Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Book Review

Rating: ⭐⭐

When I was recommended this book by a friend, I expected to see a rich world with grand adventure. A modern version of Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time or something similar. A rich high fantasy with interesting characters and a well-written plot.

What I got in return was an underwhelming plot with one-dimensional characters and sub-par world-building. Considering how popular Sarah J Maas is on GoodReads, I expected way more than what I read.

Although the world-building in itself is sub-par to the high fantasies of this era, it still is its saving grace and the only reason why I ended up finishing the book.

The fact that the author chose to focus on a single character’s point of view and her view alone, makes the whole story revolve around her and we don’t get to see the world. Because of this it takes away from the world-building and makes it more of a character journey.

To highlight what I mean, here are a couple of examples from two of my favorite books.

Two things that are outright true with the above examples are, you get the pretext of the story and you get immersed in the universe. There is no such plot device that was used by the author here. The reader only knows what our main protagonist knows and that’s not much.

This kind of literary style in itself is fine and has worked for quite a few books, but here, it just doesn’t land. Take “Harry Potter” for instance. It is entirely from Harry’s POV, yet the way it is written is both intriguing and progressively building upon the reader’s imagination. In my opinion, this just doesn’t work for our main protagonist here because she is just plain boring.

The story here starts with a character that is stuck in a prison mine and goes from there. We learn about the state of the world, learn about threats, but all of a sudden instead of the seriousness of the situation the main character finds herself in, the author deviates from the intense situation the character is in or world-building to an inner monologue which focuses on how handsome the Prince is. And that’s not it. There are many such instances where the interaction is highly unbelievable if you read the story and it takes away from what’s good about the book.

If this were written in a style where there isn’t a main character but a world where we get views from a bunch of main characters, the story would be way more interesting.

As an example, there is a secondary character in the story who is super important for the overall end of the story and you get to know her significance at the very end, but what if this story was told from her point of view as well? It would have been a much better world-building as she has way more understanding of what’s going on.

Instead of the shock and awe that the author has tried to do with her ending, it would have been a continuous growth of the story.

I can go on, but any reader of the book will understand my gripe with it.

IMO the good part of the book is the universe, but it is so underdeveloped that I have no clue what’s going on, aside from some back story and some history. I don’t have anything against books that are not literal masterpieces and I am fine reading books that don’t confer to a higher standard, but I read it with similar expectations.

Sure this is a decent “masala” book if you don’t mind sub-par world-building with okayish side characters and a heavy emphasis on the romantic subplot, but it is not high-fantasy, at least in first 450pages it wasn’t.

I know that I expected more and because of that my opinion is worse, but in my defense, I was deceived by 4+ ratings on Goodreads.

“Good Reads - Throne of Glass” -