for the schedule and additional information.
Next month, we’ll be reading Magic Bites: Kate Daniels 1 by Ilona Andrews. This one is certainly on top of many favorite reads in the fantasy genre. Below is a link to it and Throne of Glass.
Let’s end with my usual cat and book picture! Happy reading and writing to all!