Throne of Glass: Throne of Glass, Book 1 Book Review (2024)

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

  • Educational Value

    very little

    Learning and books are highly valued by the main characters, who resist the king's book-burning, scholar-killing ways. The knowledge in the story pertains to the fantasy world.

  • Positive Messages


    The book's moral universe, centered on a murderous king and a teen assassin who's forced to do his bidding, is pretty violent and murky. But against that background, friendship, kindness, and connection are strong emerging forces that often drive the characters' choices. A love for learning and the freedom to pursue it is also a strong theme.

  • Positive Role Models


    In a book where the main character is a career assassin, everyone is morally complex and often conflicted. Celaena's plans to bolt at the first opportunity are complicated by growing bonds of friendship, respect, and hope for a better world. Dorian, the teen prince who loves books and doesn't want to be like his father, is a notorious ladies' man but also devoted to Celaena; his lifelong BFF Chaon, the brave captain of the guard, is also in love with her and protects her from assorted dangers. Mysterious Princess Nehemia, visiting from a conquered kingdom, befriends Celaena and reveals unexpected depths. A long-dead Fae queen takes a hand in opposing dark forces -- like the king.

  • Diverse Representations

    a little

    Most of the main characters are described as having dark or golden skin. The story takes place in a fantasy world with extremes of wealth and poverty. Many characters resist being limited by stereotypes.

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  • Violence & Scariness

    a lot

    The main character, a skilled assassin, is an enslaved prisoner who's forced into a Hunger Games-like contest that involves assorted feats, including duels; several competitors perish along the way. The cruel king is known for massacring entire populations, as well as burning books and libraries; over the course of the story, he kills many and threatens more. Monsters summoned from the underworld shred their victims and devour their brains and organs. Gory combat, hacking and slashing, weapons, poisonings, ambush, and a guard who agonizes because he had to kill a villain to save his charge. Flashbacks to the murder of a character's parents, the death of her first love, and other past traumas, including brutal, deadly conditions for enslaved people in the salt mines and the rape and slaughter of a fellow prisoner who'd helped her. Scene where the main character recalls slamming a door on her right hand and breaking several bones (on orders from her master to make her right hand useless so she had to use her left). Dark passageways lead to an ancient tomb, and the spirit of a long-dead queen involves herself in the plot. Creepy nightmares of being trapped in mass graves. The return of menstrual cycles after a year of starvation and abuse is mentioned a few times.

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  • Sex, Romance & Nudity

    a little

    Lots of romantic confusion and longing among the lead characters, who are in their teens and twenties. Also lots of talk about harlots, prostitutes, and lovers, a lead character is known as a ladies' man, and lots of flirting. Aside from a couple of hot, long-awaited kisses (described more for their emotional flights than physical reaction), there's little action to show for all the longing. Brief mockery of bodice-ripper novels.

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  • Language

    a little

    Occasional use of "damn" and "ass."

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  • Drinking, Drugs & Smoking


    Teens and adults drink wine, sometimes to excess that causes them to be hung over the next day. A character is addicted to opium.

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  • Parents Need to Know

    Parents need to know that Throne of Glass is the first book in the same-named best-selling fantasy series by Sarah J. Maas. The king's champion, enslaved 18-year-old Celaena, is a famous assassin who's offered the chance of freedom if she prevails in a Hunger Games-like contest. There's much less sex (both implied and actual) here than in Maas' Court of Thorns and Roses series: Expect flirting; talk of lovers, prostitutes, and dalliances; and lots of romantic longing. But action doesn't go further than a few intense kisses. Violence, on the other hand, is frequent and bloody, with gory weapons, hacking, slashing, poisoning, treachery, flashbacks to mass killings and murdered parents. There are also monsters from the underworld who shred victims and devour their brains and innards. Occasional crude language includes "damn" and "shove it up your ass." Characters are interesting and complex, and emerging friendships and loyalties complicate their lives but also sometimes save them. The book is largely devoted to establishing the characters and their world, setting up relationships, conflicts, and ethical dilemmas that will unfold in later installments.

What's the Story?

Occupying the THRONE OF GLASS and leaving a trail of blood and destruction wherever he goes is the ruthless king of Adarlan, who's on a mission to wipe out magic, the remnants of the Fae race, and all those who cling to them. Eighteen-year-old Celaena has lost many loved ones to him; now a trained assassin with many deaths on her own hands, she's spent the last year in a salt mine that was supposed to kill her from sheer brutality after someone betrayed her. Plucked from the mines by the crown prince, who loves books and hates his father's murdering ways, Celaena is tasked with winning a contest against assorted thugs, soldiers, and killers to become the King's Champion, i.e. assassin. If she wins and does the job, she'll go free. If not, it's death -- or back to the mines.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

  • Families can talk about stories like Throne of Glass and the premise that sometimes none of your choices are good, but you have to choose anyway. Why do you think this is such a popular storytelling theme, and what stories do you think deal with it especially well?

  • Do you like to develop your skills and compete against others? What's an interest you're pursuing, and what are you doing to pursue it?

  • Do you think magic is an important thing to have in your life? If you do, how do you find and keep magic?

Throne of Glass: Throne of Glass, Book 1 Book Review (2024)


Is the first Throne of Glass book appropriate? ›

Throne of Glass: Throne of Glass, Book 1

By the fourth it's very explicit with the bedtime scenes, so unless the reader is going to only read one book a year, I'd reccommend interpreting this book as New-Adult rather than Teen or YA.

Can a 12 year old read Throne of Glass? ›

I'd recommend books 1–3 for 13-year-olds and the rest for 14-year-olds. The first book, while containing minimal sexual content and language, includes occasional violent/gory gombat, but it's written in a way that's appropriate for teens.

Is Throne of Glass a spicy book? ›

Throne of Glass - Sarah J.

The first four books are limited to gore and violence as far as 'graphic' scenes go, fitting into dark YA with a spicy ranking of 0. Books 5-7, however, turn up the heat into New Adult fantasy with a ranking of 3/5 spice.

What makes Throne of Glass so good? ›

This series is a great way to start off when a new reader wants to explore other genres; bringing attention, thrills, spicy romance, and fantastical action. The Throne of Glass series will introduce fantasy fairy tales that no new reader has thought of and will make them read more stories like this one.

Is Throne of Glass a slow burn? ›

I liked how he starts off despising Celaena, moves to grudging respect, then an eventual genuine friendship and attraction for her. I love a slow burn to relationships, and Throne of Glass had that in spades.

Can a 13 year old read ACOTAR? ›

The fantasy themes of the series will definitely appeal to teen readers who loved fairy tales and adventure stories growing up, though ACOTAR is more adult than Hans Christian Andersen. However, ACOTAR could be a good starting point for older teens.

Is Throne of Glass clean? ›

Chelsey Westergard The first book was pretty clean, although "dark". I couldn't finish the 5th book though. It took a big turn and had some pretty descriptive sex scenes. It didn't need all that garbage, so I didn't finish the series.

Does Throne of Glass have romance? ›

Forces of love, including plenty of rather steamy moments, define Throne of Glass as romance, but also are fundamental to the many-book series.

At what age did Sarah J. Maas write Throne of Glass? ›

Career. Maas began writing what would become her debut novel, Throne of Glass, when she was sixteen years old. After writing several chapters of the novel, then titled Queen of Glass, Maas posted them on, where it was one of the most popular stories on the site.

How dirty is Throne of Glass? ›

It's not exactly clean, there are explicit scenes in the last two three books but they are never over the top and focus is very clearly more on plot.

Is Throne of Glass smutty? ›

While “Throne of Glass” and “A Court of Thorns and Roses” are often shelved as YA, both series include more explicit sex than is typical of that marketing tier. Ideally, the sex happens with someone who could be the heroine's mate, a true forever partner, and their transcendent bond goes beyond simple intimacy.

Should I read Throne of Glass or ACOTAR? ›

If you're debating whether to start with “Throne of Glass” or “ACOTAR,” it depends on your preference: “ACOTAR” is romance forward — if you lean toward that genre, start there. “Throne of Glass” is big on the epic fantasy elements — you lean toward that, start there.

Why is Throne of Glass controversial? ›

In the eight-book “Throne of Glass” series, the only woman of color, Nehemia, dies by the second book. Her brutal death was meant to push the plotline of the white female protagonist. The tokenization and underdevelopment of Nehemia was not needed for the progression of the plot, yet it was done anyway.

Is Throne of Glass high or low fantasy? ›

Throne of Glass is a high fantasy novel series by American author Sarah J. Maas, beginning with the entry of the same name, released on August 2, 2012. The story follows the journey of Celaena Sardothien, a teenage assassin in a corrupt kingdom with a tyrannical ruler, the King of Adarlan.

How many POVS does Throne of Glass have? ›

While the majority of the time the reader is seeing the story through Celaena's eyes, there are at least five different points of view. The shifts in perspective seem so random, rather than a deliberate choice to develop character or because the plot absolutely requires it.

Is the Hawthorne Legacy clean? ›

Parents need to know that THE HAWTHORNE LEGACY is the sequel to THE INHERITANCE GAMES by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. While the book stays tween and teen friendly, there's some potentially upsetting violence.

What age is the throne of fire appropriate for? ›

I highly recommend reading (after the prequel, Red Pyramid, of course) if you are 11 or older. My only complaint is that there are sections in the book and one character in general, Sadie, is focused too much on the romantic lives of the main characters and not the story itself. Other than that, great book; I loved it.

Is ACOTAR appropriate for 15 year olds? ›

If you know what's s*x and read books with kissing scenes it should be okay! If you're not very mature, and read books for kids than you may have to wait a bit longer, but appart from that it should be fine! I think it's suitable for 14+, but if younger kids/teens are mature for their age, it will be fine.

Is the inheritance games spicy? ›

It has very little spice and it focuses more on the mystery stuff and less the romance but it had a good sprinkle of some romance. Vi (pjo's version) It's intriguing, enjoyable and is perfect if you want to get out of a reading slump... It doesn't have any spice... it had only a very few kissing scenes...

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